Consumers won't jump head first into connected TV

They may be talking the talk, but 22 percent of consumer electronics retail sales people are unfamiliar with connected TVs, research has found.

In a study of 3600 sales people in the industry, Creative Channel Services (CCS) reports that
most retail sales staff claimed they were are knowledgeable about the new technology, describing themselves as “familiar to very familiar” with connected TVs.

And they also seem to think they know what is best for the consumer with 45 percent saying that they believe consumers will prefer to invest approximately $250 in a set-top box over a new internet-enabled TV, Blu-ray player or home theatre system.

A further 51 percent went on to say that they believe consumers are “very interested” in streaming video and 35 percent “very interested” in online applications with networked TVs.

Just over half (53 percent) said they don’t feel consumers will look to replace their cable and satellite TV services with a connected TV for at least another five years.

The news may come as a blow to the like of Apple and Google, who, according to research by GigaOM, will take their places as the three dominating companies in the IPTV and OTT online video space.

Software developers and technology providers are rushing to put in place the necessary embedded software and distribution infrastructure that will enable content owners, aggregators, advertisers and consumers to reap the benefits of network connectivity in consumer electronics devices.

It is predicted that the connected platform providers will take a significant slice of the $60 billion annual pay-TV business for themselves.

Ominously for those smaller firms who took the first leap into connected TV, right at the head of those likely to take advantage will be Microsoft, Google and Apple.

However, Intel warns there must be caution. Like those in the CCS survey, the company believes that  people love the TVs they already have. As a result it has moved away from trying to incorporate PC functions into TV. Genevieve Bell, who heads up Intel’s research division exploring how people interact with machines, told us at IDF back in September that Intel would move towards a more holistic approach for user interfaces.

As CCS recommends, if the shift is going to happen soon, manufacturers will need to do more to inform the general public about Connected TV technology