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'Connected' TVs Mostly Used Just Like the Unconnected Kind 217

Posted by timothy
from the hi-fi-jumprope dept.
antdude writes "The National Purchase Diary (NPD) Group Blog reports that 'Internet Connected TVs Are Used To Watch TV, And That's About All — The Internet connected high definition television (HDTV) screen has so far failed to break beyond the bounds of its TV-centric heritage, with little use for the big screen beyond the obligatory video services. But the connection is being used to provide access to a far wider variety of alternative sources for video content. The latest NPD Connected Intelligence Application & Convergence report highlights that nearly six out of ten consumers who own a connected HDTV are accessing Over-the-Top video services through the device.' (Seen on DSL reports.)" Wired's headline on a story based on the same information puts things more bluntly: "No One Uses Smart TV Internet Because It Sucks."
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'Connected' TVs Mostly Used Just Like the Unconnected Kind

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  • Sounds about right (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Jetra (2622687) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @05:37PM (#42406593)
    My aunt kicked me off the TV, so guess what? I'm watching TV via Netflix and YouTube.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 27, 2012 @05:40PM (#42406615)

    I have one of these TVs, and one major problem is that each manufacturer is trying to create a captive audience for their own variety of apps.

    As a result, the number of apps available is pathetic, and almost all boil down to TV stations vanity apps

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 27, 2012 @05:43PM (#42406637)

    the failed MSN TV debacle. People (for the most part) don't want to surf the net on their set top boxes.

  • by Synerg1y (2169962) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @05:49PM (#42406667)
    When you expand a TV's capabilities outwards far enough what do you get?

    A PC? A mini-PC? aka a computer.
    Right now they act more like an embedded machine with preset apps & software limitations.
    They'd have to have an app market & flash based storage for one, but let's think even more (head hurt? not really),
    I can use my TV as a monitor making it a computer and the latest FF & IE > anything on that Sony for web browsing + I get a USB keyboard (I already own) to use, that kind of helps. The same goes for the rest of the apps including netflix, which I have a big red button for on my remote, the PC version is more stable, faster, and overall better.

    I don't use my TV as a monitor however, so I appreciate the netflix button and the amazon video app all over wifi, can't say I use a whole lot besides that, but the webcam & bluetooth might have some uses every once in a blue moon.

    My point is a TV should remain a TV, I'd rather pay for a better image processor than a crappy browser, but if they were to try and make them smarter, they'd have to follow the cell phone's evolution into a smartphone and add similar features in regards to UI design & customization.
  • by NIK282000 (737852) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @05:51PM (#42406683) Homepage Journal

    TVs should be a display and that's it. Give it the brain to decode HDMI signals and the tuner for over the air digital but that should be it. Every time a manufacturer tries to put more then that in their TV it just makes it worse. I spent a day at best buy looking at TVs this month, not a single internet enabled had an interface that doesn't make you want to rip out all your hair. Added features shouldn't break the main ones.

  • by iamhassi (659463) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @05:54PM (#42406703) Journal
    Did they really need a study for this? Why would someone use their 52" TV for twitter or Facebook when they have a tablet or laptop already?
  • by nschubach (922175) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @05:58PM (#42406729) Journal

    I kind of wish that there was a recess in the back of the TV or more "behind the screen" PCs that mount on the VESA pins (or between if you wall mount it) that had a simple 12v power supply and HDMI port. This way you can buy "smart" modules or a PC that mounts on the back of the set to give you the "smart" feature set. Leave the TV up to the task of getting and displaying a signal to the best of it's ability (like you said.) If you ever need to update the "smart" part of the TV, you wouldn't have to replace the whole set. I have a 1080p monitor in my living room that has lasted far longer than the media PC I have connected to it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 27, 2012 @06:04PM (#42406785)

    DVD players have this mostly figured out (game consoles as well I guess) if I'm going to plug a video playing device to my network it better damn well play videos FROM MY NETWORK, simple right?

    I should be able to attach to a network share or DLNA server or hit up any number of services and just pull content across the wire. Any content. Content of my own choosing.

    I shouldn't have to bounce out to the internet to do it

    I shouldn't have to verify who I am

    I shouldn't have to log in to anything

    But nope, all we get are little toy apps and NETFLIX which is hamstrung by ancient covenants that adhere to imaginary lines where content may exist on only one side.

    Save the money you'd flush down the toilet buying an SMRT television and just buy a set top media box.

    If it isn't plainly obvious I'm getting pretty fucking sick of all this VAST technology being used to deliver a half-assed solution that can be solved with a cheap "unlocked" DVD player I bought at the mall in Chinatown and Plex Media Server running on my 7 year old XP machine.

  • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @06:06PM (#42406809)

    I utterly agree with your sentiment.

    The concept of "Smart" TVs is a marketing concept gone terribly wrong. Yes, the technology is here to allow us to do some wonderful things with the internet and through apps, but until a TV can do better than a PC as far as the internet is concerned, or better than a media player than is connected to it, or better than the media server that is connected to that, then why on earth would I want my TV to do any of it?

