- Tech & Gadgets
- BRW. lounge
Published 17 August 2012 07:28, Updated 17 August 2012 16:14
Howzat ... The world might have moved on from Dennis Lillee’s on-field exploits but that doesn’t mean we’re ready to embrace the new generation of smart television sets.
I grew up in a house where the only TV we were allowed to watch was test cricket and David Attenborough documentaries. (I had more than one odd dream as a child of watching Dennis Lillee run across the Serengeti in his cricket whites through a pair of binoculars). In my dad’s world, ‘smart TV’ remains an oxymoron.
Not so for the rest of us. We heart smart TV. Just like we are seeing the laptop and increasingly the tablet make the desktop obsolete, the time is fast approaching when not having a TV with smart capabilities will be like having a black and white set with a coat-hanger aerial.
It seems however that the sales of smart TVs are still relatively modest, albeit building. I’ve read some projections that say by 2015, 70 per cent of all TVs in Australia will be smart TVs. However, some retailers report that the take-up of smart TVs has been limited by the fact they are complicated and difficult to install.
I have another theory about why smart TV take up isn’t booming, based on recent research we have conducted on technology use in the home. People are increasingly viewing made-for-TV content on laptops and computers (and not even turning the TV on) or merging the internet and TV on their own by creating DIY smart TVs with conventional sets and laptops. Who needs a new-fangled smart TV when, as one man put it, “most people hook up laptops to the TV themselves”? Of course in doing this the need for that expensive pay TV subscription is questioned. As another participant in our research put it, “We don’t have Foxtel anymore. We’ve plugged the laptop into the TV so we can watch shows we like”.
Of course the widespread use of smart TVs poses a huge challenge for TV advertising. Streaming online content through the TV or using smart capabilities to record and save TV content is a terrific way to avoid ads and create the kind of satisfying, uninterrupted viewing experience consumers are looking for. As one consumer put it: “I never watch [TV] live. I tape Australia’s Next Top Model, Home and Away and The Farmer Wants A Wife. And you can fast forward the ads. Awesome.”
We don’t have to wait for smart TVs to pop up in every home before we start to worry about the impact on TV advertising: that time has already arrived.