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'Connected' TVs Mostly Used Just Like the Unconnected Kind

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the hi-fi-jumprope dept.

Displays 217

antdude writes "The National Purchase Diary (NPD) Group Blog reports that 'Internet Connected TVs Are Used To Watch TV, And That's About All — The Internet connected high definition television (HDTV) screen has so far failed to break beyond the bounds of its TV-centric heritage, with little use for the big screen beyond the obligatory video services. But the connection is being used to provide access to a far wider variety of alternative sources for video content. The latest NPD Connected Intelligence Application & Convergence report highlights that nearly six out of ten consumers who own a connected HDTV are accessing Over-the-Top video services through the device.' (Seen on DSL reports.)" Wired's headline on a story based on the same information puts things more bluntly: "No One Uses Smart TV Internet Because It Sucks."

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Sounds about right (1, Insightful)

Jetra (2622687) | about 2 years ago | (#42406593)

My aunt kicked me off the TV, so guess what? I'm watching TV via Netflix and YouTube.

Re:Sounds about right (5, Funny)

swanzilla (1458281) | about 2 years ago | (#42406781)

+1 Fascinating

Re:Sounds about right (1)

crafty.munchkin (1220528) | about 2 years ago | (#42407683)

The Smart TV apps on my LG 50" TV work, but take ages to load. Youtube is good, Netflix isn't available in my region, iView had problems loading the only time I tried it (but works on the Xbox 360 so I use that instead). I've tried the web-browser and it was really slow, and didn't handle forms entry particularly well even when using my phone as a remote control for it - the experience has led me to leave the TV there for watching the TV, and to simultaneously browse the web from either my phone or my android tablet.

Re:Sounds about right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42407727)

The ones on my Samsung work very well. I use them to watch Netflix and HBO Go, a trailers program, sometimes Hulu+. There are a ton of them.

walled gardens don't work (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42406615)

I have one of these TVs, and one major problem is that each manufacturer is trying to create a captive audience for their own variety of apps.

As a result, the number of apps available is pathetic, and almost all boil down to TV stations vanity apps

Re:walled gardens don't work (5, Informative)

rikkards (98006) | about 2 years ago | (#42406651)

Yep, I just got a Sony and I tried it out and it can't hold a candle against XBMC. The interface is clunky and slow which I have heard as well about it with Samsung. Now if Samsung was smart they would be using Android instead...

Re:walled gardens don't work (5, Insightful)

NIK282000 (737852) | about 2 years ago | (#42406683)

TVs should be a display and that's it. Give it the brain to decode HDMI signals and the tuner for over the air digital but that should be it. Every time a manufacturer tries to put more then that in their TV it just makes it worse. I spent a day at best buy looking at TVs this month, not a single internet enabled had an interface that doesn't make you want to rip out all your hair. Added features shouldn't break the main ones.

Re:walled gardens don't work (4, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | about 2 years ago | (#42406729)

I kind of wish that there was a recess in the back of the TV or more "behind the screen" PCs that mount on the VESA pins (or between if you wall mount it) that had a simple 12v power supply and HDMI port. This way you can buy "smart" modules or a PC that mounts on the back of the set to give you the "smart" feature set. Leave the TV up to the task of getting and displaying a signal to the best of it's ability (like you said.) If you ever need to update the "smart" part of the TV, you wouldn't have to replace the whole set. I have a 1080p monitor in my living room that has lasted far longer than the media PC I have connected to it.

Re:walled gardens don't work (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | about 2 years ago | (#42406831)

Most of the TVs I have owned have a recess for cables that has been the home for first and second generation Apple TVs, and a Roku. Keep trying to finish a project with a BeagleBone that would go in the spot on a smaller TV, but it is a low priority project. Raspberry Pi or one of the little USB stick computers would work fine though...

Re:walled gardens don't work (2, Insightful)

olsmeister (1488789) | about 2 years ago | (#42406837)

90% of people wouldn't want to screw around with that. When they spend all that money on a TV, they expect it to do cool stuff, out of the box. If you tell them they need to buy something else, they're going to think you're trying to screw them over. Now that $80 HDMI cable, though, that they'd probably buy.

Re:walled gardens don't work (4, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#42406939)

90% of people wouldn't want to screw around with that. When they spend all that money on a TV, they expect it to do cool stuff, out of the box.

OK, we all know the 90% is a number you pulled straight from the depths of your ass, but you do still make a valid point, so I'll go ahead and ask:
Really? Since when?

To wit - I was born in the mid 1980's, and it has always been my expectation that my TV is nothing more than a display screen, which only shows me 'cool stuff' from the devices I physically connect to it.

Then again, I've never spent more than maybe $350 on a television (hooray pawnshops and demo units!), so I'm guessing this is a YMMV situation.

Re:walled gardens don't work (2)

scot4875 (542869) | about 2 years ago | (#42407057)

90% of people wouldn't want to screw around with that. When they spend all that money on a TV, they expect it to do cool stuff, out of the box.

It's particularly amusing that you make this unfounded assertion in a story about how nobody who buys smart TVs uses them do do any of the 'cool stuff' that they're capable of.


Re:walled gardens don't work (4, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#42407199)

I bought a car expecting it to go real fast. The reality is that regardless of whether or not it can go real fast, I rarely drive much above the speed limit anyway. I bought a Wii expecting to use it to exercise. The reality is I sit on the couch and play games with wrist flicks. People buy based on expectations, not how they'll actually use it.

Re:walled gardens don't work (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 2 years ago | (#42407337)

Exactly. TVs in living rooms are just not the place to be sending tweets from.

Re:walled gardens don't work (1)

ko7 (1990064) | about 2 years ago | (#42407319)

Wouldn't it be great if you could just buy a 40 - 60 inch 1080p computer monitor for some fraction of the cost of the complete PC? (... and then just swap out or modify the connect media PC as necessary)

Leave the tuner out too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42407101)

I'd leave out the tuuner too. The tuner in the TV is what maked hooking up an AV system so much harder than an audio only system. Audio systems would be a mess too if speakers included a tuner.

