Internet TV sales up - but no one uses it

By David Goldman, staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The long-promised and never delivered concept of bringing the Internet to the living room is finally here.

Sort of.

Internet-connected TVs made up 21% of all television sales in 2010, according to a recently released report by NPD Group's DisplaySearch. Shipments are expected to more than double by 2014.

The only problem is hardly anyone is using them to surf the Internet. Just 45% of those who say they have an Internet-connected TV use that feature, NPD Group found.

"It's not something they're looking for, but it's there," said Paul Semenza, senior vice president of NPD Group's DisplaySearch. "It's being included more and more as a standard feature in high-end sets."

In other words, people are picking up Internet-connected TVs without knowing it or caring. It's kind of like buying a car with rain-sensing wipers.

It doesn't help that accessing the Internet on TV is a maddening experience. There are a bazillion different options, from Wal-Mart's (WMT, Fortune 500) Vudu to Hulu Plus-ready TVs, to, yes, Linux-based Nokia (NOK) MeeGo TVs.

None allow the user to just kick back and zone out like they want to.

Only 57% of those that use the Internet features said they found the experience on their connected TVs "satisfying."

The latest attempt, Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) TV, has been criticized so much for difficulty of use that Google reportedly pulled its new TVs from appearing at the annual Consumer Electronics Show next month.

Internet-connected set-top boxes have had some degree of success, including Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) TV, which reached the 1 million sales milestone last week. But stand-alone connected TVs are expected to be a big part of the coming CES showcase.

"It has got to be easy in order to broaden adoption," Semenza said. "What's most crucial is that TVs automatically detect a wireless connection and quickly guide the user through the process."

For those that do use the features, 57% are using it to access Netflix, and 47% view videos on YouTube.  To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,804.80 26.65 0.15%
Nasdaq 4,765.38 16.98 0.36%
S&P 500 2,070.65 9.42 0.46%
Treasuries 2.18 -0.03 -1.27%
Data as of 2:24pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 17.62 0.09 0.51%
Apple Inc 111.78 -0.87 -0.77%
General Electric Co 25.62 0.48 1.91%
Intel Corp 36.37 -0.65 -1.76%
Microsoft Corp 47.66 0.14 0.29%
Data as of Dec 19

Sections

New York Magazine reporter Jessica Pressler, who has been caught up in controversy this past week, will not be moving on to a new job at Bloomberg News. More

Investors beware: These 5 global crises are likely to rattle the stock market and world economy. More

Forums in dark corners of the web sell the kinds of hacks that befell Sony. More

Unilever sued Hampton Creek over its egg-free mayonnaise spread Just Mayo. But the company behind Best Foods and Hellman's mayonnaise has now dropped the lawsuit. More

The income of the top 1% jumped significantly in 2012, far outpacing inflation. Not only did this group make a larger share of the country's income, their share of total taxes also jumped from 35% to 38%. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.