Smart TV failing the connectivity test

PhilipsSmartTVSmart TVs are lagging behind laptops, desktops and set-top boxes when it comes to consumers deciding how to connect their TV sets to the internet.

YouGov’s Connected TV tracker shows that half (50%) of consumers like the idea of accessing online content through their TVs.

However, although 13% of the population owned a smart TV as of Q1 2013, fewer than half currently using one of the devices as their primary means of accessing online content.

Instead, consumers are connecting their televisions through devices that are traditionally used to go online – with laptops (24%) and desktop computers (12%) being the most popular. The research shows that over a fifth (23%) of people now use set top boxes as their main way of accessing the internet on their televisions. Sky is the dominant force in this area (12% use a Sky+ box to connect their TV to the internet most often) followed by Virgin Media (6%), Freeview (3%) and BT Vision (2%).

The Connected TV Tracker shows that the digital TV platforms have the edge when it comes to watching catch-up TV over the TV. Over a third (37%) prefer to watch through a set-top box (be it Sky, Virgin or YouView) while fewer than one in ten (7%) watch this content directly through a Smart TV.

The main challenge for manufacturers is that the device’s capabilities are not currently the main motivation of purchase. Over half of Smart TV sales (51%) are down to the purchaser wanting an up-to-date TV and a quarter (25%) because their old set was broken. Just over one in five (22%) got a Smart TV because they wanted to connect to the internet through a television. Furthermore, owners do not exploit the set’s internet connectivity as fewer than half (47%) of Smart TV owners currently use the set to go online on a weekly basis.

Dan Brilot, Media Consulting Director at YouGov, said there was an opportunity for TV manufacturers to sell apps for additional revenue. “At the moment, consumers see getting online through their televisions either as a job for their TV provider or as an extension of their existing online devices”.

The BBC has been running an on-screen campaign to encourage viewers to watch its iPlayer service over the TV. However, this is non-platform specific.

In the opinion of Broadband TV News, the probable cause of a lack of take-up is rooted in the view that these are services offered by pay-TV providers and those who do not have such a service are largely not interested.