Smart TV sets sold well in 2010, with figures higher than previously estimated. And that trend looks set to continue right on up until 2015. The problem is no one has taken firm control of the interface and content, meaning the whole thing is currently a messed-up mish-mash.
Smart TV Sales
Two new reports from research firms show how popular smart television sets already are, and how sales are going to grow exponentially over the next five years.
DisplaySearch reports that a fifth of all television sets sold in 2010 were capable of connecting to the Internet and this this is helping germinate “a quiet revolution in TV viewing.”
Parks Associates, meanwhile, predicts that around 350 million Web-enabled devices, including smart TVs, Blu-ray players, and games consoles will have sold worldwide by 2015.
As people replace their television sets, they obviously gain the latest technology. But unlike 3D, which is being foisted upon us without any great demand, Web-enabled sets are actually wanted, with many people realizing how they could add another option to their TV viewing habits.
Too. Much. Choice.
The problem at the moment is too much choice and not enough organization or streamlining of what is on offer. As Jessi Hempel explains in this fascinating Fortune article:
“For the moment, all that promise translates into a proliferation of new boxes and services that are impossible to compare. Do I want an Internet-connected TV from Samsung or Sony, or should I just buy a separate box that hooks up to the Net, like that brick-size Logitech gadget that enables Google TV? What about the supercheap Roku box? Should I bother paying for Hulu’s new premium service or just get a Netflix subscription?”
“The result is a web TV experience that feels a bit like the Internet circa 1998, before publishing companies embraced the Net and Google arrived to help us find and instantly consume the stuff we’re looking for. What changed back then? Software, from search engines to specialized applications, helped make information more accessible — and it will do the same for entertainment.”
Never a truer word has been spoken about the development of smart TVs and online video. The sector does, at this time, feel like the Web did back in the day when it was just starting to take off. It’s exciting, yes, but it also needs making over before it becomes accessible enough for the mainstream to embrace it.
This leader could, of course, end up being Google. But I have a sneaking suspicion it will be a new or small company that finds itself with the right product at the right time, with everyone clambering to adopt it as the standard.
And until that happens, I’m afraid we’re all left peeing in the wind and hoping we’ve backed the right horse. Out of the dozens of them currently competing to sail past the post first.
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