Could the iPad 3 start to cannibalize TVs sales?

Could the iPad 3 start to cannibalize TVs sales?

Summary: It's quite possibly happening already.


Could the iPad 3 become the next big entertainment device, and could its success start to cannibalize TVs sales?

Patrick Moorhead over on TechPinion believes that this will happen sooner rather than later:

At some point in the near future, the iPad will have a better display and will be lighter than its predecessors, which drives me to the conclusion that the next generations of the iPad will start to rapidly cannibalize HDTVs, particularly second or third sets.

Moorhead goes through a number of valid reasons why he believes that TVs will be affected by the iPad, and concludes as follows:

I believe the future iPad will take a big chunk of the secondary TV and even delay new primary TV purposes through consumer rationalization that it can serve as the primary “personal TV” device and I expect to start to see the effects in the holiday 2012 selling season.

I agree with Moorhead, but I'm coming to this conclusion via a different route.

First, it's quite possible that post-PC devices like the iPad are already cannibalizing TV sales. After all, the big names in the TV business are already experiencing bad times as they find it increasingly difficult to persuade people to part with their cash in exchange for a new TV that's only marginally better than the TV they already have.

TV is no longer the exciting consumer electronics device they once were. Devices such as smartphones and tablets are now what is hot, and since people only have a finite amount of disposable income, spending on these post-PC devices will mean less spending on traditional items.

Another factor that's changing is what people watch. Regular TV viewing is giving way not only to viewing on demand but also other entertainment outlets, such as YouTube.

While many TV makers have tried to go after this market with smart TV, they've been unsuccessful, and I see this trend as continuing simply because you don't need a big, expensive, fixed TV to be able to view web content. You can watch it just as well on a PC or even a tablet. Once again the trend continues of replacing big, impersonal devices, with smaller, more personal gadgets.

These post-PC devices aren't replacing the main 'family' TV, but they're certainly compelling when it comes to secondary sets. Not only do you get a device that will handle a broad range of media, but will also let you do a myriad other things that you can't do (or certainly can't do easily) with a TV, such as checking your email, browsing the web, playing games, and more. Convergence devices (that bring together a broad range of features) outmanoeuvre one-trick ponies.

There continues to be a market for TVs, but I don't think that TV makers have yet accepted that the boom in sales as people replaced old CRT-based units with flat-screen panels was short-lived and that owners keep their sets for about five years (unless the set dies, which might result in a new sale, but it's hardly a good advert for the dead set's maker) as opposed to the couple of years for consumer electronics such as PCs and smartphones.

Size doesn't really drive TV sales any more because the size bumps are only relevant if you have an enormous room to put the set it. Most people have a finite space to fill with a set, and they go out armed with this information and a budget.

The sort of person who goes out yearly to buy the biggest and best TV is just as much of an outlier as the gamer who goes out buys a new PC (or upgrades their existing one) as soon as a new CPU or GPU comes out. There's money in this market for sure, but any company that mistakes this demand for a mass-market demand is asking to lose money.

Post-PC devices claim another victim.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Hardware, iPad, Mobility

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    • RE: Could the iPad 3 start to cannibalize TVs sales?

      Your blog is very confusing. You spend the whole article talking about how the iPad is killing the TV and then in your last major paragraph, you list all the reasons why TV sales are declining and none of them have to do with the iPad:<br><br>- boom in sales as people replaced old CRT-based units with flat-screen panels was short-lived<br><br>- owners keep their sets for about 5 years <br><br>- Size doesnt really drive TV sales any more<br><br>What next, are you going to suggest that the iPad is responsible for the decline in housing sales?
      • RE: Could the iPad 3 start to cannibalize TVs sales?

        @toddbottom2 Was about to bring this up as well. TV sales are going down, no doubt about that, but it has absolutely NOTHING to do with any tablet. Two completely different devices. I've tried watching videos on my tablets. It's not the most pleasant experience, especially when you've got a large TV sitting right in front of you. TVs are dying down simply because there's no reason to upgrade, unlike other PC-like devices. If I've got a 55 inch TV, I'm not going to go out and buy another 55 inch TV just because it's newer.
      • RE: not going to go out and buy another 55 inch TV just because it's newer


        That is pretty much it. There really hasn't been much exciting in the name of TVs since they went HD and flat panel. Maybe the Laser tvs but those are only select companies and stores and a bit higher priced at this time. I feel that companies are pushing this whole 3D thing with very little people actually liking it or using it.

        I have an older 55" Projection TV that only does 1080i but it still works fine and I am not going to replace something that works with a new item that gives me very little advantage. So when that breaks down I will get a new TV. Hopefully by then UltraDefinition TVs will be out and affordable.
      • RE: Could the iPad 3 start to cannibalize TVs sales?


        Your right. Of course you are right. Watching any video on a 10 inch screen will be less enjoyable that viewing that same video on a 55 inch HDTV screen.

        But you can't take a 55 inch screen along with you when you leave your home. If anything, tablets and smartphones have allowed us to enjoy a more active lifestyle rather than be couch potatoes all our lives.

        By the way, on a different note. Have you tried to view your tablet content on your 55 inch HDTV screen? It is a nice experience.

        For those who don't know, a very cheap 32 inch 720p HDTV, an external HDTV antenna, an Apple TV and an iPad makes for a very inexpensive yearly viewing experience. I picked up an iSymphony 32" HDTV for two hundred dollars the other day. And there is plenty of internet related video sources to mirror from your iPad to the HDTV for your watching enjoyment.
  • RE: Could the iPad 3 start to cannibalize TVs sales?

