back to article Telly makers failing to turn punters on to smart TV

IPTV Week logo UK consumers aren't yet turning on to the smart TV concept, pollster YouGov revealed today. Over the Christmas 2011 period, smart TV ownership rose by just a single percentage point, the psephologist said. In November 2011, ten per cent of the UK population owned a smart TV. Back then, 15 per cent of UK …


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  1. Wheaty73

    Smart TV? Yes, when everything I have needs replacing.

    I would eagerly purchase a smart tv, if it did iPlayer and DNLA, could record from Freesat and freeview simultaneously, and had an integrated BD/DVD. Sadly for Sony et al, I have boxes that do all that for me, and they are not in need of being replaced. And 3D? Keep it.

    This could be why they aren't selling. People have all this stuff, and have just bought their latest 3D tellies to replace their slightly less new HD Ready tellies. They don't see a need to upgrade.

  2. dotdavid

    Promote the feature?

    No, telly makers need to make sure their TVs support more IPTV services.To be fair there's a distinct lack of IPTV services so their offerings may still not be compelling, but punters aren't going to be sympathetic if their TV doesn't play iPlayer/ITV Player/Whatever when it's billed as a "smart" (haha) telly.

    At the moment as El Reg's articles have shown it's a confusing mess of manufacturers doing their own thing and making their own deals on a service-by-service basis. Even techies find IPTV daunting, I hate to think what Joe Average thinks of it all.

    Probably "I bought a large flat panel HDTV two years ago and it still works fine".

  3. squilookle

    I'm not going out of my way to buy a smart tv - I can't get excited about a TV in the same way I can about a games console or PC... the TV gets taken for granted as long as it works and displays a good picture.

    I have been considering joining either Lovefilm or Netflix since the apps for both appeared for the XBox. I might try the trials for both, though I think I'm edging toward Lovefilm at the moment as I'm more interested in films than TV. iPlayer and 4 on demand get used occasionally, but I tend to record what I want to watch and play it back when I'm ready.

  4. The BigYin
    Thumb Down

    I'd like a SmartTV

    It'd be great - just a shame that none are available. There are WalledGarden TVs and PartiallyImplementedTVs, but no actual SmartTVs.

    In fact, what I'd rather have is a thick-as-a-brick TV-sized monitor (maybe with speakers) to which I can fit the device of my choosing. That way I don't have to endure the artificial restrictions put in place my the OEM. With XBMC now running on the Raspberry Pi, why would I need anything else?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Saw an article about this on TV over the weekend and although I can se some use is some features a lot of the stuff they are pushing was all social media related and pretty much useless in houses where the TV is sitting in the living room and is shared.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    xbox/PS3 does it better.

    Seems to me the main reason smart TV's arent taking off as expected is because non of them out there currently do IPTV/DNLA as well as xbox/PS3 do.

    Both xbox/PS3 seem to offer a more complete range of IPTV services, and handle a much wider range of file types for DNLA.

    Failing that, I suspect some people use their blueray players for similar services as well.

    1. Shaun 1

      That's the thing

      I'd be interested in a smart TV, but my PS3 has Lovefilm and catchup from BBC, ITV, C4, C5. My 360 has Lovefilm and catchup from Sky, ITV, C4, C5 (and soon BBC). My Virgin Box has catchup from BBC, ITV, C4, C5 and Sky.

      With my 360 I can do all those things without even picking up a remote/controller, I can just shout orders at it and it does what I want. ("XBOX, Lovefilm")

  7. JimmyPage Silver badge

    Stick to making just the panels

    which can then be hooked up to a media centre, which can do the IP bit (like my TiVo). Less chance of punters being stuck with an outmoded IPTV which you discover 2 years down the line isn't as future-proof as the man in the shop said.

  8. EddieD

    One statistic missing...

    Those without TVs (like me) who use purely IP offerings - and whether that is going to increase or decrease

  9. Amonynous

    Snow? Eskimos (Inuit?)?

    Why would people want to pay out yet again for things when they already have a house full of other gadgets that can do the same job and usually do it better?

    1. If you've got a console, you have the means to access the web (and thus social network of your choice), plus a variety of IPTV services. Even the lowly Wii can do it. But let's face it, browsing the web on a console is like repeatedly poking yourself in the eye with a pencil; anyone can do it but why would you voluntarily choose self-infllicted pain? Let's not forget, you might also be using your console for its primary purpose - playing games.

    2. If you've got a smartphone or fondleslab, you've got a much nicer way to access the web. You can also stream IPTV to the things in a variety of ways. How many slabs/smartphones per person in the typical gadget-enthused household (i.e. target demographic for smart TVs)? It is bound to be a a ratio somewhere north of 1:1.

