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'Connected TVs' Still Not Very Connected
Few Use Them For Anything Other Than Video
by Karl Bode 01:50PM Thursday Dec 27 2012
Owners of so-called "connected TVs" (usually with an Ethernet connection and over the top embedded video services) continue to avoid using the sets for anything other than watching television, according to new data from the NPD Group. According to a company blog post, just under 60% of Connected TV owners use the TV to watch embedded over the top TV options from the likes of Netflix or Hulu. Few if any Connected TV owners use the sets to videoconference, jump on the Internet or use social media websites like Twitter.

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According to the NPD Group, consumers are being bombarded with too many options when you factor in game consoles, stand alone video devices like Roku, smartphones, tablets and Blu-Ray Players. Those devices tend to see hardware and software revisions more frequently than televisions as well.

There's also the fact that the embedded software on many televisions simply isn't very good.

"OEMs and retailers need to focus less on new innovation in this space and more on simplification of the user experience and messaging if they want to drive additional, and new, behaviors on the TV," said NPD's John Buffone.

The firm seems to beat around the bush when it comes to the fact that many people simply want their television to act as a monitor, and don't feel the need for the TV itself to be particularly "smart" or "connected."

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topics flat nest 

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

I get Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime on my connected TV

I only use Netflix and Amazon Prime on my Vizio TV since I already have subscriptions to those services. But it works very well over 802.11n WiFi and I have 1 or 2 less remotes to deal with than if I was using a separate box to view the videos.

But I usually just watch regular Cable TV channels in Prime Time. I use Netflix or Amazon Prime off hours if nothing is on regular TV.

As for messaging or video conferencing, etc, I have an iPad and a Smartphone for those activities and wouldn't use a TV for those anyway. That way I can watch a show and use an iPad for messaging without interrupting the show I am watching.
--
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury.

cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7

Re: I get Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime on my connected TV

said by FFH5:

...1 or 2 less remotes to deal with than if I was using a separate box to view the videos.

They have this things called universal remotes now a days. It allows you to combine all your remotes into 1. Check it out sometime.

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: I get Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime on my connected TV

said by cdru:

said by FFH5:

...1 or 2 less remotes to deal with than if I was using a separate box to view the videos.

They have this things called universal remotes now a days. It allows you to combine all your remotes into 1. Check it out sometime.

And mostly they suck, are expensive, and don't do everything the native remotes do.
--
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury.

PWObserver

@qwest.net

I prefer dumb to smart

I own both an LG and Sony along with a Samsung Smart Home Theatre system. All three have "smart" somewhere in their description but all three have the same flaw - that the user somehow figure out how to sign in to online sites using a remote control and remember their passwords and how to enter them using a remote control for each connection. That simply sign-on is a tremendous hurdle using a remote.

All three have an additional design flaw, they rely on limited/crippled browsers, outdated codecs and make the experience of searching or viewing content painful. Just imagine what happens in 2013 when the MP5 codec starts to roll out... these smart devices still use out of date crippled/limited browsers that don't even support HTML5.

With the LG television they have Plex built in, at least with that option I can on a machine within my home set up a Plex server, add sites to view and these sites now show up through the Plex interface. Beats having to use built in browsers and the limitations imposed by entering data using a remote control. I can set up which sites, which favorites I like on the Plex server and the smart device now shows those within the Plex interface.

I also found a developer "hack" for the Samsung home theatre to add Plex and now use that as the sole interface on that device as well. Beats having to wade through the "smart" device interface in hopes of finding an "App" that will do what a normal browser on a computer would e.g. connect to any site, any content with precached user ids and passwords.

Smart devices are a catch phrase for being a store front, where those store interfaces try to upgrade users into their "cloud" to view content. Read the product descriptions carefully.... Don't be locked in to a brand, which then locks you into their cloud and limited offerings. Find a product that works more like a computer and lets the user decide which apps to use and what content to view.
JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5

Not so for me

I have a Panasonic Smart TV that is hooked to two things, my media center computer and an ethernet cable. I use the media center computer to watch any video files I have locally on my file server and browse the internet. I tried DLNA on the TV and didn't like it.

I DO however use the TV for Netflix (also has support for Hulu, Amazon, Pandora, Napster, Facebook, and maybe Twitter). I did set it up for Facebook but after having to reconfigure it every so often I gave up. Besides I can use my phone for Facebook.

