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Makers of smart TVs and streaming media players are shifting strategies to focus on the user experience (UX), as device sales start to flatten out.

According to Parks Associates’ Market Snapshot - Smart TVs & the User Experience, 45% of US broadband households have a smart TV, which is now the most commonly used platform for accessing online video content.

“Parks Associates’ holiday data found 11% of US broadband households have a strong intention to purchase a 4K/Ultra HD TV this holiday season, but overall, device sales of flat-panel TVs have flattened out,” said Jennifer Kent, director, research quality and product development, Parks Associates. “As a result, we are seeing new partnerships among device manufacturers focused on ways to improve or refresh the UI of the smart TV, to make the device easy to use and a single point of content in the living room.”

The report pointed out that Samsung recently announced it has integrated Amazon Music into its smart TVs, one of the first third-party non-Alexa devices in the US to stream Amazon Prime Music and Amazon Music Unlimited. Samsung also announced an app for YouTube on its 2016 and 2017 models. In late 2017, Philips partnered with Roku to launch a line of smart TVs that use Roku’s platform, which simplifies remote control needs and content navigation.

The Market Snapshot also noted consumer demand is pushing voice into the connected entertainment area. Over 50% of US broadband households find voice control appealing for entertainment and smart home devices, and voice control for all devices, including TVs, security systems and appliances, scores well among consumers when testing use cases.

“Voice recognition and control are enabling entertainment equipment manufacturers to improve the user experience. An emphasis on a voice-enabled UX will be a key trend in connected CE for 2018,” said Dina Abdelrazik, research analyst, Parks Associates.

“In 2016, US consumers bought an estimated 14 million voice-controlled smart speakers with personal assistants, and companies such as Roku, TiVo, and Comcast have debuted voice-enabled remote controls. We expect to see more voice innovations in streaming services and connected platforms at CES this year.”
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