Smart TV industry began heated up in China back in 2010 when Google rolled out its Google TV, where many people agreed that smart televisions were a possibility for the future. So far, there are at least six Chinese television makers have committed themselves to the production of smart TVs, including Chinese PC maker Lenovo. However, the development of smart televisions in China is being hindered due to the slow integration of the three networks of TV, telecommunications and the Internet. So, what should we expect to see the growth of Smart TV this year ?
Why Smart TV ?
A Smart TV device is either a television set with integrated internet capabilities or a set-top box for television that offers more advanced computing ability and connectivity than a contemporary basic television set. Besides more flexible viewing services and richer content, smart TV can also provide non-video entertainment services such as sophisticated games or participation in TV show voting activities. Smart TV can be used for purposes that go beyond pure entertainment, such as video calling, gaming and even home security and medical care. In China, TV industry has been hit hard by the government’s new focus on promoting a tri-network integration — the integration of internet, telecommunications, radio and TV broadcasting networks. The project aims to convert existing analog television signals into digital signals, and that’s Smart TV.
From analysis, by 2015, 32.4 millions Smart TV will beat the traditional TV with 54 per cent market share. Any company that is able to secure a key position in commercial models for smart TV, or even to lead the development of such commercial models, could potentially become the dominant power in the next television revolution as smart TV gradually replaces traditional television. Lenovo has obviously taken the lead ahead of Apple, Google and Microsoft in making Smart TV. So can the company gets its business running ? The chairman of Lenovo noted smart television relies heavily on content and cannot be developed further without the support of content providers. The company had realized this issue since last year when they got in talk with SMG (Shanghai Media Group) to establish a new firm to provide Internet-video service.
With many experts said, television is a highly regulated industry and it is dominated by cable television and satellite television companies. The business model followed by smart television companies relies on services supplied through the sale of set-top boxes, therefore the lack of supports from content providers are one of the crucial factors that dragged Smart TV behind other smart device like mobile phones and tablets.
Survey data shows that 39 per cent of consumers believe that the current application of smart TV is still unable to meet their needs, and hence they don’t purchase it at the moment. In addition, 31 per cent of users believe that Smart TV is more complex in terms of operating system, where they suggested there should be a standard for all Smart TV to follow. For a growing number of Smart TV features, 18 per cent of survey respondents believe that the current Smart TV available in the market is not easy to use. Pricing doesn’t seem to be a barricade for Smart TV to grow in China. 58 per cent of respondents are willing to pay 5000-8000 yuan for a 46-inch Smart TV, and the remain proportion can afford a Smart TV with higher price, ranging from 8000 – 20,000 yuan.
There is no doubt to see more and more Chinese consumers to replace their LCDTVs with Smart TV this year, as there are many considerable options such as Samsung Smart TV, Lenovo ICS HDTV etc. and from other local makers like Skyworth, Hisense and TCL. At the same time, most of the Chinese consumers are willing to pay a premium price for the latest electronics, the phenomena of scalping of Apple iPhone in China is one of the good example that you could see. Smart TV seems very likely to get a big booming in China this year. What about the slow tri-integration aforementioned ? This depends on how the Chinese government wants their censorship policy to apply in Smart TV industry.
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