I'm curious though, out of their list, I see a lot of things that simply can't be done on a TV by itself. A TV with a computer attached sure, but I've rarely if ever seen a browser on a TV app list, and most don't have a built-in camera so how can I use it for video calling?

bobjohnson
Premium
join:2007-02-03
Orlando, FL
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·T-Mobile US

Re: Not so for me

said by JoelC707:

I have a Panasonic Smart TV that is hooked to two things, my media center computer and an ethernet cable. I use the media center computer to watch any video files I have locally on my file server and browse the internet. I tried DLNA on the TV and didn't like it.

I DO however use the TV for Netflix (also has support for Hulu, Amazon, Pandora, Napster, Facebook, and maybe Twitter). I did set it up for Facebook but after having to reconfigure it every so often I gave up. Besides I can use my phone for Facebook.

I'm curious though, out of their list, I see a lot of things that simply can't be done on a TV by itself. A TV with a computer attached sure, but I've rarely if ever seen a browser on a TV app list, and most don't have a built-in camera so how can I use it for video calling?

I have a Samsung LED that has the smart hub, etc in it. Never have connected it to WiFi and probably won't. It has a USB port for webcams and such. When I bought it they had a couple with the mic and camera built in... I still use my old HP with Win XP media center with HDMI. That's smart enough for me.
--

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5

Re: Not so for me

Now that you mention it, mine has USB ports too. I know there's a USB wifi adapter for it and I believe you can plug in flash drives for pictures/music/video. It makes sense you could attach a webcam or something too.

bobjohnson
Premium
join:2007-02-03
Orlando, FL

Re: Not so for me

I don't know about your model tv but mine has WiFi built in and Samsung makes a Skype camera for it. I suppose it could be useful but my laptop or phone seems like a better option for all these things..
JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5

Re: Not so for me

It's a TC-P42X3 42" Plasma. No built-in wifi but does support it. I searched for the model + camera and didn't see anything specific but I'm not so sure I'd want it anyway. That TV is facing my bed so I have no real need to do Skype or anything like that from my bed LOL.

jeffro

join:2007-04-20
Bay City, MI

Too slow

In my case, I bought a connected TV in 2009 and it has the apps and whatnot and I used them once to see what they were all about. That was in 2009. I haven't used them since and it's because the TV is too damn slow responding to inputs and loading things. It isn't worth it when I can fire up my PS3 or 360 or Roku is a matter of seconds. The idea was good but I agree with the Karl when he says there are too many other option for watching things from the internet and much faster.

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT

Re: Too slow

TV's and processors have also gotten faster. The other option is allowing third party firmware if they can't keep it updated. The 42" TV on the main floor (Panasonic Plasma) runs FreeBSD, so I wonder what other things I can make it do.

Give it time. One option I'd like is a scratch-proof touchscreen. That way I have full control at the TV instead of looking for that damn remote.

antdude
A Ninja Ant
Premium,VIP
join:2001-03-25
United State
kudos:5

Still using a Sharp 20" CRT TV.

From January 1996. It works fine for me. I even have my HTPC hooked to it for fullscreen videos. :P

NotTheMama
What Would Earl Do?

join:2012-12-06

Re: Still using a Sharp 20" CRT TV.

said by antdude:

...for fullscreen videos. :P

Ahhh, so that's where the Starz movie catalog went.
--
"...but ya doesn't hasta call me Johnson!"

antdude
A Ninja Ant
Premium,VIP
join:2001-03-25
United State
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

Re: Still using a Sharp 20" CRT TV.

said by NotTheMama:

said by antdude:

...for fullscreen videos. :P

Ahhh, so that's where the Starz movie catalog went.

Uh, I don't get it? I don't watch stuff from Starz though.

NotTheMama
What Would Earl Do?

join:2012-12-06

Re: Still using a Sharp 20" CRT TV.

Much, if not most, of the Starz [catalog] content from Netflix (back when they had Starz content) was full-screen instead of wide-screen. (My 1988 20" Sony Trinitron is still going strong by the way. )
--
"...but ya doesn't hasta call me Johnson!"

antdude
A Ninja Ant
Premium,VIP
join:2001-03-25
United State
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

Re: Still using a Sharp 20" CRT TV.

said by NotTheMama:

Much, if not most, of the Starz [catalog] content from Netflix (back when they had Starz content) was full-screen instead of wide-screen. (My 1988 20" Sony Trinitron is still going strong by the way. )

Ahh! What did they have? Nice, your 1988 CRT TV. They are like tanks.
15444104
Premium
join:2012-06-11
But don't you want new, better, faster?

