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back to article Brits turned off by Smart TVs

Brits may not be as keen on internet-connected tellies as previously thought. A new survey conducted by pollster YouGov shows we own fewer Smart TVs than folk in other major European economies do. We're more attracted to new telly tech than the Americans are, though. According to YouGov, more than half of Brits (52 per cent) …

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pig

Want dumber, not smarter

I would like a new TV. I want it to be HD and 3D and have a few HDMI sockets.

That is about it.

I don't need any tuner, any internet connection or anything labelled "smart"

(Is such a TV even on the market?)

We can currently access iPlayer (etc...) through the cable box, and also through the PS3 if we wanted. And of course we can also access such service on our pc, or the laptop, or our smartphones if we wanted to.

Adding access to such services on the TV itself is probably the worst place to put them. If standards change then it is easier to change a box then the entire TV. I get the feeling TV companies are trying to push "smart" TV's as adding the pas is very cheap and they feel they can use it to puff up the product and make better margins.

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Hell YES!

I can see the point of those features where the TV is all you have, ie no set top box, dvd/ bluray / consoles/ home cinema amp, but that is it.

I agree I want my TV to just be a dumb monitor on to the rest of my kit. I don't really even want speakers on to it, to be honest.

And I'm definitely not fussed about it being 3D, that's a huge fad it you ask me.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Smart TV is a straight-jacket

Who wants the crippled access offered by Smart TV sets? The functionality offered is a tiny subset of what is available using a dedicated open box such as a nettop.

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Megaphone

"smart" TVs

I'd agree with that. I have a Sony "Smart TV". It even has a DLNA certificate (don't get me started!).

It can play MPEG2 files (usually). However it doesn't work with the DLNA server built into windows or my NAS (but it does work with the PS media server app; but that won't stream to non Sony things). It won't even play the MPEG2 TS files that are EXACTLY THE BLOODY same as the freeview signal that it gets through the aerial!

It can play things from (some) USB sticks, and Sony only rates it to work with SONY USB sticks; have one from someone else and no support! Oh, and it only plays (some) MPEG2, MP3 and (some) JPEGs.

It won't touch anything else with a barge pole, so when I bought my latest TV, I went for the cheaper option which is just a nice big plasma screen with HDMI inputs.

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Re: "smart" TVs

I've got one of those Sonys as well. Drives me up the wall with what it can and can't do (the not playing Apple lossless files being one of the current bugbears). Although it does actually play nicely with my NAS (Seagate GoFlex), which still startles me.

But if you asked my husband whether we had a "smart TV" or not, he'd be completely flummoxed and probably say no, despite the fact that he was rootling through YouTube on it a couple of nights ago . . .

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Anonymous Coward

Not just Sony

I have a Samsung TV, and it's the same way. DLNA should stand for "Doesn't Like Nearly Anything" - pretty much unless you are running the streaming software that your TV vendor supplied, you won't like the results.

Give me a TV that does the basics: show pixels, tune TV channels, and let all the other stuff be handled by an external box. That way, when a new browser standard comes out, a new media format comes out, etc., I can update a cheap external box.

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FAIL

In my experience, DLNA is useless

Neither the Samsung software nor Windows' own media server functionality enable my TV to display or search a track list. All that happens is that the TV hangs for about 5 minutes before giving an uninformative error message and giving up. I have a relatively modest music collection of around 8000 tracks.

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Pint

@BristolBachelor

Thanks for that info. I was thinking of purchasing one but you've confirmed my worst fears and realise it would be a bad move. Anything that doesn't support open standards and protocols is just a total liabilty... think I'll go for a standard TV and stick to hooking up HDMI cables to my media player of choice instead.

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Holmes

@David D. Hagood

You should try Serviio for DLNA - it's free(!) and works a treat with my Samsung 37" TV (which is about a year old). I've hardly found any types of encoded video that it doesn't like (although uncleaned .TS (mpeg) files really give it a headache). Most h.264 stuff plays great too (generally speaking if a h264 file won't play, or doesn't appear in the file list, I rename it to MP4 and it plays fine).

