2016 will be the year of the Smart TV says Gartner

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Smart TVs are growing in popularity with Samsung leading the race for a flat screen television that allows users to not only connect to the internet but to other devices, such as smartphones and tablets, and use them in sync.

In fact, tech reasearch company Gartner reckons that all televisions will soon be smart. According to the research house “nearly 85% of all flat-panel TVs produced in 2016 will be smart TVs”. It believes that worldwide unit production of smart TVs will grow from 69-million in 2012 to 198-million in 2016 with a 2013 number of 108-million.

One of the current perks of smart TVs is that through internet capability they give people the option to watch content other than that provided by select networks on a bigger screen. The technology is app centric. Today’s smart TVs can access video content on the web in many ways — including YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and other sites, as well as social networks — and can run some applications commonly found on devices such as smartphones or tablets.

While manufacturers cottoning on to the appeal of such devices, Gartner warns that people won’t buy a smart TV just for the sake of having the technology. TV manufacturers must recognise the need to offer some compelling reasons for consumers to choose their brand over a competitor’s.

“In the end, the choice may be all about the extra content that one TV brand offers over another. Consumers will be asking questions such as, which Internet TV services can the TV access? Are these the sites I think are valuable? Can I use my smartphone or tablet with this TV?” says Paul O’Donovan, principal research analyst at Gartner.

“It is critical for the TV industry during this global economic downturn and decline in consumer confidence levels, to sustain sales and maintain or grow market share — especially in emerging markets. This is difficult when demand has slowed, so the extra functionality offered by smart TVs becomes the product differentiator — if prices are already competitive and all other variables are equal between brands.”

The TV market is evolving, with the TV becoming the central component bringing together the multiple screens now present in the home. The smart TV offers consumers greater access to a wide range of content in the living room that has, until recently, only been available on PCs, smartphones and tablets.

“With connectivity to smartphones and tablets comes the ability to pull content from the Internet on one device and push that content to the TV. For those TV manufacturers that also make smartphones and tablets, the marketing advantage of the smart TV makes educating the consumer a lot easier,” said O’Donovan.

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