NPD: consumers find current ‘smart’ TVs a little too smart

By , Jan 1, 2013

apple tv

The year is now 2013, and according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, Apple is going to release a new television product in the next 6 months. Of course, you can’t always believe what analysts say. But you can’t always ignore them either.

The 20+ year senior researcher believes that Apple’s TV device will feature a completely rebuilt remote control and a UI that makes finding content a lot easier than current solutions. And judging by data from a new NPD survey, it would be a hit…

The Daily Mail (via MacRumors) points to a new report from the NPD, or National Purchase Diary, regarding consumer opinions of the latest “smart” TVs. And what they’ve found is that, well, these smart TVs may be too smart for their own good.

The biggest issue, according to the firm, is confusion among users. In their research, they found that very few “smart” TV owners are using their sets to do more than watch OTT (over the top) video. The extra apps just create a complex user experience.

The report is a major blow for manufacturers who have invested billions of dollars in making internet-connected TVs. And many of them are set to unveil new models at CES next week — including Samsung, who continues to tease its new set.

So what can they do? Well the NPD says that to counter this, OEMs need to focus less on new innovation — i.e. adding more apps and features — and more on the simplification of the user experience if they want to drive new behaviors to the TV.

That, I believe, is where Apple comes in. Think about the iPod. It wasn’t the first mp3 player on the market, but it was by far the most user-friendly. Then there was the iPhone in 2007, and the iPad in 2010. I think it could do the same thing for TVs.

And there’s a lot of evidence that it’s at least working on it. In 2011, Steve Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson that he had ‘cracked’ the code for television. And last month, Tim Cook said in an interview that TV was an “intense area of interest” for Apple.

I have to admit, as a connected TV owner, current smart TV offerings don’t interest me. But if Apple could come up with a way to blend Netflix, and other video streaming services, with iTunes and other apps in an elegant package, I’d definitely pay attention.

What are your thoughts on current smart TVs? Could Apple do it better?

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  • Jonathan

    the only problem with an Apple TV is how closed it will be. And TV is far from closed. It also varies quite a lot between countries. I really do not see Apple partnering with Sky in the UK so that I can watch Sky TV on my future Apple TV without changing remotes or inputs.

  • ExRoot

    I own an Apple TV and a Roku. The only reason I use the AppleTV is for airplay. . The Apple TV does not have much to offer. I will say that for some reason Roku does not offer YouTube but offers many more options then the Apple TV. I have friends who have new Samsung smart TV with all types of gadgets bells and whistles. They have no idea what the hell is going on and they are all fairly tech saavy. A set top box is all I need. Would ever pay an apple premium. My Samsung 50 inch is 5-6 years old and going strong. I Coukd care les about smart tvs.

    • Lordthree

      Jail Broken Apple TV does everything I need

    • Thorasgard

      I certainly would rather upgrade a $100 box than a $2500 tv to get the current sevices.

  • Lordthree

    Gene Munster is an idiot who only ever gets the obvious things right. This moron still believes Apple will make a panel TV rather than just a set top box even tho there are no margins.

  • Zach

    Smartphones were idiotic before the iphone, smart tv’s are idiotic now, and will be done properly by apple. Imagine apple TV as it is currently, but integrated with your cable, your blu-ray, and any other thing inputted into the tv. Imagine a TV with an OS that makes everything you use your tv for as one simple system. Apple will do it right.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001918313727 Alex Marques

    I hope that there is some way to ditch two separate remotes for the folks with Dish or DirecTV services, but still able to access both menus (The Provider’s and Apple’s) on one remote, while still being connected to everything else seamlessly

    • http://www.facebook.com/michael.kaldezar Michael Kaldezar

      There called universal remotes and have been around for years with varying degrees of success, personally use a Logitech Harmony which works pretty well but does not allow switching between say ATV and cable without first switching ATV off but at least you only use one remote and one button push!

  • wonderboydave

    All I want is pandora on my current apple tv. Is that too much to ask apple?

    • Thorasgard

      Yes. Yes it is. No money in offering Pandora. They want to offer their own service. Probably by the same team as iMaps and Ping.

  • http://twitter.com/lgasparjnr laszlo gaspar

    Apple could do exactly what they did with the iPad. They could change TV forever and other companies would quickly try to copy the design.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.m.simon Stephen Michael Simon

    I have a LG Smart Tv and for Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu it works better than my AppleTv ever did. In fact my ATV was slow compared to my tv. I will admit though that LG does have a pathetic App Store and is bloated with bs apps.