There is no doubt that due to advances in technology and manufacturing we are able to enjoy devices that just a few years ago would have cost a small fortune. Remember when a 40″ big-screen TV cost well over $10k? I have a 42″ flat screen that cost me literally a fraction of that eight years ago, and today I can buy a brand new 42″ TV for a quarter of what I paid for it in 2011. But there is something else offsetting costs on many of today’s shiniest devices, and guess who’s paying the difference? You are!
You should not be surprised.
If you’ve done any TV shopping lately, you’ve most certainly come across numerous “smart TV’s” from all the big manufacturers, including Vizio, a very popular and reasonably priced brand that is also somewhat notorious for tracking viewing habits without consent. Since its very public settlement with the FTC, Vizio has been much more up front with its tracking, and supposedly prides itself on being the most transparent manufacturer about this practice. The company’s CTO openly admitted that tracking viewing habits (among many other things) and reselling that data to advertisers is part of its long-term profitability strategy, primarily because people do not buy new TV’s every year, or even every other year, like they do smartphones.
In previous blogs, we’ve talked about computers made affordable through a similar practice of offsetting manufacturing costs by installing bloatware on your new computer in the hopes you’ll buy something after you just spent several hundred dollars. The fact that this practice is still common even today means that it does work. Thanks to devices that are always online, making money for a manufacturer doesn’t have to end at the device sale. As a matter of fact, it’s just the starting point.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net