Re:Leave the tuner out too (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#42407855)

I'd leave out the tuuner too. The tuner in the TV is what maked hooking up an AV system so much harder than an audio only system. Audio systems would be a mess too if speakers included a tuner.

Err...you know, they do sell large format, HD monitors out there, with no tuner, etc.

Unfortunately, most everything I've seen is LCD or LED LCD, and I prefer Plasma for my main television type device in the living room, and bedrooms....more of a cinematic look that I prefer.

Re:walled gardens don't work (1)

isorox (205688) | about 2 years ago | (#42407693)

TVs should be a display and that's it. Give it the brain to decode HDMI signals and the tuner for over the air digital but that should be it.

You've said two incompatible things there. Wither you want your tv to just have a baseband hdmi input or 10, or you want it to receive a data stream and decide it. Dvbt, dvbc, ts over ip, doesn't matter.

You presumably want a way of displaying what channels are in your stream, without tuning in manually and selecting a pid.

Fundamentally what's the difference between watching a dvb stream over the air, and watching a Netflix program?

Re:walled gardens don't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42407063)

Linux \ FreeBSD is far more likely. The ARM support is already there. And with Wayland and E17 you basically get a clean slate on a stable and well thought off platform.

Android by comparison is a minefield of I.P. and poor design decisions. Best thing is, when Android I.P. is disputed, a few Asian OEMs are up against every single patent troll in the States. With Linux, you'd have the whole freaking sever and embedded world fighting on your side.

This days even governments and research bodies have a lot invested in Linux. Hell, play your cards right and you can even have RMS followers declaring Jihad on those trolls :)

Re:walled gardens don't work (2)

Githaron (2462596) | about 2 years ago | (#42407263)

The apps are already on Android. The app developers might have to make some small modifications to allow for remote control input but overall the small cost would be worth it if they could get their app of compatible with 70% of new smart TVs.

Re:walled gardens don't work (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#42407215)

I barely use XMBC any more because of my Panasonic smart TV's built in media player that copes with almost everything I throw at it. The only other feature of XMBC I used to use was YouTube (for things like movie trailers, instructional videos, documentaries etc.) which the TV also has.

On top of that it has a pretty good iPlayer client, which XBMC was lacking last time I checked.

The only time I boot XMBC is for the 0.1% of videos that the TV can't play itself and because for some inexplicable and stupid reason you can't select the really nice THX picture modes in the built-in media player, only for broadcast or HDMI video. It has to be a pretty good film for me to make the effort.

Obvious study is obvious (4, Insightful)

iamhassi (659463) | about 2 years ago | (#42406703)

Did they really need a study for this? Why would someone use their 52" TV for twitter or Facebook when they have a tablet or laptop already?

Re:Obvious study is obvious (4, Insightful)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | about 2 years ago | (#42406843)

What is surprising is that you can't connect to Amazon or Netflix on some of the units despite being "smart." They have their own video store and other such nonsense.

Re:Obvious study is obvious (1)

adolf (21054) | about 2 years ago | (#42407381)

What is surprising is that you can't connect to Amazon or Netflix on some of the units despite being "smart."

All of the "smart" BFTs I've installed recently had a big, fat Netflix button right on the remote.

I've never used it (indeed, we make a point of not connecting the television to the network), but it's there...

Re:Obvious study is obvious (1)

HappyEngineer (888000) | about 2 years ago | (#42407699)

Buying a TV without Netflix support was recently classified as a form of mental illness which can be treated by forcing the patient to watch nothing but political ads for 8 hours straight. After that point the cured patient is unable to hear the name Comcast without recoiling in terror and bursting into tears. Patients are reported to lead much fuller and happier lives thereafter.

I have purchased two TVs (one 55" and one 65") in the last few years. Required features: Netflix, DLNA, not Sony.

Re:Obvious study is obvious (1)

future assassin (639396) | about 2 years ago | (#42407235)

My kids do 13/16 and they love it on the big screen though a HTPC. They have laptop and Samsung phones but they prefer to sit there and use the TV as a computer. If there was an 10 Foot UI linux distro the TV would get way more computer time usage between watching HULU/Netlix/Cracle, playing games/STEAM and watching video from websites.

Re:walled gardens don't work (1)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#42406763)

We built an XBMC box for out TV, and we found that our Blu-ray player can also connect to a bunch of services like slacker radio, crackle, youtube, NPR, and the like.

It works fairly well actually.

Re:walled gardens don't work (5, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 2 years ago | (#42406819)

Sort of. I have a Samsung Smart TV, and while they definitely have their flavor of apps only available for their TV, that's not really the main problem. The main problem is that the apps that do exist are slow, have a terrible interface, and are filled with bugs. For example: for the first 6 months or so, the Netflix app kept losing my login information. I was this close to just not watching Netflix on the TV anymore, and just go back either jerry-rigging it onto the TV via an extra-long DVI/HDMI cable or to just watch it on my laptop.

But yes, the Smart TVs are absolutely retarded and a waste of money (or at least, the Internet connectivity aspect is). They need to fix the following problems:
* no useful apps available outside of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus..
* requirements to use specific and approved USB cameras or widgets.
* Buggy apps.
* Very slow responsiveness.
* Terrible, terrible interface.

The solutions:
* Swallow your pride. Go Google Play Store or iTunes.
* Invest into the connectivity, and throw some real processing power onto it.
* Release a smartphone app that allows you to use its interfaces (voice recognition, touchscreen) to control the action on-screen.
* Make the USB-connectivity more robust, and accept standard webcams, gizmos and widgets.

Until then, I will consider Smart TVs a waste of time.

Oh, and fair warning, dear TV makers: this isn't rocket science, and if Apple is indeed working on an Apple TV, it WILL eat your lunch. Because they will get it right, and people will fall over themselves to get a well-thought out, easy to use, pretty TV that integrates into the Apple eco-system.

