German households are now buying a new TV set almost every six years, according to recent research from GfK. Traditionally they purchased a new TV set on average once every 10 years, generally upgrading sets only when they were broken. Similarly, DisplaySearch has found that households across the globe are now buying new TV sets in record numbers.
Innovations such as LED technology, plasma screens, HDTV, 3DTV and most significantly smart TV are driving this revolution.
Prior to smart TV, TVs practically all did the same thing. They offered a passive viewing experience, had a couple of inputs for your DVD player or gaming console, and offered varying degrees of screen size and picture quality. Yes they got thinner, the pictures got sharper and the bezels got shinier, but that was about it… until now.
By bringing software to the television, smart TV is changing television as we currently know it. It’s very similar to what happened in the mobile phone market just a few years previously. Before iOS and Android operating systems appeared, mobile phone buying cycles were much longer than they are now. The decision to upgrade a handset was based on things like longer battery life, the introduction of colour screens or different design, such as the clamshell.
These days, every major OS release results in a scramble to upgrade to the latest handset. Take the release of the eagerly anticipated iPhone 5 as a case in point – up to 35 percent of US consumers are thought to be planning an upgrade. Software is now the key differentiator in the smartphone space, just as it was in the computing space before that when every other new release of Microsoft Windows – from 3.1 to 95 to 98 to XP etc – prompted an upgrade to the latest computer.
Smart TV signals a continuation of this software/ hardware performance spiral into the TV space. As more and more of us start to view Internet-based content on our TV set, the more we’ll need our TV sets, or other smart TV device, to offer the best performance and user experience.
For example, imagine your TV set now plays Flash video, enabling you to view the latest videos from the Internet. Given the speed of software development, it may only be a couple of years before the release of the next best Internet video format. You’d likely invest in a new TV much sooner than you would have done previously, as your existing set is not longer good enough to do what you need it to do.
What’s happening in Germany right now is very interesting, and it will only be a matter of time before other markets follow suit.
To keep up-to-date on the latest smart TV news and trends, follow the Intel smart TV team on Twitter and Facebook. If you want to learn more, check out this smart TV video. Intel are the proud sponsors of the annual Stuff Gadget Awards 2011, look out for more smart TV goodness in upcoming European editions of Stuff Magazine.