More and more TV sets on the market offer built in internet capability as a feature. This means that the consumer can connect them directly to the internet without any other device like a game console (Play Station, XBox or Nintendo) or streaming media device (Roku, Apple TV). The connection makes it possible to play digital content directly from Netflix, Hulu, Pandora or one of the many other sources already available.
However, many of the users do not take advantage of the feature. According to research only 47% of internet capable TVs are actually connected. So what do people do instead? They continue using the usually more expensive but tried and true methods like set-top box for cable or satellite.
What are the reasons why more Smart TVs are not utilized?
1. Manufacturers and retailers do not explain very well what these features are and how to use them. Professional installation cost too much extra for people to take it.
2. Consumers are used to that watching TV is a passive activity. They just want to relax when they sit in front of the box. Some of the possibilities like playing games and posting on social networking sites are not fitting in that picture.
3. This feature was not an important part of the purchasing decision so they do not even know or care about what it means. The price difference is not significant.
4. Poor user interface. When the feature is activated a bunch of icons appear where the applications can be selected. Most of them are not widely known what they are. A lot of them require signing up and even subscription. So unless the user is already excited about using them, they may not seem that important to have.
TV manufacturers compete with each other. So they feel like they have to offer this feature but they do not care if it gets used. The situation is similar to early smart phones where most users did not use most of the features. They did not have a reason and it was too complicated. That is why Apple changed the landscape. They already had content to sell so they were motivated to change the status quo. This may be a good opportunity once again for Apple to turn the landscape upside down. If they figure out how to make Smart TVs truly smart, how to build a system that is easy and intuitive to use, they will sell a lot of units and content to a lot of people around the world. Rumors are already out there that the TVs are being built. Steve Jobs said before he passed away that they finally figured out how to do it right. Apple is playing 3D chess while others are playing checkers. Lets see what happens. Consumers and Apple are probably the ones to benefit at the end.