Re:walled gardens don't work (2)

mcrbids (148650) | about 2 years ago | (#42406983)

Apple TV has existed for quite some time now. [apple.com] Despite this, it has yet to become much of a success. Apple probably makes some money on it, but it's just not getting all that much reach. Its integration with an ipad is pretty slick. There's also Google TV [bestbuy.com] which is embedded into other players.

So far, the winner for the alternative TV seems to be gaming devices, like Xbox or PS3.

Re:walled gardens don't work (3, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 years ago | (#42407205)

Windows Media Center on Win7 with XBox360's as extenders and a HDHomeRun Prime on the server for cable is pretty much the best thing there is on the planet for this stuff.

Re:walled gardens don't work (2)

Dan667 (564390) | about 2 years ago | (#42407701)

personally, I like MythTV even better. It will even skip commercials without even needing to press a remote button.

Re:walled gardens don't work (3, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#42407283)

Rumors from some pretty good sources suggest Apple is working on a new TV that will be somewhat different than that product. It will change TV the way the iPhone changed smartphones.

Re:walled gardens don't work (3, Informative)

Kaenneth (82978) | about 2 years ago | (#42407335)

" It will change TV the way the iPhone changed smartphones."

I am filled with so much sarcasm right now, I literally can't decide which snide comment to make.

Re:walled gardens don't work (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42407573)

Oh yes. The iPhone didn't revolutionize smartphones at all. It was so simple to check mail and browse the web using trackballs on blackberry and awkward stylus pokes on Win mobile 5. Typical fandroid.

Re:walled gardens don't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42407217)

Oh, and fair warning, dear TV makers: this isn't rocket science, and if Apple is indeed working on an Apple TV, it WILL eat your lunch. Because they will get it right, and people will fall over themselves to get a well-thought out, easy to use, pretty TV that integrates into the Apple eco-system.

You can't put your iTelevision up on the table at the restaurant to show off. No deal. People do not want a smarttv, they want a dumb display device for the dumb content that comes over cable/satellite. No Texting, Browsing, APPing or AngryBirding, just plain, old, dumb, passive TV.

Re:walled gardens don't work (4, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#42407267)

no useful apps available outside of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus..

+ iPlayer and YouTube. Those apps alone are worth their weight in gold.

requirements to use specific and approved USB cameras or widgets.

I'm afraid that unless you want your TV to run Windows you are probably going to be SOL on that one, since no manufacturer is going to try and support every random ultra low-cost craptastic webcam chipset with a custom driver when they can just sell you one of their own. If the fault lies anywhere it is with the USB standard for not defining a standard driver-neutral webcam interface.

Very slow responsiveness.

Try Panasonic TVs. The higher end models have dual core CPUs and are pretty responsive. You get what you pay for.

Release a smartphone app that allows you to use its interfaces (voice recognition, touchscreen) to control the action on-screen.

Already exists [google.com] , works pretty well.

Re:walled gardens don't work (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 2 years ago | (#42407413)

Most USB devices work with linux drivers. Most smart TVs are running linux. My guess is that the TV manufacturers put extra effort into removeing a lot of the functionality so that they could skimp on hardware.

Re:walled gardens don't work (2)

hey! (33014) | about 2 years ago | (#42406825)

Plus, you have all the problems of a computer, because these TVs *are* computers. I have a Vizio which takes forever to boot up. It's currently out of service because of a problem with the logic board, which needs replacing.

Re:walled gardens don't work (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#42407179)

My parents have one of them. The Netflix app is nice, but no better or worse than watching Netflix via the Wii. Most other apps are just too clunky to use with the remote control. If they allowed motion sensing like the Wiimote, they'd be a lot more useful. As it is, it's a lot like trying to use modern UIs with just the keyboard and no keyboard shortcuts... it's doable, just a whole lot of tab-tab-tab to get where you want to go.

Re:walled gardens don't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42407195)

My Sonys (one TV, one BD player on another TV) have NetFlix, HuluPlus, YouTube, and a lot of other third-party "apps" built in. I'm not sure that fits the definition of a walled garden per se.

Searching YouTube is a pain, and I'd sooner have Hulu than HuluPlus. (I already have NetFlix, not going to pay for HuluPlus too, or BlockBuster, RedBox, etc.) So I put a $500 computer on it with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse and that solves my Hulu and YouTube issues.

And geez Sony, for a $3000+ TV you can't give me a $50 bluetooth keyboard and mouse, or even offer them as an option? That just seems like a no-brainer.

I was somewhere recently, talking about this, and $otherperson said she has NetFlix streaming, and a smart TV, but can't be bothered to activate it on her TV – or maybe just can't figure it out. I expect there's a bunch of non-techies out there in the same boat.

Re:walled gardens don't work (3, Insightful)

rtkluttz (244325) | about 2 years ago | (#42407349)

I would go a step further with that statement... the reason it sucks SO badly is that they try to create revenue streams because they falsly believe they have a captive audience. Hulu is free on a computer, but hulu plus blocks some shows depending on your device. WTF??? I'll just hook my computer to my TV and bypass your damn cripple ware. Stop trying to lock me in and give me value that makes me WANT to stay.

Re:walled gardens don't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42407359)

I think the main purpose of these internet connected devices was that the manufacturers ran out of ideas to keep the prices high. It took some time but LCD/Plasma TV have reached commodity level. First there was the switchover from CRT, then it moved on to 120 HZ, 240HZ, better LCD and plasma screens, LED, thinner and lighter units, 3D, internet. They have run out of ideas to keep people buying new ones and the multiple tiers of models they can sell at different price levels are going away. Just like the 2x, 4x, 8x, 16x, cdrom drives. Eventually only 40x and above were being sold and the price for those dropped like a rock.

Re:walled gardens don't work (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42407459)

That really is my problem with them as well. My cheap ass bluray player can stream video from any uPnP source on my home network, I've yet to encounter a format it doesn't support, yet most of the "smart tvs" I try give me "unsupported format" errors when I try to watch most of the stuff on my network. Generally they only support the most wasteful formats out there, and never the containers that people actually want to use (hell dumbasses, mkv format has most of the features of DVD/BR that we all love). The ones that support multiple audio streams support it so poorly that I only get the stream it chooses or all of them at once.