    3. You've almost certainly got a PC (or six - *shame*) knocking around. By far the most web browsing experience and second best TV platform.

    4. Not to mention you may already have Sky or Virgin TV, so you've got time-shifting, on-demand and streaming TV opportunities there as well. Maybe even a second box/subscription to keep the peace. Personally I'm already so overwhelmed with choice I cannot even be arsed to install 'Sky Go' or whatever it is they are calling it now on my smartphone or PC.

    5. You will also probably have Freeview and/or Freeview HD on one or more non-smart TVs, and maybe even a PVR built in as well.

    6. Let's not forget the cupboard full of DVDs and/or Blu-Rays that you have lovingly shelled out for down the years. Old school I know, but people are still buying shedloads of the things.

    7. Oh, and board games, books, music, hobbies, the world outside your window, a decent night's sleep, commuting to work, working, shopping, eating and drinking, bringing up your kids, secret life as a masked crime-fighter, etc. Got to leave some time for those things between TV and FaceCrack.

    So again I ask, why would anyone pay out yet again to solve a problem that they already have up to six other solutions for already? Especially if you have already bought a new flat-screen TV or set-top box in recent months or years, not to mention 3D TV maybe taking off/maybe fizzling out, so lots of 'wait and see-ers' who remember Betamax and HD-DVD.

    There are only four pairs of eyes and 24 hours in a day in our house. At most we could consume 96 hours of TV/Social/Media/Web per day. We have 13 independent sources of content and enough screenage to display ten of them simultaneously, and even if we all gave up work/school/eating/sleeping/crime-fighting we could only consume about 40% of what the technology is capable of vomiting forth. (And vomit is what 90% of the stuff available is anyway).

    The real surprise is that anyone is surprised the market for yet another source of said vomit is not taking off.

    (And I forgot about the PSP and 3 x Nintendo DS's knocking around the house!)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smart TV's? They couldn't even get HDMI right on ThickasShit(TM) ones

    Remember when switching on a device connected via SCART used to switch th eTV to the relevant input?

    Does HDMI routinely do that, or do you have to scrabble around in the Sources menu or step through th eseeminy interminable list of DVB, Ana, Ext1, Ext2, AV, PC HDMI, and hope it gets picked up.

    Get the basis working properly then worry about the frilly stuff.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      HDMI is *supposed* to do that.

      There is a 5v 50mA supply from the "data source" that was originally intended to tell the TV that it's active.

      There is also CEC which is supposed to allow the remote for one device control others.

      The problem is, they don't work. Presumably because the various manufacturers refuse to publish interoperability specs and/or follow the published specifications that do exist.

      So if all your kit is from the same manufacturer and the same generation, it might work.

      Unfortunately if you buy components from the manufacturer that does each part "best" or even do get them all from the same manufacturer but some are newer than other, it usually doesn't work.

      Oddly, IR remotes are the only things that really do interoperate.

    2. Trevor Marron

      My Samsung TV does

      When connected to my Samsung Freeview recorder - Blue Ray - Media Centre all in one thing/Xbox 360

  11. Complicated Disaster
    Thumb Down

    My Samsung TV is "smart" but because it's a couple of years old there are no longer updates available for it and no new services are planned. If I want iPLayer I have to buy a new TV. I don't think so!

  12. Gareth 18

    I just don't see the point

    People can do all of this already, on equipment they will have whether their TV does IPTV or not. Virgin/Sky + PS3/360 cover off anything that these Smart Tvs and do, and most people are not about to get rid of them because they need them for more then just the IPTV elements.

    TVs should be dumb. They should be there to provide a good picture, acceptable sound and plenty of helpful connections and that's it. Eventually manufacturers might cotton onto the fact that people don't need it.

    Build a TV that has EVERYTHING I need built in and we are onto something. ie a TV that has a 360, PS3, media streamer and AppleTV so I can get rid of everything else will be a winner. As it is half heartedly replicating features which already exist and are done better just doesn't cut it.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Thus we can tell that it cannot ever work

      A TV with everything embedded will be out of date and have something missing before it even makes it into Currys.

      My first flat-panel telly had a PVR built-in. It was badly done, a tiny hard drive and the damn thing crashed every time I recorded one channel while watching another - couldn't change channel.

      So I sent it back and replaced it with a TV that I now use as a dumb panel to a Humax PVR.

      I'm pretty sure that most people have already realised that all they want from a TV is a dumb panel:

      Got Sky or Virgin? You won't want the Freeview or Freesat tuner in the telly.

