Tuesday, 8 January 2013

85% of flat-panel TVs getting smart

A recent report by Gartner indicates that the production of smart TVs is growing rapidly, with smart TVs predicted to make up nearly 85% of the flatscreen TVs produced in 2016.  On the face of it, this isn’t a big surprise – smart TVs have been dominant in the high-end TV market for the last couple of years and, as always, what starts off as a high-end feature gradually makes its way into all models in the range.  There is also the need to keep the user experience fresh for consumers over the lifetime of the product, and the economics of retail TV sales makes it difficult to justify over-the-air upgrades for TVs.  A one-off payment for a TV doesn’t cover the cost of upgrading that TV to add new features, and so making these new features available via a portal or other online service is attractive to the manufacturers.

Simply selling more smart TVs doesn’t mean that people will connect them, however: as we’ve discussed before on this blog, recent figures have shown the number of smart TVs rising, but the number of TVs being connected remains pretty flat and sales figures may not tell the whole story.  There are two main reasons for this.  The first is that it’s not always easy to get a network connection to the same place as your TV, although this could be solved through the use of Wi-Fi or powerline networking.  The second reason, and the one that is more difficult to solve, is that many people simply don’t see enough value in the services offered by a smart TV to want to use them.

This is often due to a combination of portals that are difficult to use, and apps that customers don’t see value in. It’s not simply about having the most services available on your TV: it’s about having the services that consumers care about, can find easily, and easily use to get what they want.  If manufacturers don’t improve the ease of use of these services, it’s likely that more smart TVs will remain unconnected.

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