Michelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 07-08-2011

Connected TV users are staying pretty close to the fold, according to a new report from Strategy Analytics, with mainstream entertainment services like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus, Pandora and iPlayer still making up the lion's share of apps used.

It's up to operators and consumer electronics manufacturers to turn the tide with better navigational tools via middleware and smartphone/tablet apps for controlling the TV set.

"Surprisingly, most owners of connected TVs do not seem to have been particularly interested in apps when they bought the TV originally," said Caroline Park, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics. "While apps users tend to gravitate quickly towards apps they are already familiar with from using a PC, tablet, games console or smartphone, they see little reason to explore or investigate what other apps are available, and if they do, they are usually disappointed with the experience."

The problem, the firm said, is the lack of easy navigation and content discovery. While widget stores like the Apple App Store and the Android Market make it simple enough to search and find apps, the television interface lacks such flexibility. Also at issue is the fact that the remote control form factor is hardly an ideal, intuitive imput device.

Some operators are addressing the issue. Comcast, Verizon and AT&T in the United States all offer smartphone and tablet/iPad apps for locating relevant applications and programming and sending them to the TV.