What happens when your favourite app suddenly disappears from your Smart TV? We’ve heard from people who’ve bought Smart TVs, only for their apps to go AWOL after a software update.
There’s a dependability about the good old television.
You can be pretty much certain that a James Bond movie will be shown every Christmas, that Simon Cowell will find some new and lucrative spin on a talent show, and that ITV will cut to commercial at the worst moment during a football match.
But now that TVs have merged with the internet, things are a little different.
The benefits of getting smart
Smart TVs can connect to the internet via wi-fi or a cable, giving you access to a range of apps, such as BBC iPlayer, 4oD, Facebook and more.
Plugging into the internet allows TV makers to do some nifty things. Not only can they launch fancy new apps like the ones mentioned above, they can beam new content over the digital airwaves, and can even allow you to control your TV with a mobile phone app.
All sounds great, huh? Well yes, it is, but there is a downside.
When Smart TV updates go bad
Earlier in the summer, we were contacted by Which? member Dave Arthur who had lost access to BBC iPlayer on his Panasonic TX-L37E30B Smart TV for around six weeks. We contacted Panasonic and helped Mr Arthur sort out the problem. But after featuring the case in Which? magazine, we heard from other members who’d also had problems.
After further investigation, Panasonic found that an update to iPlayer by the BBC had affected some Panasonic Smart TVs and smart Blu-ray players in June this year.
Panasonic and the BBC worked quickly to remedy the situation, but some Panasonic TV owners have recently told us that they’re still having troubles. Anyone still affected should contact Panasonic’s UK support centre for assistance.
Not so Smart TV
What the above case illustrates is that uniting the TV with the internet has brought great benefits, but has also exposed drawbacks. Internet-based services just aren’t as dependable as regulated TV channels.
We recently found that 38% of Smart TV owners regularly use Google Maps on their TVs – and yet most Smart TV makers have stopped offering it as an app. Google Maps’ disappearance could well be down to a change in strategy by Google, rather than the TV makers themselves. However, this further illustrates that smart TV apps aren’t quite as dependable as TV channels, since TV makers are somewhat reliant on the whims of their third-party app developers.
Smart TVs put great services at your fingertips, but you’d expect more to be done to ensure that owners don’t miss the unmissable. After all, there’d be an outcry if BBC1 suddenly disappeared from someone’s TV for six weeks…
If you’re a Smart TV owner, have you been affected by favourite apps going AWOL or other similar issues?