CES 2015: Users struggle with high-tech devices as TV industry goes all in for 4KTV

DetailsEditor | 06 January 2015

As ever, this year's CES has revealed a rich plethora of devices and services through which to view video, but the latest high-tech devices are becoming more difficult to use says research from Accenture.

The Accenture report Engaging the Digital Consumer in the New Connected World found that overall, 83% report various problems when they use new device types, with the biggest challenges being that the smart devices are "too complicated to use" (21%), "set-up did not proceed properly" (19%), and "did not work as advertised" (19%).

"For these new connected device categories, high-tech companies need to go back to the drawing board and rethink their product development approaches to focus on the entire customer experience," said Sami Luukkonen, managing director for Accenture's Electronics and High Tech group. "They should make fundamental strategic changes that no longer focus on product feature differentiation but rather holistic, digital experience differentiation."

After several years of rapid growth, the survey revealed purchase intentions are trending downward in several major and more traditional high-tech product categories. From 2014 to 2015, the percentage of respondents who plan to purchase dropped for nine of the 13 product categories surveyed, including smartphones, tablets, laptop computers, HDTVs and desktop computers. Just over a third (36%) intend to buy a high definition TV, an eight-point drop from 44% last year.

As the usability report was being produced, Accenture also made some interesting predictions for video viewing over 2015. "While CES has historically been a launching pad for smaller, thinner smartphones, this year the trend will reverse sharply in direction towards bigger devices," said John Curran, managing director in Accenture's Communications, Media and Technology practice. "Phablets in particular have grabbed centre stage because a growing number of consumers prefer the bigger screens to watch videos and movies ... Phablets will be launched that not only have bigger screens than typical smartphones but have markedly better screen resolution. This does not mean these smartphone and tablet markets will be inactive - plenty will be unveiled because they continue to serve large and growing markets."

Curran also predicted that 2015 will see the TV industry go all in regarding 4KTVs as they become the most widely produced types of TV model. "Prices for the sets are becoming more affordable and consumer demand for highly immersive viewing experiences is intensifying. Consistent with this, expect more announcements about larger 4K TVs' bendable and therefore more flexible screens," Curran added. "I also expect other developments around content and TV platform convergence. In doing so, consumers are able to get everything they need in one place through their medium of choice. There will be clear evidence of how TV is accommodating new digital formats and consumer viewing habits."