These are features the freaking TV needs built into it. It's a device to watch video, so all of it's features should be centered around incorporating as many video sources as possible instead of the dumbass spread of random in-house movie stores they tend to support. Would it really kill them to put a freaking cable card slot in the TV, seriously I'm sick of having to have a cable box around when all it's used for is to decrypt the incoming signal.

Re:walled gardens don't work (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#42407861)

Looks like, yet again, we need to wait for google to step in with Android TV or whatever and save us all. How can companies be so blind to the obvious when all the world knows what will work? 10 to 20 years from now you'll hear Sony and everyone else bitching that Google and Valve rule everything they do... how dare they take over the entire market by giving the customers what they want?

Sounds a lot like... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42406637)

the failed MSN TV debacle. People (for the most part) don't want to surf the net on their set top boxes.

ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42406653)

I use internet on my TV but I find almost all TV browsers are poor. When I do watch media on my TV its mainly because I don't want advertisements in my face. I much rather want advertisements in my face whilst playing games, apparently, because that's where they all are starting to pop up.

Because it's a goddamned mess! (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#42406659)

300 different online video apps, no clue how to find the TV show or movie I want to watch. And when I do find it, no way to tell it to look for it free first (before amazon hits me up for $6 to rent it).

Re:Because it's a goddamned mess! (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 years ago | (#42407115)

I don't even have a cable/antenna connection on my smart TV. I just have connected a laptop in the garage to it and I watch my torrented series and movies on it, so it's just a smart monitor. I just use the remote to switch it on and to switch on 3D for the movies requiring it.

I got a keyboard which lights up when I come near it so that I can type in the dark and a large touchpad for the couch.

Let's think about this... (3, Insightful)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about 2 years ago | (#42406667)

When you expand a TV's capabilities outwards far enough what do you get?

A PC? A mini-PC? aka a computer.
Right now they act more like an embedded machine with preset apps & software limitations.
They'd have to have an app market & flash based storage for one, but let's think even more (head hurt? not really),
I can use my TV as a monitor making it a computer and the latest FF & IE > anything on that Sony for web browsing + I get a USB keyboard (I already own) to use, that kind of helps. The same goes for the rest of the apps including netflix, which I have a big red button for on my remote, the PC version is more stable, faster, and overall better.

I don't use my TV as a monitor however, so I appreciate the netflix button and the amazon video app all over wifi, can't say I use a whole lot besides that, but the webcam & bluetooth might have some uses every once in a blue moon.

My point is a TV should remain a TV, I'd rather pay for a better image processor than a crappy browser, but if they were to try and make them smarter, they'd have to follow the cell phone's evolution into a smartphone and add similar features in regards to UI design & customization.

Re:Let's think about this... (4, Insightful)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about 2 years ago | (#42406809)

I utterly agree with your sentiment.

The concept of "Smart" TVs is a marketing concept gone terribly wrong. Yes, the technology is here to allow us to do some wonderful things with the internet and through apps, but until a TV can do better than a PC as far as the internet is concerned, or better than a media player than is connected to it, or better than the media server that is connected to that, then why on earth would I want my TV to do any of it?

If I want to pay games, I will do so on a gaming system, not through the TV using the remote as a controller. If I want to watch a movie or show, I will do it via the easiest and most intuitive manner I can find - and that being in the TV is a LONG way off the features and maturity of more specialized items. Heck, when I look for features in a TV, I don't even care about sound, I want it to do nothing more than display a picture that is being supplied to it.

If manufacturers want to ween me off using a western digital media player, make the features of the built-in media player better than those of the western digital player I use. I admit that I did try the Samsung version that came with my TV. It was horrific. If you want me to use *your* software, make it at least as good as what I have - which will make it more convenient to have it built-in and therefore better overall, otherwise, stop wasting my time and money.

Re:Let's think about this... (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about 2 years ago | (#42406917)

Glad I'm not the only one who thinks TV apps are just crappy to begin with, you touched on two major points though, one is Sony & Samsung will ram features down your throat to get their profits up, whether you use them or not, they don't care, especially lately, I have apps on mine to services I've never heard of, much less want to pay for. The other is not so much a point as an observation and that's my older blu-ray player also by Sony has a stable netflixes app in the 100% stability range, go figure, the Bravia one doesn't crash, but every so often it can't be found and you have to refresh from internet apps... I've googled this and that's the way to fix it, unfortunately it comes with a 1 minute (yep 60 seconds)+ wait lag. I've always gotten a laugh out of it trying to watch netflix on it with somebody around and having to explain that this absolutely badass TV w a 980hz max processor is going to make us wait a minute to even boot up the netflix app.

Re:Let's think about this... (1)

future assassin (639396) | about 2 years ago | (#42407261)

If I want to pay games, I will do so on a gaming system, not through the TV using the remote as a controller.

We use a Logitech K400 and two XBox controllers to play emulators, Humble Bundle games and STEAM.

Re:Let's think about this... (1)

citylivin (1250770) | about 2 years ago | (#42407291)

look at the bright side though, when people start ditching their smart tv's as their apps start getting older and buggier and buggier, there will be plenty of nice free hardware available on the curbside. Then some future open source project - ddwr-tv - will allow us to flash new firmwares to them!

Its amazing what some people throw away as "broken"

Re:Let's think about this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42406839)

I stopped reading at "& IE". Your post immediately became junk when you typed the "E".

Re:Let's think about this... (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about 2 years ago | (#42406869)

The simple solution here is don't ever become a web developer :) I've used FF for all my browsing, since v1.x, & probably before you knew what IE stood for...

Re:Let's think about this... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42406885)

I remember using it when it was called Phoenix.

Re:Let's think about this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42406951)

So you never go to a site which requires IE?