I'm surprised you've had problems with your Samsung playing DLNA - although I've always used Serviio I've hardly had any issues with it.

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Chz

My Samsung has no problem playing anything I stream to it. I don't even use my PC for streaming, just a lowly ARM-powered NAS running Serviio. I'd highly recommend giving Serviio a try if your TV isn't playing everything you want it to. Usual caveats apply - You need a Samsung B-class or newer (C and D are best), you don't get embedded subs in MKVs and you can't play a straight ISO. This applies to pretty much everything over DLNA though.

Personally, I'd been waiting years for a telly to do all this and I embrace it with open arms. iPlayer built in was just a bonus. The problem is that people need to consider the whole picture - it's not just buying a telly now. Have you got a NAS? Is there a wired network nearby? If you're on Sky or Virigin it's easier to use their streaming services (I'm Freeview only), etc, etc...

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Re Samsung Tv

I too have a Samsung TV, and DNLA works with my Nokia N8 and also with both XBMC and TVMOBiLi on my Linux box. The internet side of it is crap though, I don't understand why they don't include a web browser.

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FAIL

"DLNA should stand for Doesn't Like Nearly Anything"

I have a Samsung TV, and have no problem whatsoever playing back AVIs, MP3s, MP4s and MKVs using DLNA. Perhaps it should stand for "David Lacks Nous, Apparently"?

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It might be nice to have these things built into the television, if the UI is nice and it works well (I've never used a Smart TV, but my experience with TVs in general is that the UIs are not as pleasant as I would get on a games console, etc), but I already have a computer and a games console connected to the TV that access these services and others, so it's not essential.

If I buy a new TV, I'll be looking for something with a good screen on the front and plenty of ports on the back at the best price. If it happens to come with other features and they don't bump the price up too much, then great. Otherwise I'll live without.

Also, the TV I have has a good screen on the front and plenty of ports on the back, so I won't be in the market for a new one until it breaks.

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Replacement cycles

> we own fewer Smart TVs than folk in other major European economies

Presumably a lot of brits bought "high definition" or at least HD-ready tellies for the last time a british sports team got somewhere close to a final (wasn't there some sort of football thing a few years ago?). If so, they're not really going to upgrade the box they bought then. Not until someone throws a games controller at the screen or the CCFLs finally die and the repair costs exceed the replacement price.

Plus, we shouldn't forget that a great deal of the content on TV today is either repeats of old, old stuff, or daft reality/talent shows - for which internet connectivity or even HD is irrelevant. Added to which, there's always the disincentive with all things televisual that the box will turn out to be smarter than its owner. Maybe a rename from "smart TV" is in order?

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Can't say I'm suprised.

For those who do know what they're looking at, the features on TV sets are fairly lame at best, even when compared to something like game consoles. When you're looking at media gate boxes, the gap is even further, and for those of us with full blown PCs in there, there is no competition.

Mind you, I'm in Oz, so considering there are a whole heap of older people who don't even have the Internet at their place, certainly aren't going to want it on their bloody TV.

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no choice

This summer I bought a new Panasonic plasma. I wanted the best picture I could afford. Now that also meant the TV I ended up with is 3D and "smart" (Panasonic's "VieraCast"). Nice gadgets perhaps, but hardly a reason to choose this TV over another and it's not like I could have bought the same TV with the same picture quality without these features.

Yes iPlayer works very well on the TV but it's pretty much the only app I have used on there, and pretty rarely at that. The whole Smart TV menu system is slow, scrolling to the next page of apps is slow, typing in program names in iPlayer is slow. It's very fustrating. It's far easier and quicker to find the weather or do your facebook or catch up with iPlayer on your PC than it is on the TV. Being able to stream media from your PC/network is far more useful than having apps.

So I wouldn't chose to pay extra to have these features on a Smart TV, they just come with the higher end models already.

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Anonymous Coward

A smart TV, in my eyes, allows you full PC functionality on your telly.

Of course you dont really need to buy a smart TV, just a DVI to HDMI lead.

Then you can do far more than just watch catch up telly!

