Although when I asked the audience if they had ever bought a Smart TV at home, only one of them raised the hand; even only a few of people were sure they would buy one in near future. Speakers from Lenovo, TCL, Technicolor, Orange France (Beijing) and BesTV at TechNode Collide were giving their positive opinion and advice on the Smart TV industry in China.
David Wei, VP and GM of Mobile Internet Lab & Digital Life Lab of Lenovo gave the keynote speech with the topic Smart TV, the Driving Force of Cloud Computing in Family Life. He defined the Smart TV:
the connected TV with OS, and the content includes broadcasting, packaged media, web content, and applications
David believes that eventually people is able to use Smart TV to watch TV or internet video, online shopping, play games, read news, social chat etc. He said that Smart TV, like Smart Phone, is not only driven by hardware manufacturers but the service providers, i.e. internet service providers, and content providers (traditional video content and internet video content). In China, a couple of companies including Skyworth, Hisense, TCL and Lenovo have released their first Smart TV products this year and the market will be boosted in 2012. “by 2015, 32.4 millions Smart TV will beat the traditional TV with 54% market share.” David Wei said.
TCL has just released its first Window 7 based Smart TV in early May, with partnership with Youku, PPS etc internet companies. Liu Yunfei, Director at TCL Research Supper Smart TV Center also believes that the Smart TV market has to open up and work closely with the popular internet service providers and thousands of applications development companies.
Smart TV sounds fancy but it is of course not an easy business. Kevin Rui, VP of Business Alliance at BesTV, the IPTV operator from Shanghai Media Group (SMG) gave his advice on Smart TV market. Although Smart TV is also (internet) connected TV, Kevin pointed out the TV audience are either kids or older people and both groups are actually not the heavy internet users. So how to educate them to use the internet service on TV is not an easy job; He said the applications on Smart TV are important but the app developers must note that TV is graphic-focus so we can not expect any smart phone apps is playable on TV. Kevin also believe the driving force of Smart TV market will be IT companies instead of TV manufacturers. “Like Apple and Google are now leading the Smart Phone market, not Nokia or other traditional phone makers.” He said in this speech. “Smart Phone is for individual, but Smart TV is for Family.”
To be honest, I am not really convinced to buy a Smart TV to replace my old one, yet. But once the price is acceptable and more TV-friendly apps and internet service are available, it will be definitely the choice.