Over 220 million Smart TV sets will be sold worldwide in 2017, up from the 54 million that will be sold in 2012. In Australia brands such as Samsung, LG, and Panasonic are witnessing strong demand for Smart TVs despite a lack of first run content.Among the most popular applications on a Smart TV are YouTube and Google Search, claims Samsung, who currently has their $9,499 top end smart TV on back order in Australia.
According to Informa Telecoms & Media’s latest Smart TV device forecasts, 31% of households worldwide will own at least one Smart TV with penetration in Australia tipped to hit 60% within five years as consumers get access to the fibre NBN broadband network.
Outstripping Smart TV sales will be games consoles and media streaming devices (such as Apple TV and Roku) claim Informa.
With their long lifecycles, TVs are simply not the right device to be the hub of the digital home. Instead devices that are regularly replaced, including smartphones, tablets, set-top boxes, media streamers and games consoles, will be the key devices in the digital home experience. Smartphones in particular, with their short lifecycles and rapidly increasing processor power, will continue to define what ‘Smart’ means the research Company claimed in a recent report.
“Informa estimates that in 2017 more than half of the 800 million Smart TV sets will be used as dumb screens,” comments Andrew Ladbrook, Senior Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media. “Any ‘smart’ TV bought in 2011 or 2012 can be used for streaming online video services for a few years, they lack the processing power and the necessary hardware to perform those smart TV functions that will be standard in 2015. Any smart TV purchased in 2012 will be effectively obsolete by 2015.”
The fragmentation of platforms and standards continues to plague the Smart TV market. Apps cannot be easily released across multiple devices, since each Smart TV platform demands bespoke development. This situation benefits the current market leaders Samsung and LG who can attract top services first due to their strong positions. And while Informa believes that Google TV or Android will come to be the default Smart TV OS for Smart TVs that is still some years away.
“If TVs are going to be truly smart they must do more than offer a wide variety of online video services,” Ladbrook argues. “Instead they must add advanced functionality including voice control, motion control, advanced advertising, attractive user interfaces and two-way communications with other smart devices – so-called ‘second screens’ – allowing these devices both to send video to the TV and know what is being watched. Manufacturers should focus less on adding more content and more on improving how users can interact with that content.”