Smart TV owners in UK not making the most of their devices

30 Apr 2012

While smart TVs are making their way into more and more UK homes, getting people to realise the full capabilities of these devices is a bigger challenge, research from YouGov claims.

The UK research company found that, although 14pc of UK households are expected to have smart TVs within the coming year, the reasons behind buying the devices have little to do with internet connectivity.

Just more than half (53pc) of respondents realised that ‘smart’ meant their TV could connect directly to the internet without the need for another device, while a quarter of smart TV owners have never connected to the internet through their TV at all.

Instead, UK consumers are investing in smart TVs for the sake of keeping up with the Joneses and having the latest model to boast about, with just 37pc seeing internet connectivity as a factor in buying one. In fact, a whopping majority are primarily concerned with picture quality (96pc), screen size (93pc) and sound quality (89pc).

On-demand most popular among 18 to 24-year-olds

Viewers in both Ireland and the UK are showing a preference for on-demand services that work with their schedules instead of against them, and the YouGov survey shows this is most popular among those aged 18 to 24, and smart TV owners with pre-school children.

However, on-demand programming can be accessed through a DVR or any internet-enabled device, such as a computer, laptop or tablet – it is not exclusive to smart TVs. If smart TV manufacturers want to truly capture the imagination of consumers, they need to highlight the unique functionality they can provide through apps, smart channels and social media integration.

Perhaps consumer-favourite Apple will take the lead on this with the rumoured development of an Apple TV – something more than a quarter of those surveyed said they plan to buy, even though the product doesn’t exist yet.

“Manufacturers need to understand what the unique selling point (USP) of a smart TV is, either understanding a current need or creating one – as Apple do so well – rather than bundling together different technologies without the necessary thought as to how they might be used together,” said Dan Brilot, YouGov’s media consulting director.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.