Smart TVs are fast becoming the status quo as far as TV sales are concerned. While the whole TV industry has one leg on the regular “dumb” TV, the other leg is firmly fixed on the smart side. Could this signal a change in consumer buying habits? Let’s see.
What is a smart TV?
A smart TV is that television that comes fitted with an Operating System (OS) or platform that lets you gain access to online and network-based content without the need for a box. A smart TV basically expands your world of view as you can use its apps to stream, browse or even shop online!
How does a smart TV work?
Generally, a smart TV gains access to content via an internet connection. This could be from Ethernet or your home Wi-Fi. While the Ethernet is more stable, you could equally use Wi-Fi.
Now, the smart TV comes preloaded with an app store and a few basic like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer or the ITV Hub. You could also find social media apps like Facebook and Twitter. You could actually split the screen to view your favorite show while reading everyone’s reaction on Twitter in real-time!
The benefit of the smart TV is that you could add more apps and games to your library. That essentially means you do not have to be stuck with a few options that limit your entertainment experience.
Smart TVs offer much more convenience and efficiency that you could even use your mobile phone as a remote control. You could decide to stream content from your phone to the TV, or even from the TV to your phone! The possibilities are actually endless!
According to Comscore, Samsung and Vizio are dominating production of the smart TV by a combined 63% of the total smart TVs produced.
Changes in Consumer buying habits
TV consumers are increasingly contending with the need to view what they want when they want it. This, of course, is not offered by the traditional TV. While the regular TV offers broad topics and channels, consumers, want tailored content.
Fortunately, the consumers are finding solace in the smart TV industry using Over-the Top (OTT) streaming services. OTT basically refers to the device or functionality in a smart TV that allows it to deliver internet-based videos. This could be game consoles, Roku, Smart TVs, Apple TVs, among others.
“The future of TV is apps.” Tom Cook, CEO Apple
According to a 2017 research by Comscore, 54% of all Wi-Fi connected homes in America stream their video content Over-the-Top to a TV. Additionally, the research found that the main streaming ways in the US are through streaming sticks/box and Smart TVs.
40% of all the OTT streamed video content come from a streaming stick/box. The major streaming sticks are Roku (16%), Amazon Fire TV (14%), Chromecast (8%) and Apple TV (6%).
While most people still buy TV to watch specific channels or news sites or to play video games, the smart TVs were found to add more entertainment experience by the ability to stream online content like Netflix and Hulu.
The TV apps continue to transform the TV User Experience (UX) by making the once device for watching news become one that could be used for just about all that a smartphone can perform!
Apps by TV Brand
TV brands generally come compatible with certain apps. Here, we give you a small rundown of the TV brand and the compatible TV apps.
Vizio: Internet App Plus, Smartcast
Samsung: Tizen Smart Hub
Element/LeECO/Sharp/ Sony/Toshiba/Westinghouse: Android TV
As seen above, different TV brands have their own set of apps that enable access to online content. However, some apps are compatible with most of the TVs.
Why Consumers prefer Smart TVs
Smart TVs are more efficient than the traditional TVs. Smart TVs are able to stream more online and TV content without the need for a subscription to a cable or satellite service. Basically, with the Smart TVs, consumers watch whatever they want, whenever they want it.
Also, some Smart TVs offer users additional services like gaming, browsing and also streaming compatible media from a PC.
The other benefit of the smart TVs is that you get a taste of both worlds. You could decide to go all out on internet-based content or decide to connect it to a box/satellite service. However, the VIzio Smart TVs have succeeded in entirely removing their capacity to work with satellite.
Another benefit of the Smart TV is in the User Experience (UX). While the traditional TV has just but a few buttons for basic control, the best 55″ Smart TVs can be super interactive and immersive. You could speak to some of these smart TVs to search for video content.
Also, some smart TVs give users Miracast and screen-sharing features that enable users to share content from their PCs, smartphones and tablets to the TV screen. These are made manifest in the form of SmartShare for LG TVs and SmartView for Samsung.
But are Smart TVs the silver bullet to television entertainment? Well, they have their fair share challenge too.
Limitations of Smart Televisions
While Smart TVs are all hyped up and many households are buying them by the day, they could have some functional and cost implications that could make you have a second thought.
Inasmuch as you would be widening your scope of view in terms of the channels and online video content, you may pay more for it. Most Smart TVs have a monthly subscription. If you add this to the other pay-per-view content costs, you could be spending waaaay over the regular satellite subscription. Only difference would be that you pay for what you want.
The other downside of Smart TVs is that the brand you buy pretty much determines the services you get. This can be extremely limiting as you cannot have all the TV brands just to be able to watch all the videos and enjoy all exciting features.
However, all smart TVs offer the basic services like Pandora, Netflix, Hulu and Vudu. But if you are an iTunes music/video streamer, you will need to buy the Apple TV box to access these services.
Perhaps one of the grandest limitations is the privacy breach possibility that is usually associated with Smart TVs. Because the Smart TV apps are capable of suggesting video content to you, it means they are tracking your user data. This could lead to major security issues including hacking.
The last thing you would wish for is for someone to listen in to your conversations through your smart TV. If you use your smart TV for browsing the internet or for online shopping, your credit card information too could be at stake.
Cognizant of these security gaffes, a CNBC report outlined ways in which owners of various smart TVs could avert security issues using TV settings.
Smart TV apps have no doubt changed the consumer buying habits in more than one way. Currently, Smart TVs enable consumers to be in complete control over what they watch and when they watch it. This has led to an upsurge of Smart TV users in America even as the Smart TV craze spreads to the other parts of the world.