Vizio Shows Why Smart TV’s Can’t Beat Set-Top Streamers

About a year ago I reconnected with my old friend Doug. He had been reading the Streaming Advisor and wanted to learn more about streaming. He already had an older Smart TV and wanted to know whether there was a good reason to get a set-top streamer like a Roku or if he should just stick with his smart TV.

Vizio once again is showing the problem with depending on smart TV interfaces instead of streaming devices. Vizio TV owners who use Hulu are being informed that support for Vizios Hulu app will end in August.

The company is essentially ending support for their older apps including Rokus made from 2014. So the the problem is not that Vizio is not going to support Hulu anymore, it is that Hulu is not going to support Vizio TV’s anymore. Obviously, Hulu could instead develop a new Hulu app for Vizio but apparently does not see it as worth the time and effort. Why? You’d have to ask Hulu.

The company is not avoiding all smart TV platforms. Hulu recently pushed an update to their LG TV Hulu app. The update makes the Hulu app work like the updated apps on Roku and Apple TV.

The issue at hand is this. As companies rate the effectiveness of their presence on multiple platforms they will look to cut costs where they can. And with 2 douzen or so variant smart TV platforms out there even big names like Hulu and YouTube sometimes decide to pull up stakes and move on. You can expect to see this happen with a number of other platforms in the next few months including any smart TV brand that does not offer the current Hulu app.

But what about the Roku Hulu problem?

Good question. The best answer is this. A few months ago we published an article about why we thought set-top boxes were a worthwhile investment even if you own a smart TV or are looking to buy one. One of our arguments was that it is easy to replace a set-top box, but you would not want to get a new TV everytime something stops working. So people with older Roku models pre 2014 who want to use Hulu are going to have to replace them. But the thing is that as annoying as that will be for the people it affects, it is a lot easier than spending hundreds on a new TV. Roku users may even opt to try out a new device like a Fire TV or Apple TV or make the next leap up in Roku technology. I’d recommend going big with this one. Yes, Roku makes a very inexpensive model called the Roku Express. But the easiest way to avoid a similar problem in the next few years would be to invest in the top of the line product of the moment. That would be the Roku Ultra. It costs a good $70.00 more than the express at regular price, but you can see and feel the difference in performance, and features. If you want something that will hold up well the extra cash goes a long way.

Will Android TV get the Updated Roku App?

There are a number of Android TV-powered TV sets and at least 3 popular set-top boxes, the Mi Box, The Nvidia Shield and the Airt TV player. Because Sony is supporting the OS I would expect Hulu to go ahead and get that one done. Not only is the system baked into TV’s and branded Set-top boxes it is found on a great number of third party devices used by telcos and cable systems around the country and around the world. Hulu would be crazy to intentionally lose that many potential customers.