No surprise (5, Informative)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | about 2 years ago | (#42406687)

I spent around 3300$(converted to $) a few years ago on a so called "smart TV" from Samsung. Less than a year after I bought it, they stopped updating the software. They never fixed it's problems with remember subtitles settings.
The "Smart TV" part never got to be in any usable state and now after Netflix has entered my country, it is clear that this model will never get a downloadable app for Netflix.

So, no, I am not going to spend YET more money on a new TV when it is capable of showing a picture. Although I would have liked to have a all-in-one box, I guess it is not possible so I still have to buy boxes and then still use the tv as a monitor.

Re:No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42407027)

I really like the samsung smart tv, but artificial restrictions on youtube is bullshit.

Re:No surprise (2)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#42407169)

I spent around 3300$(converted to $) a few years ago on a so called "smart TV" from Samsung. Less than a year after I bought it, they stopped updating the software. They never fixed it's problems with remember subtitles settings.
The "Smart TV" part never got to be in any usable state and now after Netflix has entered my country, it is clear that this model will never get a downloadable app for Netflix.

So, no, I am not going to spend YET more money on a new TV when it is capable of showing a picture. Although I would have liked to have a all-in-one box, I guess it is not possible so I still have to buy boxes and then still use the tv as a monitor.

...but but but... I think that's the business model. You buy a TV, find that the apps are crap, and that you need to buy another TV for some of the apps to work, and then another TV comes along where more features work, so you have to have that, and so on in incremental improvements. It keeps workers in China, helpdesk people in India, and marketing people in the US all employed. As an added bonus, since the TVs are flat, the old ones stack really well in landfills.

I didn't buy my smart 3d TV for those features... (1)

megalomaniacs4u (199468) | about 2 years ago | (#42406695)

I have a smart 3dtv, I bought that model because it was the cheapest way to get an LCD/LED backlit TV with enough HDMI sockets for my gear.

All the cheap non-smart/non-3d TV on the market in my price range and target screen size maxed out at 2 HDMI sockets, moving up to a smart TV gained me an extra HDMI and 3D... Moving up a model again gained another HDMI...

I use none of the smart tv features - my dvr does them better...

Re:I didn't buy my smart 3d TV for those features. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42406749)

No one buys them for these features.

I am buying a 60" 3d tv soon, try to find one that does not have these pointless features. I don't have cable nor an antenna it will purely be for my HTPC and PS3.

Apps suck, but works great as a media player (1)

89cents (589228) | about 2 years ago | (#42406753)

Yes, I agree the apps are useless, but my Samsung SmartTV is great for playing .mp4 and .mkv files. It will even play .mt2s files you can find on Blu-Ray disks. I just plug in a 1 TB WD Passport portable hard drive to my TV, and use this as my media center. No extra devices need to be turned on. It can also play directly from computer shares, but my wireless access of the TV to the living room is quite poor.

Remember Web TV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42406783)

William Shatner promised this was the next big thing!

Re:Remember Web TV? (1)

Raistlin77 (754120) | about 2 years ago | (#42406891)

WebTV, haha! Someone brought one to me a few months ago that they bought at a garage sale for $50. He wanted me to show him how to use it. After I finally got through the laughter and explained to him how worthless it was, he promptly took it back to the garage sale and somehow managed to get his $50 back.

Re:Remember Web TV? (2)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#42407099)

WebTV, when even the keyboard was an *option* for using the Internet. You had AOLers, and then you really scraped the bottom of the barrel in Usenet with WebTVers.

"SmartTVs" are WebTV but with even less functionality and more walled-garden. It's simply better to have a dumb device that only receives signal from various devices like computers, game consoles, and video-storage devices and acts like a "receiver" of sorts, much like how a stereo receiver takes input from various audio sources.

This "television cum internet terminal" was always a dumb idea, mostly because instead of being used to enable people, such devices are used to separate people from their money in the crudest ways possible.

And manufacturers wonder why the uptake isn't as much as they'd hope.


It Should be Simple (but it's not) (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42406785)

DVD players have this mostly figured out (game consoles as well I guess) if I'm going to plug a video playing device to my network it better damn well play videos FROM MY NETWORK, simple right?

I should be able to attach to a network share or DLNA server or hit up any number of services and just pull content across the wire. Any content. Content of my own choosing.

I shouldn't have to bounce out to the internet to do it

I shouldn't have to verify who I am

I shouldn't have to log in to anything

But nope, all we get are little toy apps and NETFLIX which is hamstrung by ancient covenants that adhere to imaginary lines where content may exist on only one side.

Save the money you'd flush down the toilet buying an SMRT television and just buy a set top media box.

If it isn't plainly obvious I'm getting pretty fucking sick of all this VAST technology being used to deliver a half-assed solution that can be solved with a cheap "unlocked" DVD player I bought at the mall in Chinatown and Plex Media Server running on my 7 year old XP machine.

we need some kind of cable / satellite gateway box (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#42406795)

we need some kind of cable / satellite gateway box that let's use your own boxes / tv's linked useing a conman system. With no per tv / box outlet fees or mirroring.

Wholesale vs. Net TV Services ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42406829)

OK, so most people watch TV on their Internet-Ready TV. When all that is available is Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, Redbox, and maybe some other obscure media sites, what exactly do you expect people to view on their TV's over the Internet?

Do Internet based games run on my TV? What controller would I use? Can I play flash games in the built-in browser? (Actually not sure on this one ...) Would I necessarily want to? Were Mfgr's expecting people to switch solely to Internet only media portals, completely ignoring what's coming in over Coax/Dish/etc..? If so, why?

Is bandwidth an issue? Are people hitting their monthly caps, or are media sources being deprioritized, some of the fears we had during the 'Net Neutrality' broohaha a while back?

This sounds like an 'if you build it, they will come' scenario. Well they built it. Sadly, the content online isn't their for them to come to. Or perhaps the TV and Advertising cartels still want their share of the cake when moving across to different distribution mediums. They don't like the contracts being proposed for Internet distribution, so why bother jumping into that viewing space.

