No Vizio “Dumb” TV’s, Spying Is Too Lucrative

If you are wondering why you don’t see any “Dumb” Vizio TV’s, the lucrative money made through spying on you through their “Smart” TV sets is the answer.

Boing Boing highlighted some Q&A the Verge did with Vizio executive Bill Baxter on this issue:

Verge: One sort of Verge-nerd meme that I hear in our comments or on Twitter is “I just want a dumb TV. I just want a panel with no smarts and I’ll figure it out on my own.” But it sounds like that lifetime monetization problem would prevent you from just making a dumb panel that you can sell to somebody.

Bill Baxter: Well, it wouldn’t prevent us, to be honest with you. What it would do is, we’d collect a little bit more margin at retail to offset it. Again, it may be an aspirational goal to not have high margins on our TV business because I can make it up downstream. On the other hand, I’m actually aggregating that monetization across a large number of users, some of which opt out.

It’s a blended revenue model where, in the end, Vizio succeeds, but you know, it’s not wholly dependent on things like data collection.

So essentially it seems Vizio makes too much money selling your private information to consider a dumb tv, even at a higher price.

As for opting out, who knows how successful that would be. Tech giants are known to violate their privacy agreements all the time, usually with a pennies on the dollar settlement in relation to what they made from the spying.

Though few and far between there are still options for “dumb” tvs on the market. Sceptre, TCL and others still offer HD sets without the smart nterface.

Do you like smart tvs? Comment below.

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About the Author

William B. West
William B. West
William B. West is editor-in-chief of,, and All three sites cover the latest cord cutters news, information, and updates.

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