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FAIL

I've already got a smart TV.

Its called a computer.

Sorry , but these TVs (and the latest net enabled blue ray players) really are a solution looking for a problem. Anyone who wants to access internet media will already have a computer and the ones who don't won't be interested in what this TV has to offer.

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I think it's correct

I can't be the only one who hates interactive TV. The BBC is already trying my patience, with 'Press RED' . Every $%#@ time news or sport is shown, you have to press Green to remove it.

"Hey BBC, we get it. You have shit on the RED button. No need to shove it down our throats." We managed to know the TEXT button existed without the constant barrage.

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>We managed to know the TEXT button existed without the constant barrage.

You know, that's a /really/ good point.

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Megaphone

Totally agreed, but not just with the BBC. Those that have used satellite TV will already be familiar with the whole business with red buttons and so forth. It seems that the TV industry has taken the lowest common denominator and assumed that we is all dumb.

I don't watch a lot of TV anymore as a result.

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Meh

Depends how smart

It depends how "smart" the TV is.

If it shows the entire C4 back catalogue, like the 4oD website does, then gimme. It's a mine of awesome comedy shows.

If it just shows a selection from the last few weeks, like my PS3 already does, then don't bother. I don't need to pay good money for another crippled piece of tech.

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Anonymous Coward

iPlayer on your TV

I suspect you are indeed correct - they phrased the question wrong. iPlayer on a TV is bloody brilliant. The kids now know that they can get Horrible Histories anytime they like which stops tears at bathtime. Thank you Sony!

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Not fussed

Totally not bothered if the TV has it built in or not.. I'd much rather read something like twitter on my phone/laptop instead of it being overlaid on the TV picture. Then if it's something like LoveFilm/Netflix, I'd rather it was in a cheaper external box which sees some firmware updates, rather than TVs which hardly ever get any updates. When it has built-in media playback it usually doesn't cover of the video/audio codecs I want, and then never sees an update to enable more in the future.

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Meh

Manufacturers

I like the idea of a Smart TV but have so little faith in the TV manufacturers being able to create a usable and updatable OS/UI for it all that at the moment I'm very "meh" about it. I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to get a Smart one over a Dumb one.

I had high hopes for GoogleTV but they seem to have been unfounded as they've been slow to roll out over here and pretty crippled functionally until recently (no Market? Seriously?). And I'd prefer it built into the TV, not as *another* set-top box, but it seems there won't be many options available.

No, I think I'll wait and see what happens.

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I think you hit the nail on the head about the quality of advertising; none of the Samsung or Sony ads (I can't even remember any from LG) do a great job of explaining what a smart TV actually is.

The first time I mentioned on Facebook that I was accessing from my TV (a Samsung), I got lots of people asking about it; completely unaware the option existed, so the ads look like they're not resonating (for the record Facebook on a smart TV isn't a great usability experience - and Samsung are incredibly poor at upselling tools and services they actually have for making the experience better, like their smartphone remote control apps etc.)

I think positive word-of-mouth may be their best marketing tool at the moment, I absolutely love my Smart TV.

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Quite right

I am not in the slightest interested in a smart TV that has Samsung or Sony choosing my programmes for me.

It is none of the set makers business to be involved in supplying the programmes. That way lies conflict of interest, closed markets, cartels, and all manner of consumer abuse.

Mr Vauxhall and Mr Shell do not tell me where I can drive my car, after all. And if they did, well buggerem.

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FAIL

Smart TV == Big Brother

Once you connect your TV to the Interweb BB (aka the media companies) can via some underhand collusion with the set makers see exactly what you are viewing.

Then a little while later a huge bill will drop onto your doormat for all those pirated movies we are continually watching. After all in the view of the RIAA, MPAA and their UK buddies, we are all priating everything that hollywood releases and we should pay heavily for it.

Then again we are so cash strapped here in Blighty at the moment spending 'loads-of-money' on a new TV is not exactly high on the list of must haves is it?

Fail for obvious reasons.

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Silver badge

Not wanted here

I have loads of ways to get on the interenet. If my TV offers me net access, but then only shows me a tiny part of it I shall regard it as broken.