Case in point, why does it cost $20 a month for HBO Online (Internet portal), yet I can get HBO through my Cable provider for an additional $10? And that's 3 HBO channels! I'm sure someone will say this is false equivalence, but the point remains. Same content is available afaik, so why the monetary discrepancy? Contracts! Which you nor I have any control over.

Not Surprised (1)

organgtool (966989) | about 2 years ago | (#42406835)

I have a "Smart" TV and I've never attempted to use it other than a monitor because I assume the "Smart" features are difficult to set up as well as broken and/or crippled. For instance, my TV may have access to Hulu, but I know for a fact that some networks prevent devices other than PCs from accessing their content. That is one of many reasons why I set up an HTPC with a four-tuner card running MythBackend and XBMC. Yes, it was incredibly painful to set up, mostly thanks to confusion and quirks in mythtv-setup, but now that it is running, it is incredibly slick. Live TV, DVR, downloaded movies, TV shows, and music, YouTube, Hulu, and Pandora all running through a slick and responsive interface. The next step is to buy some Roku HDs and install a Plex client to hook into MythBackend and sling live TV to remote televisions (and say goodbye to renting cable boxes).

I do believe there will come a time when people actually use features of Smart TVs, but first they will need to be convinced that the setup process is easy and that the features aren't broken due to poor implementation or greed from the networks.

People want TV (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 2 years ago | (#42406883)

Both articles are quite right. TV is a medium. It's a successful medium like music and books. In this case, people want to be told an audiovisual story. They don't really care to interact. There are other media for that that do that job better.

What people do like is better delivery mechanisms. MP3 players and kindles allow data to be delivered across the internet. So do smart TVs but not very well.

The big problem is that people aren't using internet streaming/downloading. Why? I don't know but I know why I don't. Because it doesn't behave how I want it to. I don't want to splash out on a TV that supports iPlayer, netflix and LoveFilm (UK centric here but the same could apply to the US) unless I know it will also support the next media provider that I might be interested in. I want a standard here. I want to buy TV that supports a standardised streaming mechanism that is supported by all these providers. If I upgrade my TV I can be sure to find one that works. If I switch to a different streaming video service I know it will work.

I do think wired.com has a valid point as well. From my experience with Tivo, the apps that are available are difficult to use. I need to navigate through menus which make it feel very much like the afterthought it is.

So, where are all the realists on slashdot (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42406893)

when it comes to 3D printing or colonizing space?

Re:So, where are all the realists on slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42407299)

Busy mining bitcoins so they can buy 3d printers to print spacecraft?

Too slow.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42406931)

When I was looking at TV's 2 years ago, Smart TV's were the current rage, sold at a premium of $200-$500 more than the "stupid" one's. I went with a dumb TV and simply spent extra for the higher-end model with better color and contrast. However, I did get a Blu-ray player with "smart" features at the same time. So far, i've used the smart features of the Blu-ray player twice in two years. It's terribly slow, for example: it takes 15-20 seconds for Netflix to load. Each button press to scroll left/right/up/down within an app can take a full second to respond, and many times the apps fail to load at all.

To date, there has been one update to the apps that didn't improve performance at all and simply removed an app that was no longer working. I have no faith that the manufacturer will ever update it any further to improve performance or even maintain compatibility with the various services.

The best solution was simply to move my computer into the living room and hook it up to the TV. I use it for everything now: iTunes, Amazon VOD, Netflix, Justin.TV, Youtube, and so on. Performance is screaming fast since it's also my gaming rig, and updating is under my control.

Over the years i've tried various external devices connected to the TV like the AppleTV, Roku, WDTV, and Boxee Box. They all sucked compared to having a proper computer hooked up.

My "Dumb-TV" Technology. (5, Funny)

MindPrison (864299) | about 2 years ago | (#42406985)

I have what I like to call a "Dumb-TV", made by the brand Denver Electronics. No seriously, it's the dumbest TV on the planet. It's marketed as a "Smart-TV", but read on, and make your own judgement:

It's your typical super feature filled tv, with recording capabilities, Digital TV (DVB-T & C etc.). Media Playback, Pictures, Videos and whatnot...
Wonderful ...if it actually worked...

1) Every time I turn on the TV, the TV goes into Schizo-mode. I'll give you 2 channels today...no...4 channels...if you wait 10 more minutes, maybe 10 channels.
2) If you try to watch video via the scart plug (eg, the DVD player), sometimes it comes up with a message: No activity, want to turn off? (It waits until you press ok or cancel)
3) Sometimes it falls asleep - while still on, then a menu will sit and wait for you, until you press OK. (means...backlight still on, a small square saying "No activity for a while, sleep? OK or CANCEL"
4) When you insert a USB memory...it will let you watch TV for 20 seconds, before this HUGE menu covers the ENTIRE screen, geefully informing you of all your amazing multi-media experiences awaiting you. USB CARD INSERTED - OK? OK or CANCEL... The idiot TV will block your TV viewing until you take action.
5) It's amazing schizophrenic mode will be sure to forget that your USB CARD has already been inserted the last time, so the next time you turn on the TV, it will let you watch TV for half a minute before finally ....UH OH...You have an USB CARD INSERTED...HERE's a GIANT menu to block your TV, now make a choice!!!
6) Sometimes it will FIGHT you for ON/OFF mode. Is it on? Maybe it doesn't WANT to be turned on?! You press ON...the LED indicates that it understands, starts searching but decides to fall asleep instead.. OH you meant ON?! OK...press TWICE...and the TV is ON!
7) And it loves to inform you about useless stuff...such as.... CHANNEL 7 or 9 aren't currently transmitting, want to delete these unused channels? YES, No, Cancel!
8) It'll do this until you run out of channels. :)

Yep, dumb TV technology at it's best.

Re:My "Dumb-TV" Technology. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42407483)


If you live in the US, you should have returned that television. It sounds like it doesn't meet the Fitness for Advertised Purpose test that everything not sold "As-Is" or "Without Warranty" must meet. If you live in the EU, you definitely should return that TV.

