Research shows a 15% increase in smart TV ownership by industry professionals since 2012, according to research from Philips uWand.

However, despite steady growth, engagement rates continue to be hampered by the inadequate user interface found on current smart TV models and the increasing dominance of second screen devices.

The survey of US professionals working across the TV, telecommunications, and technology industries revealed that although 47% now own a smart TV, and 96% of those are connected to the internet, more than half (57%) of respondents still use other devices to watch internet-based content. Of those unsatisfied with their current smart TV service, 40% cited the user interface as the main reason why.

The research also looked at what percentage of their TV viewing time respondents spent accessing different smart TV services. The results reveal that while the use of catch up TV is on the rise, other services such as gaming, internet browsing and watching video clips are gradually decreasing in popularity.

Adoption of internet-based catch up services, such as Comcast’s Xfinity, increased by 13% (from 48% in 2012, compared to 61% in 2014).
Despite widespread adoption of social networking, the use of these services on smart TV decreased by 20% (from 30% in 2012 to 10% in 2014).

Time spend browsing the internet on smart TV decreased from 44% in 2012, to 25% in 2014. Gaming on smart TV also dropped by 16% (from 28% in 2012 to 12% in 2014)

“Even though smart TV sales are on the rise, users are still turning to other devices to watch online content that is readily available on TV. But this does not represent a lack of interest,” said Navin Natoewal, general manager at Philips uWand.

“As many viewers currently have to rely on button-based remotes instead of direct pointing control, it’s no surprise they prefer to use other devices for more complex smart TV services like gaming. The user experience is at the heart of service interaction, which explains this decline.”

Of those surveyed 92% use a button-based remote to interact with their smart TV. Almost half described this experience as ‘poor’. However, industry professionals see strong potential in smart TV once issues with the user experience are resolved; 40% of participants believe VoD to hold the most potential, while 10% believe gaming is the future of smart TV.

All figures are based on a survey of 111 US participants conducted by Philips uWand in November 2014.