I mean sure it is more complicated to use, more prone to failure, and more expensive (much more expensive) but you need to be a
"better consumer".

j/k

Our society has become so addicted to consumerism that most people only focus on the next new piece of Chinesium junk that are going to get.

antdude
A Ninja Ant
Premium,VIP
join:2001-03-25
United State
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

1 edit

Re: Still using a Sharp 20" CRT TV.

said by 15444104:

But don't you want new, better, faster?

I mean sure it is more complicated to use, more prone to failure, and more expensive (much more expensive) but you need to be a
"better consumer".

j/k

Our society has become so addicted to consumerism that most people only focus on the next new piece of Chinesium junk that are going to get.

Nah, I will replace it when my CRT TV bites the dust or I move (too heavy and big). I don't even use it that much. Why replace/upgrade when the old stuff still works fine? I don't want or need the latest stuff yet. Also, I like things to be stable and cheap when I really need them. I still use and wear an analog bone conduction hearing aid model from 1994 (don't want digital since they require implants -- ugh!), Casio Data Bank calculator watch, VGA + PS/2 optical mice and keyboards, analog 2.1 speakers (can't even hear stereo, but

Oh and save money and room.

NotTheMama
What Would Earl Do?

join:2012-12-06

Shame on me...

using a TV for those things for which a TV was designed (turn it on, sit back in the easy-chair, and relax... no "engagement" please).
--
"...but ya doesn't hasta call me Johnson!"
big_e

join:2011-03-05

2 recommendations

The right tool for the job

Using an internet enabled TV for browsing the web is like using a chisel in place of a screwdriver. It might work for some purposes, but not very well, nor very ergonomically. For tasks such as reading people simply prefer the display a few feet away from their faces, not 10 feet way as the case with a TV. People also like good input devices, not cheaply built IR remotes/keyboards. Lastly, why would people use their TV to send twitter messages when they already carry a smartphone that is more capable of performing the same task.

tschmidt
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-12
Milford, NH
kudos:9
Reviews:
·Hollis Hosting
·G4 Communications

Re: The right tool for the job

That is what I though reading the headline - what else would you use a TV for then watching stuff. We used a WD TV live hub to provide Internet access to our Sony TV. Pretty much limited to Netflix and the occasional video from one of the PC attached to the LAN.

/tom
Needleinthha

join:2009-11-30

no thanks

The problem is the quality of the software is usually subpar...doesnt play everything or is clunky or outdated...I don't want a tv that does anything but a dumb tv.....Do you really think in 5 years the "smart" features will still be compatible? probably not...I'd rather get a dumb tv and a roku (on sale for 39 bucks way cheaper than the extra 100-200 youre paying for smart tv) or hookup to my media center or laptop....
Am i the only one with zero interest in my tv having smart features?
Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey

I have a smart TV

I use it to stream movies from my Windows desktop system. I also use it to watch TV and DVDs.
elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY

Its all a waste

Technology changes so fast, and these "apps" are free so TV companies are worried about margin, so they just let the apps dies or stay out of date. The "android" problem.

They would be better served if they have a plug in processor (coming) and that way one can pay for software and the hardware is updated as the options become more rich.

The whole AppleTV thingy is the same. If you can buy an ATV for $99, why would you want a non-changeable one built into the TV?

My last Roku was $50, and it gets updated regularly by the app developers, so if I replace my TV I just plug it in and go. No playing w/ a new user interface and spending 1 hour getting passwords entered.

In fact entering authentication is the #########1 problem for all of this crap.

Also my Samsung TV wouldn't work properly HDMI-CEC to send the signal back to my receiver (known Denon bug), so check another issue to useless DRM and I'm not going to watch a movie through sickly speakers. I could have spent $50 to get a monoprice HDMI switch to strip out the DRM, but at that point, enter Roku.

There is a reason on computers they are monitors and cheap, because the brains come elsewhere but you pay $$$ for the quality you are looking for.

