High-tech TVs these days are pretty smart. The people using them? Maybe not so much. A new survey by research group NPD suggests that a majority of people who own televisions that connect to the Internet aren't using them to the fullest extent, and many of the available applications go unused. In fact, despite the extra cost, many viewers may be using the gadgets the same as they would an ordinary TV.
Some Internet content is proving popular, but it is over-the-top video content -- available independent of the Internet provider -- such as Netflix, Hulu or streaming music. Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD's Connected Intelligence Application and Convergence report found that nearly six out of 10 consumers who own a connected HDTV are accessing those through the device. But users don't seem to be in much of a rush to access their e-mail or update their Facebook status via smart TVs.
They'd Rather Use Phones
"The decision is not for want of choice, but rather seems to be focused on how consumers are used to interacting with their TV," said John Buffone, director of device research at NPD Connected Intelligence, writing on the company's blog. "HDTVs, gaming consoles, Blu-ray Disc players, and other connected devices offer an array of applications, ranging from Twitter and Facebook to Web browsing. But, in general, these have failed to resonate with the audience, not least because there are better platforms, such as the PC, tablet, or smartphone, for such services."
NPD's survey of people using TVs that connect directly to the Internet, or through set-top devices such as Apple or Roku found that less than 10 percent of users accessed Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or any of the major social media.
Few used their devices to post photos or read e-mail but about 10 percent used the smart TV's Web browser. About 15 percent streamed music through services like Pandora. But most, just under 60 percent, accessed over-the-top video content.
Avi Greengart, an analyst with Current Analysis, is not surprised.
"Most Web content is short-form, it can be hard to find, and while it can be highly social, it is poorly advertised. These factors make it ideal snacking material on a PC -- someone posts a clip to a social media service and you watch it -- but ill-suited for televisions, even smart ones," Greengart told us.
"The living-room TV is used for viewing communal long-form content. Streaming video fits that paradigm pretty well."
Too Many Choices?
The news is a mixed bag for TV makers, who are adding functionality that has yet to fully catch on, but good news for tablet and PC makers because, at least for now, they are still the dominant portals to the Internet, though the soaring smartphone market will likely give them a run for their money.
Add connected gaming platforms to the mix, NPD notes, as well as Blu-ray disc players, and that creates something of a confusing consumer experience. Buffone notes that, "While 15 percent of HDTV displays are connected directly to the Internet, that number increases to 29 percent of HDTVs screens due to these other devices."
This explains why the growing ability of devices to transfer content to each other seamlessly may gain popularity. 's Xbox, for instance, now has a Smartglass application that allows content from the platform to be switched or added to a smartphone or tablet or computer, either adding a second or third screen to the experience, or allowing you to take content with you when you leave the house and switch it back when you get home.
Posted: 2012-12-28 @ 4:32pm PT
Tvs used for watching tv shocker.