World smart TV sales surge
More folk buying - but are they watching?
Smart TVs - tellies with internet connectivity - accounted for almost 20 per cent of the televisions that manufacturers shipped in Q1.
Almost 30 per cent of them went into Western Europe, but the world's biggest IPTV fans are clearly the Japanese: 46 per cent of the TVs that shipped there were smart devices.
Yet Japanese shipments were low: just under 1m units. More than 2.6m smart TVs shipped into Western Europe, and some 3.2m into China.
Penetration there hit 30 per cent as Chinese buyers snapped up new TVs to help celebrate the Lunar New Year, market watcher NPD DisplaySearch said today.
Smart TV Penetration, Q1’12 Shipments
LG and Samsung may have been promoting their smart TV platforms of late, but in Q1, the number of smart TVs they shipped as a proportion of their total telly shipments were just 26 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively.
Compare that to Sony: more than half of the TVs it shipped in the quarter - 51 per cent - were internet connectable.
Other familiar brands - to Westerners - Philips, Sharp and Panasonic scored 36 per cent, 28 per cent and 21 per cent, respectively, according to DisplaySearch's numbers.
Smart TV Penetration, Q1’12 Shipments by Brand
Still, it's impossible to yet say how many of these devices are being used for their connected capabilities. Smart TV functionality remains just one television feature among many. China's high sales, for instance, may say more about the growing conspicuous consumption of the Chinese middle class than the keenness of folk there on net-sourced entertainment.
And past studies, in the UK at least, suggest a significant proportion of smart-TV buyers aren't making use of the technology - or even know what it's for. ®
Hmmm. I wonder if this is akin to 3DTV. People are buying them not because they want them but because that's all that is available.
I have concerns over these smart TV's. Next year (or whenever) iPlayer or one of the other modules will be updated (for whatever reason) and you'll need to upgrade the software.
My question is, how long will they support older TV's? Or in 2/3 years time are you going end up are you going to end with a Dumbed-down TV?
Smart TVs, stupid buyers
Smart TVs command a premium which simply isn't justifiable. What are the chances the "smart" services will work properly in 3 or 4 years? By then Samsung, Sony, Panasonic et al will have moved several generations forwards with their products and will have no incentive at all to support older models. Services will begin to bitrot or lag behind functionally until you're left with a TV with all kinds of extraneous cruft in its UI which is of no use at all.
It would be smarter to buy a box separate to the TV. If the box becomes obsolete at least you can replace it for an entirely new experience rather than leaving the broken old experience there stinking up the UI.