Factor in Airplay and Miracast, and now the smarts are in a tablet or a stick. Even more useless to have a smart TV.

djrobx
Premium
join:2000-05-31
Valencia, CA
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VOIPO

Re: Its all a waste

The features I'd like to see in a TV are:

1) Airplay (with video support). Because I don't want to futz with inputs to get to a device that supports it when I click the button on my phone.

2) WORKING, reliable, and fast HDMI HDCP handshaking. Seriously, who designed this standard? It seems like every manufacturer has trouble getting this right. This includes HDMI Control and other features designed to eliminate the need to have all of my gear in the line of sight of my remote.

3) RVU client - give me the ability to have a full featured "cable box" with nothing more than a coax cable hooked to the TV, and the actual cable box hidden away somewhere.

4) Full Surround sound speaker outputs. Most people use powered subwoofers, so you really don't need a high wattage amplifier built in. It would be nice to do away with the AVR, since most TVs already have input switching features.

I think "smarts" are best left to external devices that can be upgraded/changed out at low cost. We just need the connectivity options that allow seamless integration to work as designed. HDMI supports ethernet, IR control, sending audio back to a receiver, etc.

--
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Rethink Billable.
Expand your moderator at work

jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI

We're Currently Connected, But...

We're using our TV and Blu-ray player for the usual stuff, plus Netflix, occasionally Youtube, a DLNA client (pictures stashed on the server) and, rarely, some other digital content, but...

Something like Gracenote’s Ad Replacement System That Personalizes TV Commercials Will Start Trials In 2013 could change that real fast. I'm not going to have my entertainment devices reporting my viewing activity back to a variety of snoopers, just to "serve" me targeted adverts I don't want in the first place. About the time they start doing that will be the time the TV is blocked at the border router.

Jim

IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast

That is what cable set-top boxes are for

All you need to feed a TV with programming is a cable/satellite subscription and a DVR (either issued by the service provider or a TiVo). No caps or connectivity issues whatsoever. One of the issues I find with streaming services is lag and rebuffering.

I am not a big fan of Netflix, I had it a while back and rarely used it. My programming preferences are mostly live TV (Fox News, Weather Channel, local evening news) and various TV shows (like Cops, Wheel of Fortune/Jeopardy, Jersey Shore, and some trash TV like Maury Povich/Jerry Springer, and Steve Wilkos). Those talk shows are so trashy that they are funny (people telling the world about their personal problems, such as they don't know who the baby daddy is or that a guy that has been married 30 years tells the wife on their anniversary while on Jerry Springer that he was cheating on her the whole time). If I was involved in a paternity dispute, I would like it to remain private (in other words, I would not want to go on national television with such a private and confidential issue).

Right now the TV is tuned on the Weather Channel with the winter storm outside.

At night, I tune the TV to a music channel (music choice) to drown out the noises from the outside at night (car accidents, fire trucks, etc).

If I want to watch a movie, I have Xfinity OnDemand or my DVD/Blu-Ray collection. You can also check movies out (free of charge) from the local public library (they do charge late fees called library fines). You pay for the libraries and their content through your local property taxes and you don't have issues with copyright. I think the copyright laws have exemptions for public libraries.

tshirt
Premium
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Comcast

Sony tv's

we have
-Watched TV
-watched streaming videos (hulu Netflix and a few direct channel/comcast on demand (which really uses the slightly smarter STB))
- some YouTube (login and search are very awkward so it mostly one of us find a HD video or series and fav's it to show others)
Some personal family photos/ video either DVD's or over the network (also somewhat awkward)

of course some of the listed activities surveyed seem not TV useful
ie MAPS - a globe/atlas/laptop makes more sense to track down story locations, and to get direction you really want something mobile (GPS, cell phone table,even a printed out map) because you won't have the big screen with you.
and a few need more horsepower and less about the big screen.
Hanko

join:2001-12-28
Eatonville, WA

Re: Sony tv's

I have a Visio TV with built in apps. I hardly use any of them except for Netflix. I bought it thinking that since it is capable of playing videos from the USB ports it would play from my shared network files. That does not work. I bought the WD TV Live+ and it does all of what I want and more. Just a small box that sets above my Home Theater Amp and does it all. I have yet to find a video it will not play.

