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Report: Smart TVs Not So Smart

6 Jun, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Lost in the hype surrounding Internet-connected television is the reality that apps designed to deliver specific content to viewers are slow and ineffectual, compared with distribution apps on mobile phones and tablet computers, according to a new report.

In its report “Slow Connected TV Interfaces Inhibit App Store Exploration,” Boston-based research firm Strategy Analytics found users unwilling to explore smart TV apps stores, partly because of the TV’s slow performance, and also because they feel that many of the apps available are of no interest.

Since connected TVs offer limited Internet browsing capability, apps typically represent conduits linking the user directly with third-party content such as Netflix, YouTube, Pandora and Blockbuster Online, for example.

“Connected TV owners clearly need some form of motivation to begin the apps discovery and download process as they are not using this feature regularly,” said Caroline Park, analyst and the report’s author. “Improvements in the speed of the smart TV interface and overall usability would encourage users to take part in searching for and discovering new apps.”

The research identified other barriers to discovery of smart TV apps, including the fact many are unnecessarily complicated to navigate, and owners report that they come across apps which are not even usable on the smart TV.

“All in all, smart TV manufacturers have a long way to go before they match the fast, intuitive user experience now familiar to owners of smartphones and tablets,” Park said.

The research was based on a series of observational interviews with smart TV owners combined with a larger scale survey of 210 smart TV owners in the U.S. in April.

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