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Despair of Meerkats

Attempt to watch an episode of The Gadget Show (I know...) on Demand 5 (at least on the Sony Portal) and you get the same bunch of animated meerkat toys in exactly the same commercial before the start of the programme and then at 15 minute intervals thereafter. And again in every bloody episode of everything that follows.

Anyone who might have thought Smart TV was a good idea will by now have slit their wrists.

Which will at least spare them the horror of trying to negotiate the iPlayer interface with a remote control.

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Meh

I've only used 4OD and the ITVPlayer on a PC

but for some reason I always found the ads loaded far faster than the content I was trying to watch. On Seesaw, though, unlike 4OD if they couldn't sell ads they didn't put them in, whereas Channel 4 stuffed in its own annoying trailers. Sadly I didn't catch up with Sean's Show on Seesaw before it disappeared.

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Big Brother

A smart TV, huh?

Maybe LIKE THIS: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Twonky

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Anonymous Coward

No, more like this

No, that is what the TV and media companies want you to have.

I want more like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Logic_Named_Joe

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Cost?

The survey is meaningless unless it told the punters how much extra they'd have to pay for a "Smart TV". I imagine that if the don't-knows were left to guess, they'd think a few hundred quid (cost of a Smartphone compared to a twenty-quid dumb one).

The other big issue is the UI. If the "Smart" bit means that you have to work through heaps of menus before you can get to watch BBC1, that'll lose you a lot of sales to houses where one of the TV-viewers is a granny. Translation: can't read the labels on the remote control at all, has difficulty reading text on the screen, and doesn't understand the concept of navigating menus with four directions and an OK button.

In a sane world there would be an internet standard for TV control functions exported to the LAN, and then you could write or buy an applet of your own choice to steer any compliant TV, PVR etc. from your tablet or smartphone. It might even accelerate sales of tablets, if one of those apps was "Grannyvision". OK, not that name, but a UI designed for the visually-impaired who aren't too good at learning new tricks at their age. Won't ever happen.

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Linux

Yes.The question of cost...

The last smart TV I bought came at a price premium high enough to pay for an HTPC and it's features were inferior to an AppleTV or a Roku. You could have saved money and gotten a better result just by buying a normal TV and a decent appliance.

My current main TV has lasted through 2 generations AppleTV gear. Why be stuck in the past with an older "smart TV" that will likely get desupported to encourage you to buy a new TV?

Those that know, know better. Those that don't know, probably don't get the point at all.

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I have 'Smart TV', tried the built-in apps, they all suck, UI is sluggish, access to services too, relult? - disconnected TV from net. I use PS3 or Plex on MacBook - both are connected to my TV, both have UI miles better than any of the Smart TVs. All I want is really good display with excellent calibration options (separate R G B controls). The only problem is that if you want this much control you're forced to buy a Smart TV.

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As you say, a lot of other devices do this already.

And I think that any of us who want to watch youtube or iplayer or whatever via our TVs already have a device plugged into it that allows us to do so.

Currently connected to my TV I have

DVD player

Tivo

XBox 360

Mac Mini configured as a "media centre".

The bottom 3 all allow me to go online to all these various services. I think that anyone who cares about advanced TV services will have at least one of those 3 (or their equivalents) already. Frankly, I'd rather buy a TV that had a few less "smart TV features" and a few more HDMI ports.

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Not Smart Enough

To be any use, these so-called Smart TVs would have to have Wi-Fi built in and a proper web browser with Flash. Then they would be worth the money. It's hard to understand why the makers don't realise this.

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Pint

It would be "smart" if...

The little Smart Box could be inserted into a little compartment in the back of the set, to enable it being easily replaced with a new version when it becomes essentially obsolete in 18 months.

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Boffin

Hardware replacement?

Hi JeffyPooh, welcome to the 21st century.

Most of these smart TV apps can (of course) be updated over-the-air.

Whether the manufacturers continue to support them is a different matter (last year's Samsungs not likely to ever get updated as far as I can tell). At any rate it's likelier than a hardware replacement, and as a solution is easier for the user, cheaper and quicker.