I admit to liking the features (2)

mu51c10rd (187182) | about 2 years ago | (#42406987)

I like my Smart TV's apps and internet capability. I much prefer using the builtin Netflix/Hulu+/Amazon apps than running cables to another device. As it is, I ran power into a outlet in the wall behind my mounted TV. No cables, entertainment center or any other furniture are needed. I also got a sound bar mounted right above the TV for better sound. Not everyone wants a PC sitting in their room (and some of us like the simplicity of a single device).

Re:I admit to liking the features (2)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 2 years ago | (#42407157)

I have a Sony Bravia and I got the USB/WiFi adapter more as chuckle than anything else. But it's been fun.

I've used the YouTube and Crackle apps. It has NetFlix and Amazon's movie stores, but I haven't bothered to use them. Usually every few months I'll flip it on, update the Internet content, and see if there's anything new.

But is it life-changing? Nope.

People Said The Same Thing About Smart Phones Too (3, Interesting)

EXTomar (78739) | about 2 years ago | (#42406999)

In my experience, my TV habits have shift radically since getting a Google TV. Instead of connecting a bunch of boxes to it, they've all gone to the older HDTV. Things I've noticed off the top of my head and in no particular order:

- The DLNA features is a necessary thing for all my TVs now. I've relied on less and less live TV due to this feature alone.
- Apps like Netflix run just as well if not more directly when it is on the TV itself instead of a secondary box.
- Since Google TV has Chrome, if there is not an app for something that offers video or a stream I can just browse to it, play it at full screen and enjoy it like watching a TV channel.

The only "traditional" thing I can think that TV does any longer is that it has a console connected to it where the console has duplicate features too which I would never run since they are all on the TV.

I wish it was smart enough to "scrape" a web page that has been book marked for video or audio content or stream and show it like a channel. Although Youtube and Chrome works fine, crossing between them is a still a bit clunky since it requires minimizing one/activating the other but that is something all tablets and phones. I also wish it would have a more intelligent guide where the information on a show should be available across all sources instead of "Now search Live TV", "Now search Internet" etc.

In the end I will admit that I'm not sure having "fancy TV" changed how I use it as much as my taste and habits changed. I no longer spend much time watching "Live TV" where an net aware and internet connected TV has been more useful.

Re:People Said The Same Thing About Smart Phones T (1)

adolf (21054) | about 2 years ago | (#42407581)

I take it that you have a TV with "Google TV" built in.

How does any of your experience differ from having a dumb TV with the "Google TV" functionality in an outboard box?

Show me a survey of Tv users (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42407025)

Who have a TV that supports HD but aren't even aware that they're getting a SD signal.

Heck, I've known people who don't know they have HD channels available to them. They can't understand going to channel 203 instead of 3.

rest of the headline (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#42407037)

'Connected' TVs Mostly Used Just Like the Unconnected Kind...until they get hacked and/or infected. Then they work significantly differently.

Vidoe Game Consoles (4, Informative)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 2 years ago | (#42407041)

Game consoles won the smart TV war. They have more realiable apps. They provide better games. They have better browsers.

Re:Vidoe Game Consoles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42407749)

And no one outside of gamers are using them for that. And even then, not many of those are using it. So that isn't much of a victory.

My 46" Samsung is used for Skype and Netflix... (1)

Assmasher (456699) | about 2 years ago | (#42407053)

...and according to some exploit news, spying on me.

Seriously though, I used Netflix on it constantly (I play comedy shows/specials/stand up on it as background noise during the day - or old movies) and I have it logged into Skype all the time (it has a nice webcam in it) as it makes a great teleconferencing device.

Without a good keyboard though, I'd never use it for inputting text (ye Gods and little boarlets that sounds like torture...)

Vizio Smart TV (2)

theurge14 (820596) | about 2 years ago | (#42407113)

I just purchased a smaller HDTV (32") very recently and I made my purchase based on what many of you would, the screen quality. The Vizio I picked has a brighter and more clear display than the others on the shelf and it has a thinner bezel. Additionally it has built-in WiFi and "Smart TV" features even though the price was the same as the others around it.

The TV has apps for Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and many others. Apparently it checks in with Vizio for firmware updates and app updates on its own, I'm ok with that. I only have a Netflix account so I tried that first. The app interface is nearly identical to the one on the XBOX, so I prefer now to use the TV's built in Netflix then powering on the XBOX and going through all the motions of logging in and launching it. Accessing Netflix with the TV remote is about equally clunky as the XBOX controller so nothing lost or gained through that, but without the added noise of the XBOX fans it's a gain.

It's not like I was seeking these features out, but they do seem to have a place just as long as they don't try to do too much. I have no desire to open a web browser up using a TV remote. However, if there was a way to wirelessly stream a laptop screen to the TV without too much added hardware or software then that would be the way to go. Or control the TV with my touchscreen smartphone. Vizio sells some stupid dongle for the iPhone to accomplish this along with some badly programmed app. No thanks, let me know when it doesn't suck.

Rage against the machine.... (1)

spagthorpe (111133) | about 2 years ago | (#42407143)

Last month I bought my first new TV, having owned a lot of castoffs from friends. A shiny new Panasonic plasma "smart TV". My first thought was that I'd never use that stuff, but the picture was the deciding factor. Since the router was nearby, I went ahead and attached an Ethernet cable to it. Next thing you know, I'm surfing around on the built in Netflix and Amazon Prime apps, and less than a month later, I actually cancelled the cable TV service that I stopped watching.

Maybe it's just that I value my time differently, or that I don't spend hours randomly cruising through the channels on the off chance that I catch a show when I want to watch something. I want something on demand when I have time, and at least on my TV and internet connection combination, Netflix HD looks absolutely amazing.

