Are smart TV’s too clever for their own good? Researchers find we simply want to watch our favourite shows
- New figures reveal consumers are ignoring the ‘smart TV’ features such as apps and twitter access, instead simply watching catch up’ video over the internet
- Comes as manufacturers set to launch their latest Smart TVs in Las Vegas
- Apple also believed to be working on TV that could launch in 2013
PUBLISHED: 13:05 EST, 28 December 2012 | UPDATED: 13:34 EST, 28 December 2012
Consumers are ignoring the ‘smart’ features of their TV and simply want access to online video services such as the BBC’s iPlayer, new research has found.
Although manufacturers have given their latest sets the ability to tweet, view websites and even download apps, research firm NPD says all consumers really watch to do on their TV is watch TV.
‘The Internet connected HDTV screen has so far failed to break beyond the bounds of its TV-centric heritage, with little use for the big screen beyond the obligatory video services,’ said John Buffone, Director, Devices, NPD Connected Intelligence.
The research is a major blow for TV manufacturers who have invested millions in creating internet connected sets that can run apps.
Many are set to reveal new models within days at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where gadget makers traditionally unveil their products for the coming year.
It also comes amid countless rumours and hints that Apple is developing its own TV, with CEO Tim Cook recently saying the area was one the firm has an ‘intense interest’ in.
‘The results are both good and bad news for TV manufacturers,’ says NPD.
‘On the positive side, the TV itself remains the fundamental screen for TV viewing within the home and is seeing an expanded array of programming through OTT services that supplement Pay TV subscriptions.
‘The less than great news is that the TV manufacturers are failing to make the TV more than, well, a TV.’
The biggest problem, according to NPD, is confusion among TV owners.
‘The challenge may be that too much choice is creating a complex user experience,’ it said.
‘it’s no wonder that most connected consumers are currently stopping short of exploring options beyond video.
‘To counter this, OEMs and retailers need to focus less on new innovation in this space and more on simplification of the user experience and messaging if they want to drive additional, and new, behaviors on the TV.’
According to Luke Peters, Editor of T3 magazine, smart TVs are simply too complicated.
‘Smart TVs will only become mainstream when they are as easy as changing a channel,’ he told MailOnline.
‘Currently it’s just too complex for the majority of people, you need to go through a complex menu system, and then the content isn’t always great.
‘The range of content needs to get a lot better.
‘Social networks like twitter just doesn’t make much sense – people will use them on a tablet on their lap rather their TV.
‘For smart TVs to succeed, they have to offer smart content, linking with tablets and other devices.’
Google and Microsoft have already tried to simplify the experience by bringing together TV service under a single product.
However, Google’s TV efforts have not been a huge success, while Microsoft has chosen to turn its Xbox 360 into a home hub, claiming that consumers can then simply use the console they already have.
Broadcasters such as Sky have also embraced internet TV, offering users access to catchup services through their set top boxes and access to shows via mobile devices.
However, many in the industry are waiting for Apple to show its hand after the dozens of rumours that the Steve Jobs led project would produce a range of big screen TVs with a revolutionary interface.
The Apple co-founder, who died in October 2011, told his biographer, Walter Isaacson, that he had ‘cracked’ the problem of television, although Isaacson did not reveal the plans as the product has not been launched.
Late last year, ‘industry sources’ were quoted as saying that Apple would launch 32-inch and 37-inch television sets some time this year – and although they are yet to materialise, the latest rumours claim the firm could launch 50 and 55inch models next year.