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The challenges with Smart TV and what LG is doing about it

Patrick Budmar | Sept. 27, 2012
If TVs were dumb, then manufacturers are attempting to make them smart by incorporating a whole host of features to stay relevant in the oft quoted "post-PC" era.

If TVs were dumb, then manufacturers are attempting to make them smart by incorporating a whole host of features to stay relevant in the oft quoted "post-PC" era.

One of the ways the mobile phone became "smart" was through the inclusion of compact and easy to use software commonly referred to as "apps," and Smart TVs have adopted the same concept with the help of more screen real estate available on the device.

Despite the popular adoption of smartphone apps, the reality is that many people are only just getting used to the concept of using dedicated applications on a mobile phone, which prompts the question of whether it is too soon to expect the average consumer to feel comfortable with them on their television too.

LG Australia marketing general manager, Lambro Skropidis, admits that the concept of apps is new and evolving on all devices, but at the same time the consumer is increasingly expecting this type of software to be available on a broader cross-section of technologies.

"Whilst it will take time for many to discover, updates are already happening with our Smart TVs," he said.

"Since November 2011, the uptake and registration to our TV app store has doubled in six months and growing strongly."

Gartner media research VP, Mike McGuire, also concedes that for the overall market, the concept of apps on TVs is "a bit early."

"For early adopters of tech, it's probably less of a hurdle because they tend to be somewhat tech savvy and actually want to explore a new tech or, in this case, a new way to integrate the Internet content experience with linear TV," he said.

However, for the vast majority of consumers who just want to "watch TV," McGuire says that it will still take a "non-trivial amount of outbound marketing efforts" to educate consumers on the value of a Smart TV with a set of apps.

"There actually have to be compelling and useful apps to pull those consumers into the usage model," he said.

Closely connected

Just like smartphones, Smart TVs rely on the Internet for delivery of dynamic content, though this is done through a wired broadband connection and not via a mobile phone network.

In fact, some rural areas in Australia, and many other regions around the globe, still lack decent broadband connections, which adds a new layer of complexity to the adoption of Smart TVs by consumers.

Skropidis confirms that an ADSL2 connection is required for decent Smart TV connectivity, and as a result, it is possible that many Australian rural areas cannot take advantage of the service due to this issue.

"However, the gap is closing," he said.

 

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