    If I want to pay games, I will do so on a gaming system, not through the TV using the remote as a controller. If I want to watch a movie or show, I will do it via the easiest and most intuitive manner I can find - and that being in the TV is a LONG way off the features and maturity of more specialized items. Heck, when I look for features in a TV, I don't even care about sound, I want it to do nothing more than display a picture that is being supplied to it.

    If manufacturers want to ween me off using a western digital media player, make the features of the built-in media player better than those of the western digital player I use. I admit that I did try the Samsung version that came with my TV. It was horrific. If you want me to use *your* software, make it at least as good as what I have - which will make it more convenient to have it built-in and therefore better overall, otherwise, stop wasting my time and money.

  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @06:07PM (#42406819)

    Sort of. I have a Samsung Smart TV, and while they definitely have their flavor of apps only available for their TV, that's not really the main problem. The main problem is that the apps that do exist are slow, have a terrible interface, and are filled with bugs. For example: for the first 6 months or so, the Netflix app kept losing my login information. I was this close to just not watching Netflix on the TV anymore, and just go back either jerry-rigging it onto the TV via an extra-long DVI/HDMI cable or to just watch it on my laptop.

    But yes, the Smart TVs are absolutely retarded and a waste of money (or at least, the Internet connectivity aspect is). They need to fix the following problems:
    * no useful apps available outside of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus..
    * requirements to use specific and approved USB cameras or widgets.
    * Buggy apps.
    * Very slow responsiveness.
    * Terrible, terrible interface.

    The solutions:
    * Swallow your pride. Go Google Play Store or iTunes.
    * Invest into the connectivity, and throw some real processing power onto it.
    * Release a smartphone app that allows you to use its interfaces (voice recognition, touchscreen) to control the action on-screen.
    * Make the USB-connectivity more robust, and accept standard webcams, gizmos and widgets.

    Until then, I will consider Smart TVs a waste of time.

    Oh, and fair warning, dear TV makers: this isn't rocket science, and if Apple is indeed working on an Apple TV, it WILL eat your lunch. Because they will get it right, and people will fall over themselves to get a well-thought out, easy to use, pretty TV that integrates into the Apple eco-system.

  • by olsmeister (1488789) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @06:10PM (#42406837)
    90% of people wouldn't want to screw around with that. When they spend all that money on a TV, they expect it to do cool stuff, out of the box. If you tell them they need to buy something else, they're going to think you're trying to screw them over. Now that $80 HDMI cable, though, that they'd probably buy.
  • by aaarrrgggh (9205) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @06:11PM (#42406843)

    What is surprising is that you can't connect to Amazon or Netflix on some of the units despite being "smart." They have their own video store and other such nonsense.

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @06:26PM (#42406939) Homepage Journal

    90% of people wouldn't want to screw around with that. When they spend all that money on a TV, they expect it to do cool stuff, out of the box.

    OK, we all know the 90% is a number you pulled straight from the depths of your ass, but you do still make a valid point, so I'll go ahead and ask:
    Really? Since when?

    To wit - I was born in the mid 1980's, and it has always been my expectation that my TV is nothing more than a display screen, which only shows me 'cool stuff' from the devices I physically connect to it.

    Then again, I've never spent more than maybe $350 on a television (hooray pawnshops and demo units!), so I'm guessing this is a YMMV situation.

  • by SJHillman (1966756) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @07:06PM (#42407199)

    I bought a car expecting it to go real fast. The reality is that regardless of whether or not it can go real fast, I rarely drive much above the speed limit anyway. I bought a Wii expecting to use it to exercise. The reality is I sit on the couch and play games with wrist flicks. People buy based on expectations, not how they'll actually use it.

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @07:07PM (#42407205)

    Windows Media Center on Win7 with XBox360's as extenders and a HDHomeRun Prime on the server for cable is pretty much the best thing there is on the planet for this stuff.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <> on Thursday December 27, 2012 @07:15PM (#42407267) Homepage

    no useful apps available outside of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus..

    + iPlayer and YouTube. Those apps alone are worth their weight in gold.

    requirements to use specific and approved USB cameras or widgets.

    I'm afraid that unless you want your TV to run Windows you are probably going to be SOL on that one, since no manufacturer is going to try and support every random ultra low-cost craptastic webcam chipset with a custom driver when they can just sell you one of their own. If the fault lies anywhere it is with the USB standard for not defining a standard driver-neutral webcam interface.

    Very slow responsiveness.

    Try Panasonic TVs. The higher end models have dual core CPUs and are pretty responsive. You get what you pay for.

    Release a smartphone app that allows you to use its interfaces (voice recognition, touchscreen) to control the action on-screen.

    Already exists [], works pretty well.

  • by rtkluttz (244325) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @07:26PM (#42407349) Homepage

    I would go a step further with that statement... the reason it sucks SO badly is that they try to create revenue streams because they falsly believe they have a captive audience. Hulu is free on a computer, but hulu plus blocks some shows depending on your device. WTF??? I'll just hook my computer to my TV and bypass your damn cripple ware. Stop trying to lock me in and give me value that makes me WANT to stay.

If a subordinate asks you a pertinent question, look at him as if he had lost his senses. When he looks down, paraphrase the question back at him.