menu

Freddie Laker: What Will Make Consumers Care About Smart TVs?

Advertising

The founder of Guide discusses how people want experiences on their TV not just passive viewing.

Freddie Laker, gui.de
  • 10 february 2013

 

The biggest problem facing Smart TVs is that their far smaller cousins, the Smartphone, have set the bar in consumer expectations. So here is what we have to do to actually make consumers care about Smart TVs.

Get Smarter

At Guide, one of our key insights—as simple as it may sound—is that people want TV experiences on their TV. Existing consumer research seems to back us up. A recent study from the NPD Group showed that the most successful apps for Smart TVs are video apps. Intuitively, this makes a lot of sense. A television’s comparative advantage over your laptop and smartphone is big picture and big sound. It offers little advantage in updating Facebook or scrolling through Twitter.

Rather than attempting to replicate normal browsing and app content, Smart TV developers should focus on delivering video experiences unique to the big screen—especially for a multi-user audience. Remember: unless your spouse is looking over your shoulder, tablets and phones are a one-to-one experience. Television is communal, and developers should recognize that and take advantage.

The conventional tech wisdom is that consumers don’t really care about Smart TV. But hardware companies obviously still do. What makes the platforms like Samsung’s Smart Hub so interesting is the way it was seamlessly integrates into the television’s interface. Surprisingly many of the Smart TV app platforms don’t allow for apps to communicate or interact with the video content you’re watching. Once the apps and the experience become more seamless consumers perception of Smart TVs value will change dramatically.

The CPU Challenge

Of course, that’s easier said than done. Smart TVs have very poor processing power. This hasn’t been an issue with the more popular apps because they’re optimized strictly to play video. But anything more complicated than basic streaming—especially gaming—has been a challenge.

Many of the Smart TVs on display at 2013 feature cranked up CPU power, but the 2012 models are already looking obsolete. Samsung recognizes this, and is offering hardware updates via “Evolution Kits”—small modules that slip into the back of the set, offering higher powered processors processors as they become available. Such upgrades need to become an industry standard as TVs have notoriously long replacement cycles.

Tipping Point?

Better hardware, Web-integrated interfaces, and 4K displays could create a tipping point for Smart TVs. Informa believes that 221 million smart TVs will be sold in 2017—a 400 percent increase from 2012. This translates to 800 million total sets in homes worldwide. But those numbers are nothing more than opportunity without the right apps and content. Apps sell hardware. Apple, Google, and Microsoft know this better than anyone. The manufacturers who can capitalize on Smart TV’s killer apps will dominate the market.

There are three areas where Smart apps backed by strong hardware could thrive:

  • Gaming. Right now, video game consoles are an important point of entry to Smart TV and the connected digital ecosystem. The PlayStation 3 is the leading device for Netflix streaming, ahead of even the PC. But consoles suffer from many of the same weaknesses as existing Smart TV systems, namely a weak app ecosystem. Platforms like OnLive may be bringing console quality games to Smart TVs, but more powerful hardware will allow the new world of mobile game developers to start producing high quality casual game quickly and cost effectively for the Smart TV ecosystem.
  • TV Subscription Service. What consumers really want is choice, and the real game changer for Smart TV will be streaming television apps that offer an à la carte content model. Apple TV has repeatedly been hyped as a challenger to the bundled cable business, but the company has yet to sign big name partners from the television industry. Google TV is currently meant to complement your existing cable subscription, not replace it. But Google may soon allow manufacturers to build pure streaming boxes that would bypass cable entirely.
  • Ecosystem Integration: Even if Smart TV can’t replace your gaming console or cable box, it can serve as the central hub in the connected device ecosystem. The long rumored new version of Apple TV will likely turn your television into a tablet with full integration of iOS apps. And mobile apps for Androids, iPhones, and others will become increasingly Smart TV compatible. Popular apps like Zeebox and Shazam are already trying to understand and anticipate the relationship between consumers, social media, and television. Mobile is having to do it because the TV tech just isn’t there yet—but it needs to be and will be soon.

Smart TV’s current drawbacks are real, but so are its opportunities for innovation. In Gartner’s Hype Cycle-lingo, the technology is currently treading water in the Trough of Disillusionment, but full realization of its potential is just over the hill. Personally I believe that the turning point for the re-invention of TV is just around the corner too. Do you?

Freddie Laker is CEO and Founder of Gui.de, a stealth startup looking to transform the social TV experience.

Advertising
Trending

Garmin's New Smartwatch Is Challenging The Luxury Market

Design
Work Today

Editorial Roundtable: How Will Companies Staff The Workplace Of The Future?

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX examine the ways that a people-first workplace might disrupt the job hiring process

Arts & Culture Today

Airport Mural Puts Passengers In The Clouds

The installation in an Amsterdam terminal lets travelers float through a series of billowing 3D digital shapes

Trending

Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Retail: Technology Primer

See All
Automotive Today

DevBot Is An Intelligent, Driverless, Electric Car

The unmanned test vehicle from RoboRace is a preview of upcoming AI race models

Fitness / Sport Today

Turn Any Wearable Into A Mental Health Tracker

Cognition Kit is a software platform that lets people track and better understand their cognitive states

PURPLELIST EXPERTS

DeRay McKesson

Social Media, Social Justice, Community

Augmented / Virtual Reality Today

AR Ski Goggles Make Racing Down The Slopes Even More Immersive

Israeli startup RideOn weaves digital overlays into the thrill of skiing with an unconventional pair of protective eyewear

Advertising Today

Japan Wants To Make 2020 Olympic Medals From Recycled Electronic Waste

The Tokyo Games could showcase the first-ever gold, silver and bronze awards made from discarded phones and computers

Culture Today

This Small Town Has Become A Hide-and-Seek World Championship Destination

An old abandoned village in Northern Italy has become a massive playground for over one hundred competitive players

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed august 23, 2016

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

PSFK Labs Today

New Mentorship Ecosystems Benefit All Levels Of An Organization

PSFK’s Future of Work report explores how technology is being leveraged to support cross-team communication

Syndicated Yesterday

What Could The Highway Of The Future Look Like?

As technology for automated vehicles improves, there’s a sharper focus on building a ‘smarter’ infrastructure where they can thrive

Design Yesterday

Plastic Wind Trees Are Bringing Sustainable Power To Residential Homes

These French-made turbines are offering a small, aesthetically pleasing approach to affordable personal energy

Home Yesterday

Dyson’s Wi-Fi Connected Fan Purifies, Cools & Heats The Air

The new luxury home appliance aims to be an all-in-one device for the connected home

Education Yesterday

Bringing Virtual Reality And Telepresence Robotics To E-Learning

This Learning Management System is embracing new technologies to reallocate teaching resources to where they should be going

Advertising Yesterday

Brewing Company Turns Car Emissions Into Ink

Tiger Beer has created a sustainable process to transform air pollution into supplies for street art

INSIGHTS COVERAGE

Rio Olympics
Innovation Coverage From The Rio Games
READ NOW

Design Yesterday

Space-Saving Sofa Has Extra Furniture Hidden Inside

Living in an apartment with limited space? This three-in-one bed transforms based on your needs

Culture Yesterday

Browser Extension Blocks Any Pages That Make You Unhappy

The software can detect your facial movements and prevent content that brings up negative emotions

Automotive Yesterday

Reserve Your Parking Spot Before You Even Get Behind The Wheel

A new Ford app allows drivers to select and arrange for a space in a garage to be available at the end of their journey, so they can travel worry-free

No search results found.