What do you want from the TV of the future: Internet? 3D?

Very interesting piece posted on Dealerscope this week authored by the Senior Director of Market Research for CEA, Tim Herbert. It’s based on a survey the CEA did about future TV tech. Very interesting results. Let’s start with the obvious first:

Click on image to see bigger version

Click on image to see bigger version

We do surveys like this as well and I’m going to give you the benefit of years of experience on this one. Here’s what people really want from their next TV: bigger and louder. Yep, it’s that simple. When they say better picture quality, they don’t mean 1080p (though that’s what they’ll buy because it’s quickly dominating the shelves at Best Buy). They just mean big and bright and loud.

Top on the list was energy efficiency. Let’s be honest about what this means — people are supposed to say that. But they won’t pay extra for a TV that saves energy. Next. The really interesting things they asked about were connectivity related: wireless connectivity with DVD players, ability to connect family photos, and internet connectivity. 

Here’s the problem with asking about Internet connectivity (and I’m sure Tim knows this, I’m not implying he doesn’t). People don’t know what that means. Perhaps if you spell it out for them: “Hey, you could watch Hulu on your TV” the number would go up by 10 or 20 percentage points (which would put it in the top 3, I suspect).

Personally, my bet for the feature we’ll see most on the TV in the next 3-5 years is Internet connectivity. I’ll even predict that in 2012, 40% of all TVs sold will have connectivity built in. It will become so critical to TV makers that by then it will be standard equipment. Not only to deliver services but to upgrade firmware as needed. More on that later.

My favorite graph from this study was this one:

click on image to see bigger version

click on image to see bigger version

The question of 3D TV has been hovering over the market for a few years now. I saw 3D displays at CES this year and I think they are absolutely fun and enjoyable — to watch one or two movies a year. But as for buying one for the living room, the tech isn’t there yet. Overall, you can see that people don’t do a lot of thinking about what kind of technology should be in their TVs in the future. One that CEA missed was a mirrored screen so that a flatscreen TV can be an attractive mirror when not in use. That will be more important to people than they could say in a survey.

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