The television is probably one of the greatest technological innovations of all time, at least in the consumer space. It brought entertainment to numerous generations worldwide, and continues to do so today. However, the TV set we once knew is changing with the times to become more than an end-point for content delivery. The TV is getting smarter, which has lead to the rise of the moniker "Smart TV," and this is opening up new possibilities for vendors and consumers alike.
The big selling point of Smart TVs is their connectivity, enabling a wide variety of dynamic content to be streamed to them via the Internet much in the same way as on smartphones and tablets. LG is a vendor that has been quick to get on the Smart TV bandwagon and has been releasing connected models in key markets such as Australia. It is a push that LG marketing general manager, Lambro Skropidis, says is paying off for the company. "Smart TV and IP-enabled TVs are growing very strongly and form close to 40 per cent of LG's overall TV sales," he said.
While the online connectivity of Smart TV seems like an exciting prospect for a technology standpoint, industry pundits have often wondered exactly how many people are actually connecting their TVs to the Internet after getting them home. Skropidis says that LG's activation rates would be contrary to any of those question marks. "From our perspective at least, we are connecting at a higher rate than the industry," he said. "This is at well over 50 per cent, and much of this is driven by the very success of our 2012 models."
Acccording to IDC ConsumerScape 360 and consumer primary research director, Michael DeHart, it turns out that people are currently using Smart TVs in a similar manner to standard HDTVs. "There are of course exceptional users, but many Smart TV owners don't yet understand the value proposition of connected TV deeply enough yet to spend the time learning connected TV functionalities," he said.
Since it is still early days for Smart TV, it has prompted some people to wonder if there are a lot of consumers that still just buy a set because they are the best ones in the shop, rather than specifically because they are Internet capable. With the vast majority of TVs produced and sold in the US being connected TVs, DeHart says that the best TVs currently on the market will be connected TVs by default. "Much like the fact that the best smartphones offer Skype and Skype-like applications, it doesn't mean consumers buy the TV set for this reason," he said.
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