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Smart TV consumers want fewer features

Wednesday, January 14th 2015 by Dean Reilly

The early days of smart televisions saw manufacturers creating “features for features' sake”, but future models will have fewer apps, a software executive has said.

Frode Hernes, vice president of product management at Opera Software told Cable.co.uk: “If you look at major smart TV players four years ago, it was movement control, voice control, icons everywhere, things that went spinning around and upside down: a very complicated user interface and experience.

“When the iPad or especially when the iPhone was released, it established a set of expectations. We had fluent, nice user interfaces, you could swipe things, and send things and such – and then you would look at your set top box at home from one of the cable operators, and wonder why the box would not behave like this.

“Everyone made a lot of smart TV features, more like features for the features' sake. Nowadays, people have realised there is a limited set of content that people wish to have, and they start with Netflix and YouTube.”

Mr Hernes said that current generation smart televisions are more likely to have cleaner, easier to navigate interfaces, but with more hidden functionality within them.

“We see many other vendors try to simplify the experience, realising that what they aimed for was too complex. It put great demands on the hardware, so the experience wasn’t good, it was too demanding on the end user because it was just too complex,” he added.

Mr Hernes also said that Opera Software, which produces multi-platform browsers for consumers, believes that the smart TV market will continue to grow.

He said: ”More and more TVs will be connected. Last year, I think it was like 35%, maybe 40% of TVs were connected. We’re aiming for the market where maybe 75% are connected.

“When you start looking at content, that’s mostly video, and of course that’s more dependent on bandwidth. But the user interface itself is really a lightweight webpage, so the data you need to download for a user interface is probably around one third of the data you need to download to see a front page in Facebook on your laptop or iPad.

"It’s optimised for this, so as long as the other devices in your home work fairly ok, your bandwidth is good enough for the TV part.”

Additional reporting by Ellen Branagh

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