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Could 2013 be the year of the Smart TV?

Patrick Budmar | Feb. 4, 2013
The television is probably one of the greatest technological innovations of all time, at least in the consumer space.

To find out what consumers really had to say on the topic, IDC studied this question directly by asking people what are their purchase drivers were for connected TVs. What IDC found from its ConsumerScape 360 program, which surveyed consumers in 24 countries, was that internet capability came a distant seventh (over 50 per cent), compared to the leading decision factors of picture (over 90) and audio quality (85). "What these results tell us is that having internet capability is actually the least umportant purchase driver amongst the drivers studied," DeHart said.

Skropidis admits that a large contingent of consumers buying sets because of picture quality, size and they look slick likely exist. "However, going back to the fact that over 50 per cent of our owners are connecting to the Internet, we can assume that a large majority are also buying as a connectivity device," he said.

It's all about the content

While it is all well and good to make devices such as TVs online enabled, what will ultimately draw people to use them is the available content. In terms of the apps, Skropidis says that LG sets a solid foundation though a "very easy to use user interface," which has been designed to be structured and presents content within easily identifiable zones. "One of our key zones spans premium content gathered from local and overseas sources," he said. "It offers value through catch-up TV, movies, news, sport, YouTube, Facebook, and so on."

Following the boom started by James Cameron's Avatar in 2009, vendors such as LG have also worked hard on building up this area of the TV business. "We offer a dedicated 3D content zone with content from our partnership with Disney, plus other documentaries and special interest areas," Skropidis said. In addition to a dedicated gaming zone, called Game World, LG's own Smart World app store comes with a variety of apps covering games, special interest and other areas of interest.

Just because the apps and services are there, it does not automatically mean people are actually using them or whether they get forgotten after the novelty wears off. DeHart says it ultimately depends on how tech-savvy the consumer is. "The current list of offerings is still nascent, and usage will grow much higher when more and better offerings exist," he said. "As our results showed, what Smart TV owners care about the most is not connectivity, but picture and audio quality."

From what LG has seen from its customers, the apps and services are being used by Smart TV owners. "Usage is growing month to month very strongly across all zones," he said. In particular, LG has found unique search activity has grown to over 330,000 a month. "Our premium contents has grown strongly with 30 per cent growth over the past three months, and access to our app store is strongly growing by 15 per cent per month," Skropidis said.


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