Vizio executive: streaming is starting to overtake traditional TV viewing

The use of streaming video services is growing at a fast pace, and TV viewers may soon be getting the majority of their content from streaming services, believes Vizio CTO Matt McRae. “We are getting close to an inflection point,” he told me during a recent interview.

McRae’s opinion may be controversial, but he has some data to back it up: Vizio is keeping close tabs on how consumers are using the company’s smart TVs. This year, the company for the first time noticed some weeks during which smart TV app usage peaked above 50 percent of total aggregate time spent with Vizio’s smart TVs in the US.

It’s safe to assume that a big chunk of that usage is coming from Netflix, (S NFLX) which is now responsible for around 30 percent of all residential peak downstream traffic in the US. However, McRae also said that people are starting to embrace additional services. “In the early days, people were using two or three apps,” he said. Now, that number is creeping up to 10 or even 20 apps.

McRae told me that almost half of all smart TVs shipped in the US are made by Vizio, and that 60 percent of the TV sets shipped by Vizio are smart TVs. The company recently updated its M-Series smart TVs, which are now based on Opera’s SDK and feature support for the open multiscreen protocol DIAL, making it possible to control apps like Netflix and YouTube (S GOOG) from a mobile device in a Chromecast-like fashion.