I bought 3 and put one with each TV in the house. You can connect USB drives to them and share them throughout the house. Works great.
Happydude32
Premium
join:2005-07-16
kudos:1
I love the idea of smart TVs and such but, I very rarely ever use any of the connected features. I subscribe to these two services, one is called Time Warner Cable and the other is called DirecTV and I get all the content I could ever desire and then some. I have a Sony TV, Sony Blu Ray Player and Sony Home Theater Receiver, in addition to an XBox 360 and PS3 all which are internet enabled and run tons of apps. I use my TV as a monitor, my Home Theater receiver controls all the functionality of my set up. Pretty much all of the devices have YouTube, yes that’s exactly what I want to see on a 55” high end TV, shitty low rez video. Netflix, pure garbage that lacks content and what little they do have is stale. Pandora, the sound quality could be better and I just don’t like the service that much. The only thing I ever really explorer is Sony’s own app that has streaming 3D content, which is surprisingly pretty good. Other than setting them up, I never used HBO Go, Max Go or ESPN 3.

The main advantage of these connected devices to me personally is their DLNA capability. I haven’t bothered to reinstall the software on my PC for the Home Theater Receiver so when I want to listen to my personal music collection over the 7.1 system I just wirelessly stream my music from my Walkman MP3 Player. I also like being able to share out pictures and video that I took with my phone and show them on the big screen. Due to needing an additional HDMI port I had to replace the 2010 model HT Receiver with the 2012 model, the 2010 Sony ES receivers came with Shoutcast Radio built in, which was great. I used to stream that all the time. For some reason Sony removed Shoutcast. That was the only other connected feature that I used quite frequently. The Map app feature on Sony TVs is pretty cool actually. When you view photos or video you took, a small window with Google Maps in it will show the location of where you were when you took that picture/video.
--
iPhone: 4” 1136 X 640 Display, 1.30 GHz Dual Core Processor, 1 GB RAM
MyPhone: 5” 1920 X 1080 Display, 1.50 GHz Quad Core Processor, 2 GB RAM
So tell me, why is exactly is the iPhone so great?
Droid Does What Jobs Won’t Let You Do.

timcuth
Braves Fan
Premium
join:2000-09-18
Pelham, AL
Reviews:
·Charter
·AT&T Southeast

Our use...

My son has an LG Smart TV and I have a Samsung Smart Bluray Player. My son rarely uses the TV's connectivity and I don't even have the Bluray player on the network.

Oddly, my son asked for an AppleTV for Christmas. And he does use it some to interface with his iPhone and his Macbook Pro. But he uses it mostly for video content. Just like the article says.

Tim
--
"Life is like this long line, except at the end there ain't no merry-go-round." - Arthur on The King of Queens
~ Project Hope ~
TheMG
Premium
join:2007-09-04
Canada
kudos:3

1 recommendation

HTPC

Dumb TV + HTPC

That is all I need. The HTPC does absolutely everything, and is far more flexible and powerful than any smart TV.

Derwood
Wherever you go, there you are
Premium
join:2003-01-21
Dayton, OH

1 recommendation

Re: HTPC

Right on.. I've got 3 TVs from 10 years to 2 years old.. Each one has a HTPC running XBMC.

TV manufacturers should start looking into putting XBMC on. That way they wouldn't come up with crappy solutions that don't work

antdude
A Ninja Ant
Premium,VIP
join:2001-03-25
United State
kudos:5

Wired News too!

»www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/12/···v-sucks/
BoulderHill1

join:2004-07-15
Montgomery, IL
Reviews:
·AT&T DSL Service

why a smart tv?

I'm kinda with theMG here.

The TV for me is basically just a monitor.

It only needs one HDMI input.

Also one set of component and composite inputs.

The A/V receiver is going to handle all the source switching and provide the sound amplification for the surround.

And since I use OTA (no cable, dish or other type pay TV sewrvice) I just rely on the TV's own digital tuner to get great HD content.

I can just turn on the TV to "watch TV" or if I want I can power up the A/V unit and bluray, DVD, ROKU or other device for additional content and experience.

No need for the TV to be "smart" when the user is.

ccallana
Huh?
Premium,VIP
join:2000-08-03
Folsom, CA

Tablet

I keep wondering why Samsung or the like don't just take the guts from an Android tablet, and stick it in the back of a TV. You get an interface that people are used to and apps aplenty to do everything.

Just need a decent way to control it, as I doubt people will stand up next to their 60" LCD and use 10 point touch
--
"We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us.... We are far too easily pleased." C.S. Lewis