Of course the cable providers know this, which is why heavy caps are in place in a lot of markets, and why I had to up my internet plan with my ISP to give me a higher cap, but if I was a big TV watcher, I'd still bust it.

meh (1)

jameshofo (1454841) | about 2 years ago | (#42407149)

TV's have a bit of an interface problem when it comes to that, not many average consumers really want a keyboard sitting around in their living room and a lot of the apps that just require the remote tend to suck a lot in days past, such as the youtube search that was woefully underwhelming. I know my grandfather bought a web enabled TV, they just switched from dial-up to get on it, but he didn't use the web before...

the apps suck and are snail slow (2)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#42407171)

my father in law bought a smart TV because the person in best buy sold it to him
the apps suck
they are so slow its like watching trees grow
netflix is OK but the interface is better on the consoles and apple TV
my mom bought a smart TV with no wifi adapter and doesn't want to spend more money

when i showed her my x-box and what it does and explained that a smart TV only streams content for more money she lost interest. when i showed her how to stream russian TV over the internet to my apple TV without a cable sub her interest peaked.

the best smart TV i have is my apple TV. i can stream the apps from my iphones or ipad to the TV. and some apps are custom built for it so you see the picture on the TV and data stays on the device. like the wii u and 3ds do with their multiple screens

Of course I don't need an internet-connected TV (2, Informative)

Khyber (864651) | about 2 years ago | (#42407253)

You know why they suck? Because we have devices far more powerful than what they put in these TVs, which are more capable in the department of handling internet stuff.

This is why my 32" Samsung is a TV/monitor ONLY. Every other device I have hooked to it has all the 'smart' capability I need.

I use my Samsung Smart TV (2)

BenJeremy (181303) | about 2 years ago | (#42407295)

We mostly watch Netflix, YouTube, etc... and also use it to connect to our DLNA server for movies and TV shows.

Crappy Javascript games and apps, though? Why would I?

Still... as long as the "Smart" in the TV is geared towards watching content, we will always use it.

For our "dumb" other TVs we are forced to use "Smart" Blu-ray players to get our content.

How can I remoe ads from my smart TV? (1)

Crookdotter (1297179) | about 2 years ago | (#42407301)

I don't like paying for the thing and then it serving me ads over the internet. Can anyone detail an easy way to find where my TV is getting these ads from and block / replace them?

I've thought about a linux transparent proxy between the TV and my router, analysing the logs, then writing a script to replace the offending ad, but that just seems like too much bother, although replacing the ad with my own image has a definite appeal. Is there a decent router than can block a specific address or two to stop these ads?

Sucks - Canadian Style (2)

rueger (210566) | about 2 years ago | (#42407387)

I bought Sony BluRay specifically because I wanted to access content via the 'net instead of paying robber baron cable company prices.

My immediate thought was NetFlix, until I found out that we low-life Canadians only are allowed to access one quarter of the content available in the US. Despite paying the same price. So as well as paying Netflix their $8 a month, I pay a second company [blockless.com] another $5 a month so that it looks like we're living in the US. Of course the Sony box is the one Internet unit in the house that won't let you set the DNS address - despite being the only thing that needs it, so the entire house is now pretending to be American.

I still have to say that Netflix interface sucks big time, either on the 'net, or on the TV. The only way to use it is to search, as there's no sensible browse method.

Because we're in Canada our Sony box doesn't get us stuff like Hulu or Google TV or Amazon Prime. We do get Crackle. Oh joy. And the option to pay Sony on a pay per view basis for whatever they're flogging.

What I found with this box: I can't use the built in browser to play back content on the web. I mean really folks?? My hometown TV station streams their newscast, but you won't allow me to see it? There's a thing called vRadio that plays streaming radio stations, but again you only get what Sony decides you want. There's no option to add other stations.

Gave Servioo a whirl, and Plex, but haven't had the time or patience to figure out why they won't get video from my Ubuntu box to the TV via the Sony.

Really, my complaint isn't that I'm locked into Sony's choices, it's that I'm locked out of 95% of the Internet.

Including, and this really surprised me, any and all sports programming.

I guess I'm spoiled by using Linux and Android/Cyanogenmod, but I really feel that this box needs to be jailbroken so that the user can make full use of it's capabilities.

Roku TV (2)

na1led (1030470) | about 2 years ago | (#42407397)

I'm really surprised we haven't seen a TV with Roku built in. IMO Roku is the best IPTV box out there when it comes to simple design interface, and lots of Internet channels. If they could add UPnP it would be even better. I'm curious about Ubuntu TVs which should be coming next year.

My kingdom for a keyboard (1)

aXis100 (690904) | about 2 years ago | (#42407513)

I have an LG Smart TV, and it has USB ports, but it wont accept a USB keyboard. As far as I can tell you have to buy some proprietary air mouse thing.

If the keyboard worked I'd be using it for youtube and web browsing regularly, but unfortunately they have made it too painful to use. My XBMC box plays media far better and I can use a regular keyboard if I want, so the SmartTV features rarely get used.

Re:My kingdom for a keyboard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42407791)

Agreed. And not some halfassed over priced one like samsung, it should be bluetooth standard based or an app on your phone/tablet.

Consumer confusion (4, Interesting)

scotts13 (1371443) | about 2 years ago | (#42407665)

My Significant Other can afford the best of everything; not stupid but not a computer/internet specialist. She has a high-end internet-enabled TV, an internet-enabled BluRay player, and a TiVo (with internet features). All have the ability to access, say, YouTube, but each component has a slightly different interface and capabilities. She's gotten lost and frustrated in the interface(s) so many times (Was it the YouTube viewer accessed through the TV, or the other one? What interface on the receiver do I use?) that she no longer uses ANY of the features. She's locked all the remotes but the one for the TiVo in the closet; she doesn't even play DVD's anymore, because if she switches to that input she's afraid she won't find her way back.

Thanks, consumer electronics industry.

Not with my 2 SmartTVs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42407753)

I have 2 smart TVs. One for the wife. She watches 'normal' tv about 85% of the time and Netflix the other. My TV watches about 10% TV and the rest Netflix, Youtube downloads, and my own video library.
As 'normal tv' today is worse than ever, I don't see how people can watch it more than an hour a week.

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