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Survey: Many people want to use their smart TVs for more than just watching shows

Smart TVs are great. They remove the need (in most cases) for a remote, a fact that will appeal to anyone prone to losing their remote between the cushions of the couch. But the way smart TVs integrate into the home could use a bit of improvement. They tend to be stand-alone devices; while smart assistants can control the home, tell the weather, and order pizza, most smart TVs are simply for media consumption. A YouGov survey shows that many people want that to change and would like to see their smart TVs to be more integrated into the rest of the smart home, rather than on an island all their own.

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According to the survey, 79% of those surveyed expressed interest in controlling their home through their TV, including being able to change the lights or display a security camera on screen. This expounds on the idea that TVs aren’t just for TV anymore. People use them for a variety of functions, like streaming music, displaying cooking recipes, and most of all, gaming.

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Though people watch content through a variety of other devices, 48% reported that a smart TV was their main way of consuming media. The survey also found that 38% of those surveyed still used a traditional TV. Interestingly, a smart TV doesn’t necessarily streamline the process of finding something to watch. People spent an average of four minutes finding content when they knew what they were searching for, or an average of 11 minutes when they did not.

There are several reasons for this, but one of the main ones is the often-slow interfaces of smart televisions. Casting directly from a mobile device or a computer is faster, but the fastest way to find content is through voice control — so much so, in fact, that 61% of people surveyed said they prefer to search for media with their voice instead of a physical interface.

And on top of it all is the increasing struggle of finding all the content you want to watch on a single service. Popular shows were already divided between the “Big Three” (Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video), but with the upcoming arrival of Disney+ and a slew of smaller streaming services, 40% of people report frustration that multiple services are required to access all of the content they want to watch.

With luck, this survey will have an effect on the next generation of smart TVs and lead to better integration into the Internet of Things. One thing is clear: Smart TVs have the potential to be used for much more than they currently are.

Patrick Hearn
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Patrick Hearn writes about smart home technology like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, smart light bulbs, and more. If it's a…
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