In a way, the adoption of smart TVs over the past decade – and their accelerated adoption in the past five years – has some parallels with the adoption cycle of smartphones, Hub Entertainment Research said in its latest report. Like smartphones, smart TVs have a primary function but can do many other things besides watch TV – stream music, control smart home tech, mirror screens from mobile devices – provided their owners are aware of those capabilities and are inclined to explore them.
In its most recent study, “Evolution of the TV Set 2023,” Hub found three-quarters of smart TV owners have made use of one of seven specific “non-TV” features. This is an increase over the 2020 wave of the study, where a still-impressive two-thirds had experimented with at least one non-TV function. Not surprisingly, 90% of those aged 16-34 had used a non-TV feature whereas only a slight majority (55%) of people aged 55-74 had done so.
While the overall usage of non-TV features has increased somewhat since 2020, such a general look hid the relative differences between them. The most popular non-TV feature is using a smart TV to listen to a streaming music or audio service. This almost doubled from 2020 to 2023. The second most popular, mirroring or casting another device’s screen to the smart TV, almost tripled in use during that time.
Over 80% of users of each non-TV feature say they are very or somewhat satisfied with the performance of that feature – so while some are used more than others, all these non-TV features score well with their users.
According to Hub, consumers are willing to embrace non-TV uses for their smart sets, and those who have done so are already satisfied. This suggests that the idea of making smart TVs the “hub” of home technology – media, smart home, or otherwise – is not a pipe dream. OEMs have the chance to increase engagement with consumers across content categories (and even beyond entertainment itself) and to assume a central role in how people manage technology on a daily basis.
“Just as smartphones have evolved well beyond their primary mission of calling and texting, so also we may see smart TVs take on more non-video functions as they evolve – creating new benefits for consumers and new opportunities for OEMs, app developers, and marketers,” commented David Tice, Senior Consultant at Hub Entertainment Research.