Is a Smart TV worth it in 2017?
Smart TVs are an increasing presence in many households. The number of connected streaming devices is also increasing, and reaching relative parity with Smart TVs.
The main driver is the mass market adoption of 4K UHD TVs (10 million units sold in USA, in 2016, 24% of the TVs sold), and set-top boxes' 4K streaming capabilities. Even in content, the main providers, such as Netflix, Amazon Video and Hulu, are already producing and broadcasting TV shows and series in 4K.
Fixed broadband speeds are also responsible for this market penetration of internet-connected devices. Consumers need a steady Internet speed of at least 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) for 4K content streaming, and at this moment six out of ten 4K UHD TV homes have that kind of speed, which promises a good growth rate in the next few years.
For now, the reality is a bit different. Many households still have a “normal” TV set and most of them are wondering if they should buy a Smart TV or not. The main question is: aren’t there any alternatives? Of course, there are, and less expensive. They are called smart boxes. You can see DTT channels, satellite channels, and the apps that everybody loves.
Keep this in mind and consider these three main reasons to buy a streaming box:
TV manufacturers need to negotiate licenses to provide some basic apps like Netflix, Amazon Video or Hulu, and some don’t manage to have them all. As a result, the consumer sometimes can't count on some apps that s/he would love to have.
There is another reason why content can be an argument for buying a set-top box: exclusivity. Imagine if a TV brand negotiates exclusivity with a streaming content provider, and your TV set is not that brand… Once more, the consumer will be limited to what is given to them, despite their right to choose what they please.
A user interface must be simple and straightforward, when you only have a remote control to communicate with your TV. But, while most Smart TVs struggle with that (even in remote design), streaming devices are undisturbed. Their advantage is obvious, and their remote controls are far simpler than any TV ones.
The problem here isn't the apps available. It's all about their endless updates. There is nothing quite like getting home, tired, powering on your TV and suddenly seeing a counter telling you how long there is left for the update to finish… We could say that this would be a good opportunity to get some meditation time in, but we won't.
Streaming boxes update quicker and in the background. A definite plus!
OK! But is it worth it?
To cut a long story short… Do I have to buy a Smart TV or not? Is a Smart TV worth it? Our sincere opinion is: at this precisely moment, no! Although the penetration of the Smart TVs in the home entertainment market is growing, the price is still very high, compared to the set-top boxes.
Even if you are thinking of buying a Smart TV, you should also consider buying a streaming device, because of the problems we mentioned earlier: content, interface and apps. Basically, we advise you to think a while before you go buy a Smart TV and see if isn't better to come up with a complementary offer that will enhance your living room experience.