As Ofcom’s figures recently proved, Smart TVs are still a minority interest here in the UK and the behaviour of some makers is likely to ensure that remains the case.
Over on Digital Spy, posters are listing their gripes with Big Brand Smart TVs which have lost support for apps after updates or which have been excluded from new apps because their set was bought before a given date.
The concept of Smart TVs has always offered more than the manufacturers have delivered.
The inescapable truth is TV manufacturers want to sell TVs and sell them often, it’s not in their interests to sell one very 5 or 7 years and to keep it updated during that time and now it seems some are trying to force households into faster replacements by using apps and software versions as points of difference.
In the long run this is likely to depress take up as word gets round that a £1,000+ set has an effective shelf life of around a year.
In the early days of Digital TV manufacturers tried to fleece households for Integrated Digital TVs which included a digital tuner as well as an analogue one. These were often far more expensive than a separate TV and set top box and not all models received software updates to fix bugs.
I know a number of people who eventually ended up treating their IDTV as a dumb set and adding a more modern Freeview receiver or recorder to it.
Unless you just want to watch but not record Freeview content a Smart TV will only ever provide part of your viewing experience.
Both Virgin Media and Sky provide catch-up services (with Sky adding iPlayer and ITV Player later this year) as well as the ability to record and when YouView arrives there’ll be a free platform offering guaranteed access to the UK’s four major catch-up services and other premium content.
So do we really need TV’s which are ‘smart’ for just a year or do we just need a dumb panel with, at most, a Freeview tuner built in for those with no recording need and as a back up for the rest of us?