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Silver badge

I think you're missing the point

If you could upgrade the box in 18 months, then you won't be buying a whole new TV every 18 months. How are the CEOs of the TV manufacturers supposed to finance their bonuses if people start buying things only when they need them?

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Meh

Remote!

I have iPlayer on my Sony Blu-Ray player. It works well enough, but it's a bit of a faff to start it, pressing ok multiple times, and searching for stuff using a standard remote is a chore. It has other stuff, but I'm not bothered about being able to watch Youtube on a TV, especially when searching for anything is such a chore.

7/10. Must try harder

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Don't need one.

I have a 3-year-old Panasonic plasma with a PC with HDMI out (and a Keysonic wireless keyboard with integrated trackpad). Far smarter than any smart TV out there.

But if I were to buy a new TV it would have had to have all the money spent on getting the best picture it can. No 3D, no 'net access, no media streaming. Just a very, very good monitor really. My Denon amp and Mordaunt-Short 6.1 supplies the sound so it wouldn't even need a volume control.

These days TVs are getting more and more like the integrated stereo systems of old and it'll get to the point where they do everything with mediocrity but nothing with brilliance.

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Windows

So you could just buy a monitor then? Unless, of course, you can find a TV with a better picture in which case you'll just have to live with the features that 99.9% of the population consider essential (e.g., speakers).

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If you can find me a 50" plasma monitor (none of that LCD/LED rubbish for me) at a TV price I'd be more than happy.

I only watch blu-rays, occasional DVDs and HD-DVDs, downloaded TV shows in hi-def and MKVs. That's it. Broadcast TV is so shite these days it really isn't worth the expense of putting a tuner in a TV.

Gimme a hi-quality screen where the usual expense of all the fripperies is spent on the plasma panel and its associated electronics and I'd be a happy man

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Facepalm

question they should have asked

Is how many smart tv users use the features regularly. I would estimate a very small%. Just bought a new Samsung super thin tv, tried the smart tv bit once and never used it again. Now that's not to say the companies shouldn't keep on trying to better integrate the web with tv. Whilst it remains a dedicated section on the remote and not overlaid on the image you just forget you bought the smart bit.

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Anonymous Coward

A lot of uninformed nerd rage here

Seems that there are a lot of nerds that don't understand why anyone would want to watch online services on a TV when they could just plug in a computer and do the same thing and much more.

I suggest that these people try teaching a 6 year old who already can use a remote control to operate said computer, fire up a web browser and navigate to the BBC website, find the show they are after and play it, avoiding mistyping the address and accidentally clicking on the horror filmfest you have lined up to watch later that night. And then compare that to pressing about three buttons to achieve the same thing on the remote. I also don't need to lock down the TV like I do the PC in the living room - a simple PIN on the iPlayer website is enough. Smart tellys are also MUCH CHEAPER than any PC I would stick under one.

the Sony thing also has full episodes of US comedy / TV. "My Boys" is pretty good (for free), as is the fireman thing I can't remember the name of. Then there is LoveFilm. If you prefer to *pay* for your content rather than torrenting it, its very good on a TV too.

Yes all this is duplicated by the Blueray and the PS3 but so what? Yes I could also do most of this on a PC but at far greater cost (time, effort, price) than having it integrated into a familiar household appliance.

I fully expect to get flamed now with "try parenting and teaching your kids to use these things instead" but to those people I politely ask them to go stick their heads up a badgers arse.

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Holmes

Missing Question

Any guesses to the response level to the question 'Are the manufacturers forcing you to buy gadget add-ons to get quality base features?'

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Anonymous Coward

LG TV

Got a large 3d plasma with 'smart features', shame neither it nor 2 of its brothers was properly capable of being able to connect to 3 different routers (ethernet mind, none of that fancy WiFi stuff) in my house, they were not smart enough to let me diagnose the problem

Mind you I work for a company that creates STB software and while our soon to be release product will connect to many different bits of kit, it also does not help diagnose issues very well

They don't 'just work' :(

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