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Consumers Not Looking to Get 'Smart' About TV

28 Oct, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Interest in Internet-connected TV still dwarfs non-interest in 3DTV

Tell Santa to stay “dumb” about televisions this season.

Nearly three-quarters of U.S. consumers are not interested in buying a smart TV during the next 12 months — with price and ignorance about Internet-connected TV as principle factors, according to new research from IHS. A total of 73% of 1,000 respondents in the 2013 survey said they are not interested in buying a smart TV that includes Internet functionality and related apps.

Instead, TVs featuring light-emitting-diode (LED) backlighting technology, coupled with overall price declines, have driven sales. This is happening even though LED is garnering less attention in 2013 than it did in 2012 as it becomes more of a standard feature.

Meanwhile, smart TV continues to have far more pulling power with consumers than 3DTV, with upwards of three times more survey respondents indicating Internet connectivity was a consideration behind their TV purchase compared to 3D.

The third-highest ranking TV purchase driver in 2013 was HDTV, increasing the opportunity for the future uptake of ultra high-definition TVs once these become more affordable.

“The latest results of the IHS survey show that TV makers have both a challenge and an opportunity when it comes to selling consumers smart TVs,” said Veronica Thayer, analyst for consumer electronics and technology at IHS. “Few consumers at present want to buy smart TVs now. However, demand can be cultivated if television brands better explain to consumers what smart TVs are, what they do and why they should buy one.”

Indeed, the 2013 survey revealed that 27% of consumers have purchased a TV within the past 12 months, and a further 20% intend to do so within the next 12 months, compared with 34% and 31% in 2012, respectively.

In 2012 an IHS survey found that screen size was the main driver for TV purchases, with more than 50% of consumers stating it was a factor in their purchase decision. However, in 2013, price has overtaken larger screen size as the main TV purchase driver.

Smart-TV Owners Love Streaming

While most consumers remain indifferent toward smart TV, nearly 30% of respondents said they were aware of Internet-connected TV, which IHS said indicates future consumption of the technology.

Among those consumers who already own a smart TV, almost 90% connect their set to the Internet, and 80% of them have used their sets to access OTT services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Prime Video.

“This shows that alternative video services are becoming more popular and relevant among U.S. consumers,” Thayer said.

Notably, the percentage of consumers using smart TVs to regularly access OTT services is similar to that for uses that stream content from Roku and Apple TV, with 86% and 79% of each device owner base respectively claiming to use such devices to watch Internet video.

The survey also revealed that 75% of smart-TV owners possess a smartphone, and 65% have a tablet, which creates an opportunity for secondary-screen applications, including content discovery, content sharing and mirroring, and remote control.


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