    Who wants to sit there and hold their TV? Not me. Maybe it will make the trip to the bathroom with some people *shiver* but I doubt the iPad will ever be a viable alternative to a TV. Compliment a TV and serve as a second screen maybe, but an actual alternative, no.
  • RE: Could the iPad 3 start to cannibalize TVs sales?

    Maybe TVs in Cars or something but in the home? I am not so sure about that. Regardless if the iPad is being used for certain forms of entertainment people still have TVs in many rooms in there house. Who wants to sit and watch TV on a 9.5" screen that you have to hold for very long. I think the claims that the iPad already replacing the MAIN TV in the household is just ridiculous. I can see it now the whole family gathered around the family iPad or each having their own iPad to watch TV on as a family. Seriously?
  • Actually I believe ...

    ... touch based all-in-ones and desktop PCS (which can tilt) with Windows 8, will likely displace secondary TV sales. (See YouTube video link below.) I can't imagine people wanting to lie down in bed or watch TV across the kitchen, trying to do so on a 10" screen screen. Touch screen PCs in the PC plus era, powered by services such as Xbox live, will likely absorb TV functionality, undermining the need for secondary TVs. These touch screens will typically range from about 19" to 27". Many will serve as phones, TVs, a means to look up data, shop, etc.

    youtube. com/watch?v=7OAji8R-_jQ
    P. Douglas
    • Already use my 27" iMac as my TV,

      @P. Douglas

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • RE: Could the iPad 3 start to cannibalize TVs sales?

        @James Quinn Same here.
      • RE: Could the iPad 3 start to cannibalize TVs sales?

        @James Quinn

        HBO Go works just fine on my 27" iMac.
  • RE: Could the iPad 3 start to cannibalize TVs sales?

    Not likely to happen...ever.

    There isn't ANY tablet out today that has the screen resolution of a good quality TV. And as @ccrockett says..."Who wants to sit there and hold their TV?"...I suspect very few people.

    And, even if tablets DO get true HD you honestly think a family with several children would "sit around the tablet" and watch TV? Answer? No.

    No "Post-PC devices claim another victim." here yet A. K-H...sorry.
    • So true

      It is so much easier to mount a tv in any room you want and not have to worry about carrying it around, battery life, etc.....
      • RE: Could the iPad 3 start to cannibalize TVs sales?

        @rhonin Little tough to haul my 55 on the bus though.
    • RE: Could the iPad 3 start to cannibalize TVs sales?

      @It'sNotMe <br><br>Actually, the opposite is almost true. There isn't any TV of any size that has the resolution of my computer's monitor. And if (when?) tablets get anything comparable to a retina display, the same will be true of TVs viz a viz tablets.<br><br>The 52" BRAVIA NX800 Series HDTV is on sale at for a penny below $1600. It has a resolution of 1920*1080, the same resolution as a $1200. iMac. Compare that to a $1700 iMac with a resolution of 2560*1440. The screen of the Sony is larger - which means you can sit farther away, but the resolution is lower. In fact, even the rumored (I don't believe it) 7.3" iPad would have a resolution of 1920*1080 if it has 300 DPI. The iPhone is 326 DPI. <br><br>Ten years ago, while using my laptop and sitting in front of my TV, I noticed that, at the distance I sat from my TV, my laptop screen appeared to be the same size as my TV screen. I never bought another TV. <br><br>Just imagine, if for the price of a family TV you could buy every member of the family a tablet, and end the fight for the remote....
      Steve Webb
      • RE: Could the iPad 3 start to cannibalize TVs sales?

        @Steve Webb

        So the fact that videos (even in HD) are no larger than 1920x1080 means nothing to you?
    • RE: Could the iPad 3 start to cannibalize TVs sales?

      @It'sNotMe I think we're all missing the point here. As things are, right now, today, tablets and TV's are very different. I can imagine however, no longer having a second TV in my bedroom - or perhaps a child's room. I already read books on my iPad in bed while my wife drifts off to sleep. Having the TV on would keep her awake, so a tablet TV with headphones would mean I can watch late night tv, drift off and lay the device on the floor. We both win. But wait, as they say in NZ, there's more! To do this I would still want my mainstream programming on any device in my house. So, enter the Apple TV with its Siri and gesture control along with all the other rumours in my lounge. And enter Apple's mirroring protocol which already exists, to allow me to take whatever I'm watching on the big screen onto my iPad and so to bed. This drives sales of Apple devices, gives us something of value and yes, detracts from sales of standard TV's - both in the main environment because we would want Apple functionality, and in the secondary because we would use mobile devices. As to display quality then if the iPad 3 is a retina equivalent display (technically, considering device to eye distance this is not hard) then there's no issue. Add to that Apple's Eco-system of connected and integrated services plus expanding content, and I think there is a real proposition. With regard to the Windows 8 comments, remember that however much you love it, it is about 5% of the value proposition, an Apple TV and iPad duo with their related services is 100% and is why Apple is seeing so much success.
  • RE: Could the iPad 3 start to cannibalize TVs sales?

    I watch TV now primarily on my iPad.
    Tony Burzio
  • iPad already has replaced the TV in our RV

    We stopped taking a TV along for the ride in our RV (30 ft Travel Trailer) when analog TV broadcast was turned off. Using the iPad and campground Wi-Fi (or 3g) and never miss the TV.
    • RE: Could the iPad 3 start to cannibalize TVs sales?


      And maybe those are the TVs they are cutting into. Not the primary or secondary but the tertiary TVs that once were in cars or portable to take with on trips or campgrounds.