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Walmart buys Vizio: A new OS, more advertising on your Walmart TV?

The deal means Walmart gets Vizio's SmartCast OS, but the two companies also talked up advertising.
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Published onFebruary 20, 2024

Walmart and Vizio
TL;DR
  • Walmart has announced that it will acquire TV maker Vizio in a deal worth $2.3 billion.
  • The company will also acquire Vizio’s SmartCast OS for TVs as a result of this agreement.
  • This theoretically opens the door to Walmart’s TVs and streaming boxes running Vizio’s platform.

Walmart is already a significant player in the TV business, offering its cheap in-house Onn TVs and its own TV boxes. Now, the company has stepped up its game in a big way as it’s just announced the acquisition of TV brand Vizio.

Walmart announced the acquisition of Vizio in a joint press release, confirming that this was a deal worth $2.3 billion.

“The acquisition of Vizio and its SmartCast Operating System (OS) would enable Walmart to connect with and serve its customers in new ways including innovative television and in-home entertainment and media experiences,” the company explained in the release.

Walmart also noted that it expects this acquisition to provide a major boost for its advertising business. The company explained that the deal merges “Vizio’s advertising solutions business with Walmart’s reach and capabilities.”

The deal is subject to regulatory approval and Vizio also reserves the right to terminate the agreement “within a 45-day period” if it receives a “superior offer.”

What does this mean for consumers, though?

It’s not immediately clear what Walmart’s purchase of Vizio means for customers. But the deal does mean the supermarket giant now has its own in-house operating system for TVs, much like Amazon has Fire OS. Walmart already offers its Onn range of Roku-equipped TVs, so we can speculate that the company could switch from Roku to Vizio’s operating system for these products.

Walmart also offers a range of Onn streaming gadgets running the Google TV platform. We’re not so sure about the prospect of the retail chain bringing the SmartCast OS to its streaming boxes. On the one hand, offering this OS on its TV streaming gadgets could theoretically give Walmart a bigger slice of any advertising pie compared to sharing revenue with Google. Then again, it might entail some work to get SmartCast running on a TV box in the first place.

Interestingly, the joint press release also mentions Vizio letting users stream content for free by watching ads. So it stands to reason that the combined Vizio and Walmart could double down on this ad-supported approach to streaming.