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Opinion: Smart TV not living up to its potential

Posted: 11 Jan 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smart TV? interfaces? multi-screen?

Among CE vendors, Samsung remains the most experienced smart TV supplier. Boo-Keun Yoon, president of Samsung Electronics described the key trends driving the company, noting first that "content marketing is accelerating. It's critical to offer a simple way through which consumers can find and enjoy content they want.

"People want more screens to access to content," Yoon asserted. "Our research shows that 80 per cent of consumers want their TVs to be updated. We are offering an evolution kit that lets TV grow with your family."

The Samsung chief also argued that consumers "have diversified needs and preferences. We hope to offer appliances that get you, and your habits, adding that "in the connected world, people increasingly want to stay connected."

Samsung's new smart TVs are focused on two things: voice interaction (Smart TV understands natural language in full sentences) and s-recommendation (Smart TV recommends content to watch). Samsung said its systems offers different video content in five different panels. The first panel shows broadcast programs, the second panel show "on-demand video," allowing a single search for all streaming video. A third panel shows for personal photos and video, another shows social trending while still another handles other smart TV applications.

All this sounds comprehensive when compared to Samsung's competitors, but the Korean giant's user interface is pretty complicated.

As designers work to redefine the smart TV, Google TV struggles to find its own identity in the nascent market. Google's situation is further complicated by the fact that LG makes both Google TV and its own smart TV while Panasonic promotes Smart TV Alliance C an industry consortium for non-Google smart TVs.

Richard Doherty, research director of the Envisioneering Group, thinks Google TV could succeed, if the search giant can "communicate its virtues in a single sentence." He added, "I can't. Can you?"

Doherty said using an iPad as a second TV screen "has taken pressure off at least this year," allowing manufacturers more time to get their smart TV or Google TV right on the main screen.

That said, the use of a second screen has provided a steeper hill for Google, its partners and smart TV advocates. Based on Envisioneering's research, Doherty said YouTube is the third most popular streaming application in North America after Netflix and Hulu.;

- Junko Yoshida
??EE Times

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