The Diffusion Group. By 2017, look for that number to triple.Household entertainment sources are entering a world of "always on" connectivity, as viewers drop traditional cable subscription models. Streaming channels and networks that are accessible on tablets, laptops, mobile devices and even desktop PCs, all within the same household, are becoming an increasingly common scenario. Increasingly, Smart TVs are integrating Internet services directly into the hardware, rather than relying on set-top boxes such as those provided by companies like Apple, Google and Roku.
This could have a strong impact on how we watch programming, how we buy over the Internet and the next steps in ecommerce.
Dramatic Rise of the Smart TVViewers started changing their cable TV watching habits in early 2011. By the end of that year, media industry watchgroup PaidContent.org reported that over a million individuals had cut the cord with cable and satellite TV providers in place of streaming services such as Netflix and using the Web as a primary source of entertainment.
The early set-top boxes included many features now present in smart TVs. Today, Slingbox and others advertise their devices on radio, the Internet and via mobile ads. Users are more open to adopting streaming technologies. Netflix and Hulu are seen as being among the pioneers of streaming media for the television and other screens. Though set-top boxes and smart TVs currently co-exist, it’s more apparent at 2012's end that these boxes will fall out of favor, as televisions are replaced during the regular shopping cycle and during major holiday sales events.
Embracing Ecommerce through the RemoteThe use of the Internet on a smart TV brings ecommerce to the living room. Shopping via TV is nothing new. Consumers have been buying products offered via late-night infomercials and home-shopping networks since the 1980s. They will have even more ability for online shopping through TV, as large brands will offer buying applications (along with the ability to access any website using the remote).
Three major models of income streams are expected to make up most of the low-hanging fruit for smart TV manufacturers, content providers and online businesses. These include:
- App sales
- Content revenue sharing
Fewer Ads, More MediaOne of the benefits to viewers for streaming TV is the noticeable lack of advertising content to support the programming. For years, consumers have gotten network TV for "free," supported by advertising. Cable TV introduced subscription services to viewers, and today, streaming TV viewers are willing to spend under $10 a month with services like Netflix for streaming content without ads.
Adding Value to the Living Room CenterpieceToday's manufactured smart TVs come packed with Web-enabled features that seem to do everything. They make even three-year-old TV models look antiquated by comparison. It's the same way that our smartphones make those old flip-top cell phones look like antiques as well.
Today's smart TVs have ...
- the ability to stream movies, music, and shows on demand
- specialized applications for entertainment and learning
- full integration with social networks like Facebook and Twitter to keep up with feeds
- the latest news, weather, and financial data
Entertainment Demands by the NumbersToday, nearly 900 million homes worldwide subscribe to pay-TV, according to eCommerce Times. Moving those subscribers to new streaming entertainment options is in the line of sight for manufacturers and programmers alike.
Consumers are already viewing content and shopping over the Web via their phones, tablets and computer screens—how quickly will they be wiling to upgrade their TV sets? That's a big question mark for those covering the industry.
Consumers have voiced their "must haves" about the needs and wants built into smart TVs, according to Statista.com. They include smart TV staples like Netflix, YouTube, Facebook, Amazon, Pandora and ESPN.
Applications for smart TVs reflect directly on the most popular websites on the Web. This makes it easy to understand how a smart TV may integrate into the household, because it would provide the same entertainment found through different platforms.
A Shift in StrategyThe introduction of smart television sets into the household and their dramatic adoption by consumers represents a new paradigm. Businesses will gain a new of opportunity to compete for consumer dollars without the traditional, obtrusive method of advertising and aggressive marketing. And consumers will be more in control of the messages they take in. No longer will commercials be blaring away in the background of a home.
Content becomes a vehicle for businesses to share their messages and deliver a higher level of satisfaction and value rather than disrupting the entertainment of its users. The non-passive ability to interact with TV programs, browse movie databases for information, and use applications turns the smart TV into a valuable commodity for both consumer and producer.
The trends and predictions show great favor in the adoption of these smart TVs. Look for 2013 to be a breakout year for the rise of smart TVs in the home, and the future of commerce taking a dramatic shift forward in the near future.
Murray Lunn is a freelance writer specialized in content marketing for online businesses; his work includes business blogging, product development, and brand development.