      Got a PVR? You won't want the Freeview or Freesat tuner in the telly.

      In both these cases, you've already got some level of internet streaming. Add a games console and that's the rest.

      Now, of those who want a "Smart TV" who don't already have Sky/Virgin/PVR or a games console, are they going to buy a new telly, or one of the above instead?

      Of all the people I know, only my grandmother doesn't have or want Sky, Virgin, a PVR or a games console - but she doesn't want to watch internet TV either. She doesn't even have internet at all!

      There's no market for something that costs over a grand but cannot be upgraded at all, when you can spend £50-£300 to add all those features on your existing screen.

  13. Jon H

    Experience doesn't compare to PC

    I have a 2011 high end Panasonic plasma which has these smart features... iPlayer is done pretty well with a great picture, but apart from that, I don't touch the other "apps".

    Sure it has Facebook and Skype and a weather channel and several other things that I can't even remember now, but generally they're so slow to navigate around and load. As for Skype, you have to buy a specific webcam that will work with the TV and it's over £100, no thanks!

    It has DNLA which can be handy for playing videos (not all formats work which is really annoying so you end up just using a PC to TV HDMI cable!) and music but otherwise you get a much better experience with your computer (especially if you can hook it up to your big screen TV).

  14. Doug Glass

    Smart TV ...

    ... is an oxymoron like business ethics and all the rest.

  15. YP

    Smart? Well only if they looked smart

    Total fail.

    As stated above most people have enough boxes around the house that already do most of the stuff. Add to that that the content is still mostly rubbish then why bother? The only thing wrong with my PS£ is that for some unknown reason 4OD has about 10th of the programs available that I can access on my PC/phone (rights access don't make me laugh I can get a UK IP address when I'm abroad easy for my laptop, my PS3 is anchored in the living room, why is it treated differently? Seriously if anyone can actually tell me I'd like to know).

    On top of all this if I want to actually have a broadband connection fast enough to watch any of the programs, then I need to pay Mr Branson, and then I'll get a Tivo anyway

  16. Wimmy

    They're already too late and content is abysmal

    Own a WD TV Live: You already have much more than any connected TV

    Same goes with Roku etc

    As mentioned above, game consoles already offer plenty.

    If you have a HTPC or a media center.... Same goes.

    And there was no mention of what's offered with ISPs and their triple play packages.

    I ended up having three youtubes, three netflix etc etc, and the TV (Sony kdl EX 710) is always last choice.

  17. cavywavy

    I brought a nice big flat pannel 1080p TV 2 years ago it was billed as the next great revolution and not 6 months later 3d came out.

    I have had lovefilm and Iplayer streaming on my PS3 for over a year but my broadband carnt do hi-def

    So when I look at the new smart TV's I have to ask myself how long will it be before there out of date none of them seem to do everything they havent even worked out a standard that allows my AV unit to use the same controll as my TV or my playstation unless I buy a 3rd party controller.

    But more basic than that I have to ask whould I even be able to use them the basic infrastrcture here in the UK isnt upto it, I hear about fiber this and fiber that but at the end of it isnt there BT have sold us short ont he whole thing fiber to the cab isnt upto this type of servece and that if it ever even gets here. and without a decent 100meg service any all smart TV/ Streaming service are next to redundant.

    So Im not about to jump onboard just yet

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Incomplete solutions

    We replaced our antediluvian CRT this year with a Samsung "Smart TV"....

    It has iPlayer, but nothing for playing material from ITV, Channel 4 or Channel 5 - let alone Sky.

    LoveFilm is there and seems to work OK as is uTube.

    Wouldn't use it for browsing - the browser is very clunky and slow and doesn't seem to understand most other video formats - so browsing to other video sites is a waste of time. Typing in with an on-screen keyboard using arrow keys is so clumsy to be unusable (and there's no wireless keyboard option)

    Don't have a console of any sort (gave up on computer games around the era of Pac-Man!) so I don't have that option.

    Haven't tried DLNA but I think it is supposed to support it....

    Lack of integration even with same brand home cinema is also pitiful - when I turn on the TV I would have expected the directly connected sound system to come on with the same button press!

    Why don't they implement SmartTV in a sensible way - maybe on top of Android for cheapness - so that other people can produce apps (like today's Register's Android Choice!) for multiple brands of TV and continue to support the platform after the manufacturer has lost interest in the particular model? THAT would be "Smart".

