Smart TVs are growing, but many of those U.S. consumer owners are not smart enough -- or just not interested -- in using those TV units to their fullest potential.
Estimates are that there are 25 million U.S. smart TV homes, out of some 114 million TV homes, according to the NPD Group. But only about half -- or 12 million -- are Internet-connected and not using the new television sets' fullest capabilities, such as accessing the likes of Netflix, YouTube or Hulu.
A recent study for the Council on Research Excellence from One Touch Intelligence added that the "50% ratio of smart TVs to actual Internet-connected smart TVs has held steady since the debut of smart TVs in the latter part of the last decade. It’s a conundrum no one industry has been able to solve."
It's not much better with Blu-ray players, which many new smart TV owners purchased at the same time. At present, are there 42.1 million U.S. homes with Blu-ray players, and 15 million homes have a Blu-ray player connected to the Internet.
"Without an Internet connection, all the apps available on those devices, whether it’s Netflix, Hulu or an MVPD’s cable programming channel lineup, lie dormant," says the CRE study.
Some reluctance may come from consumers' mixed feelings about completely replacing their multi-video programming distributors' (MVPDs) set-top boxes.
"Until an MVPD’s full channel lineup is available on a smart TV or Blu-ray player, usage of those devices to watch linear television will be limited," notes the report. Another contributing factor: Smart TVs have no DVR-like storage. But new cloud-like or network DVR type storage services could change behavior.