Google, Apple streaming devices shake up the TV market

Google, Apple streaming devices shake up the TV market

Largest manufacturers respond by pushing the young ultra high definition standard

The remote control for Panasonic's smart televisions has a button dedicated to Netflix

The remote control for Panasonic's smart televisions has a button dedicated to Netflix

Australians are turning to inexpensive streaming devices following Netflix's entrance into the local market instead of buying pricey smart televisions.

Smart TVs have more powerful processors, work with an active Internet connection and are compatible with applications. This makes it possible to watch popular video-on-demand services over the Internet, rather than relying solely on traditional free-to-air content.

The launch of Netflix in Australia has cast some light on the features of smart televisions; however, the growing popularity of streaming devices is causing TV manufacturers to look elsewhere for sales.

Google's Chromecast and Apple's TV, priced from $49 and $109 respectively, are two popular streaming devices that are eroding sales in the smart TV market. Sales of the streaming sticks on eBay have jumped 30 per cent since Netflix entered the market three months ago.

The findings were published in The economics of electronics, a research paper authored by Telsyte and commissioned by eBay Australia.

“Additional devices are reviving older screens in the home as more people are looking at making a dumb TV smarter,” said Foad Fadaghi, the managing director of research firm Telsyte.

“It might have a negative impact on TV sales in the short run, but in the long run, it introduces people to new features and functionalities for an upgrade driver down the track,” he told Good Gear Guide.

Manufacturers have since responded to the shift by promoting the next-generation ultra high definition (UHD) standard, despite the lack of available content.

All of Samsung’s 2015 televisions in Australia are ultra high definition televisions, while at least 60 per cent of the 2015 range from Sony, Panasonic and LG support UHD resolution.

Read more: Panasonic Viera TV range for 2015: 4K, Netflix, and Firefox OS

Hampering the adoption of these televisions is a limited content library. Manufacturers are banking on upscaling technologies that can make ordinary content suitable for UHD TVs.

Only a handful of shows and movies are available on streaming platforms, and those that are available require a 25Mbps connection and a large data allowance.

Ultra high definition content is expected to become more widely available following the certification of Ultra HD discs by the Blu-ray Disc Association.

A lack of content has not dampened sales with UHD TV sales increasing 1106 per cent in the first quarter of 2015, according to Telsyte.

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