    The biggest drawback to IPTV in general is the bandwidth requirement.... My monthly bandwidth allowance can be spent in days by watching IPTV - and I've not been able to find a network provider of "unlimited" broadband that'll do a static IP address in a "Market 1" area (that I want to do business with!).

    1. Trevor Marron

      If you have an Android device look up SammyGo Remote on Android Market, it allows you to use your device as a remote and has a keyboard option.

  19. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


    Buy big ass wide flat screen to watch crappy streamed youtubes on it???

    People are really stupid these days...

    Also, why would anyone want an expensive thing in their house be connected to internets?

    - to give the lazy manufacturer an excuse for selling stuff with half-baked firmware 'cos they can always fix it later (and break something else in the process), or

    - to make it easier for MPAA to remotely turn your viewing pleasure off when they detect you haven't yet bought the latest key gripp's recut gold-platinum-osmium ultimate edition sequel 86 to Jurassic Park 28?

  20. Timo

    doesn't match the expected product lifecycle

    I replace my TV's about every 10+ years. Partially because of cost, but mainly because TV's have never needed to be replaced more frequently.

    But with all this IPTV and Smart stuff it could mean swapping out the "Smart" parts to keep up with where the industry is going at any point in time, possibly yearly. Of course the TV vendors would want you to toss the whole thing but that isn't going to happen, thus this article appears here. I have no plans to replace my TV every year or two just to get "Smarter than the last Smart TV (tm)" bits.

    It is far better to have some general-purpose computer where the IPTV bits can be defined by software. Even the Xbox/PS3/Wii is a relatively general-purpose computer compared to the miniscule processor the TV vendors probably use. Worst case we pick up a new client device (Roku, WD TV Live) for $100 or less. I'd add that adding IPTV to the Xbox is nearly free as it is added on top of an existing machine for no new outlay. Certainly didn't cost me anything to add a Netflix channel on our Wii. A HTPC would be similar if not even more flexible.

    The Economist had an article recently about LCD TV's, where every vendor loses money on the panels, and the base TV models, so they have turned to these integrated "Smart TV's" to try to gain some margin leverage. But this isn't going to work for all the obvious reasons stated by all the posts here.

  21. Timo

    link to Economist article

    Cracking up:

    or maybe here

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Where does leave that wonderful vapourware product that may or may not ever arrive... YouView?

  23. John Tserkezis

    Agreed with other posters, plus:

    IPTV here in australia is still new, doesn't offer more than what you can get on free-to-air anyway, browsers in TVs have a tedious clunky interface, and support for AVI and other formats is strict and lacking.

    I know a LOT of people who are self-confessed non-technicals (and a few tech-heads too), and even they've worked out that a Playstation or Xbox attached to your TV offers a superior service. And that's not counting those who have full-blown PCs attached (as I do).

    Is there any wonder "Smart TV" demand hasn't picked up?

  24. Sporkinum

    I disliked the fact that you had to pay for Live Gold on the XBox360 to have some of the media features. Also, as an extender it didn't have support of all codecs nor would it let you watch videos from websites directly. I found out that I could buy a decent media center PC for not much used. I use that attached to my non-hd large screen TV I got for free from Craig's List. Since it is a PC, I can watch anything I want without issues. I may get to the point I want a higher quality screen, but I'll keep using the computer instead.

  25. Andy Hards

    Sounds like not many people are interested

    I managed to bag one for £350 in a Panasonic shop opening but to be honest I was just wanted a big screen (well 42") HD one to replace the massive old box that had been filling up half the room. The fact that it came with a bit of the internet was a sort of bonus ( the wifi adapter was extra and Panasonic wanted £70 for theirs) but I had to get a lead to connect it. Other than iPlayer, and Youtube we don't use any of the other bits. YouView will hopefully change that if it gets added but the Facebook and Twitter apps are not easy to use. I've read a lot of stuff lately about how it will revolutionize TV and I'll be able to Tweet and update Facebook while watching a show and talking to the web about it but unless you have a wireless keyboard you have to enter everything with you remote and frankly it's a lot easier to do with my phone or using the desktop so I really can't see that bit catching on. The NetFlix app (if it comes to Viera TVs) seems reasonable enough It has Ustream, DailyMotion, Screenrush, Viewster, PlayJam, Aupeo, Euronews and Eurosport but most of these need a subscription and I'm not paying extra to watch content of dubious worth when most of it can be found on Youtube. Skype needs yet another piece of kit fitted so I'll give that a miss too. Having Youtube on a big screen is sometimes usefull and iPlayer is great but as for the rest? My icon says enough.

    As someone else mentioned most people have all of these things already, this just brings a bit more convergence.

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