Germans embracing smart TV, bigger screens

Samsung PolandTwo in five TVs in German homes are now smart devices, according to a study by consumer electronics trade body the GFU. The study found that 38% of homes have smart TVs, compared with 51% in Switzerland and 33% in Austria. 

Over half – 51% – of German smart TV owners said that internet capability was an important factor in leading them to choose their device. About three quarters – 73% – of smart TVs are actually connected to the web in Germany.

A further 12% of TV sets are indirectly connected via game consoles, set-top boxes or other devices.

Flat screens are present in the living rooms of 86% of German homes, according to the GFU study.

Germans are more fearful than their Austrian and Swiss neighbours about possible invasions of privacy via smart TVs. Twenty-six per cent of Germans that have not connected their smart TVs to the web cited privacy concerns as the main reason, compared with 8% of Austrians and 6% of Swiss. Thirty-one per cent of Austrians, 26% of Germans and 22% of Swiss cite technical reasons for not connecting, including slow or non-existent internet connections.

Use of smart TVs for viewing time-shifted content is the leading application, with 72% using the devices for this purpose, followed by access to YouTube, used by 63%, and access to paid content, used by 50%.

Forty-six per cent of Swiss, 44% of Germans and 31% of Austrians agreed that their TV behaviour had changed as a result of the availability of catch-up services, while 28% of Swiss, 25% of Germans and 22% of Austrians said that the are more willing today than two years ago to pay for some content such as on-demand films.

Survey respondents also showed a greater willingness than previously to contemplate purchasing a new TV set, with 12% saying they would like to make a purchase before the end of the year. This compares with 20% planning to buy a new smartphone and 17% planning to invest in or buy a new tablet. The main incentive for new purchases is to get a bigger screen, cited by 78%, with higher resolution images cited by 66%. However, 63% cited internet connectivity as a reason to buy, up sharply from the 2013 survey where only 39% cited this as a purchase incentive.

Awareness of smart TV was also high, with 41% claiming a detailed knowledge of what the term meant and 44% being at least aware of the term. Only 15% said they do not know what the phrase smart TV signified at all. The availability of video-on-demand in Germany is known to 34% of TV viewers. However, only 13% knew the term 4K, beaten by 9% who are aware of the term UHDTV.

Germans’ desire for larger screens is evident in the 29% who said that 42-47 inches is their desired screen size, making this the largest single group. Last year the largest single group responding to this question said their prefereed size was 32-42 inches. Twenty-three per cent said they were looking for screen sizes of up to 55 inches, while 15% are looking for up to 65 inches and six per cent are looking for screens larger than 65 inches.

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