Smart TV: not quite a smart bet… yet

December 21, 2011

Only 15% of UK consumers say they will own a Smart TV within the next 12 months.

Smart TV ownership (a TV set able to be connected directly to the internet via Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi) is slowly growing. Consequently, the television set will soon become a key device that people use to access internet content either directly, via a games console (such as the Xbox 360) or other ‘plug-in’ boxes such as Boxee or YouView (a new partnership between major broadcasters such as the BBC and Channel Four as well as BT).

Already one in 10 people in the UK own a smart TV and, while intention to purchase is currently very low, sales could well be stimulated by several key events, such as the UK launches in 2012 of Google TV and Netflix, as well as major sporting occasions such as the European Football Championships and the Olympics. There are even rumours that Apple will release a smart TV device: ‘iTV’.

A main driver for adoption of Smart TV in the future could be the increasing availability of content, which is currently only available on broadcast television. Just over one third (36%) of UK respondents aged 18-24 claimed that they would be encouraged to purchase a smart TV set if more of the TV content they normally watch was available on the internet.

There are already more and more services becoming available on smart TV’s such as YouTube, MSN, Twitter, Skype and web browsing using Bing or Google. It could well be the ability to use social networking services in conjunction with television services, so called ‘Social TV’ that could be the ‘killer app’ for the smart TV. This evolution of our TV sets is enabling viewers to share and comment on media content using Facebook and Twitter, or even to set up ‘virtual living rooms’ where programmes are watched at the same time between friends but at different locations with social networks enabling the sharing of the viewing experience.

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