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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.

While McGuire is unable to comment on the Australian market specifically, as he is based in the US and most of his research is focused in that area, he says that the lack of bandwidth "definitely affects" the Smart TV experience.

He clarifies this by saying that the issue is not so much on the downstream, such as streaming content to the Smart TV's app, but it is on the upstream.

"The real problems manifest themselves typically in user interaction with buttons on an on-screen app, and trick-mode type commands can be slow or time out if the upstream is constrained," he said.

"Some of those issues can be ameliorated with app design and so on, but bandwidth will always be an issue."

Beyond the connection speed, McGuire sees the larger problem affecting uptake is that it is taking consumers awhile to see the value proposition.

"With the growth of online video distributors like Netflix or YouTube, as well as compelling content offerings, consumers will start to see the value in blending live-linear with online content sources," he said.

Removing white noise

With the growth in popularity of smartphones and media tablets, television manufacturers are rightly seeing Smart TV as the next frontier when it comes to mass consumer adoption.

This has meant that within a relatively short time numerous manufacturers have put out their Smart TV offerings on the market.

What a manufacturer like LG has attempted to do is stand out by getting rid of the blank TV screen and incorporating a proper user interface.

The Home Dashboard on LG Smart TV's, for example, has a card setup for content to be grouped for easy navigation.

"You can customise your home dashboard with the applications you use most," Skropidis said.

On LG's top end models, there is a Magic Remote that aims to further simplify usability easy with voice control for search and a wheel for easy scrolling through websites.

"We also regularly refresh and updates our Smart TV content, so this is very attractive to consumers," Skropidis said.

Some of the Smart TV apps that Skropidis admits to having on his own Smart TV are the "popular ones," such as Bigpond Movies, ABC iview, SBS, and YouTube.

To assure customers and developers alike that their apps will continue to be supported, even if the TV itself has aged a few years down the line, Skropidis says that LG works with its content partners when a migration from one system version to the next takes place, as this normally requires upgrades.

"In many cases the consumer can enable a software upgrade on their LG Smart TV at any time," he said. LG is also involved in the 3D space, having currently launching 3D movie content for its Smart TVs.

 

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