How We Watch TV Tomorrow?: Viewers' Perception Towards Interactivity on Smart TV

How We Watch TV Tomorrow?: Viewers' Perception Towards Interactivity on Smart TV

Bu Zhong (Pennsylvania State University, State College, USA) and Fan Yang (University at Albany-State University of New York, Albany, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/IJABIM.2018100104
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Smart TV is so called largely due to its interactivity. Without the interactivity functions, smart TV can hardly provide new services beyond traditional TV. This research studies 283 viewers' perceptions toward four key interactivity functions of smart TV: the interaction between viewers and TV, between viewers and friends, between viewers and programming, and viewers' interaction with products. The findings show that the viewer's residence was a significant moderator in the preference for the interactivity functions. Viewers from developed regions liked the four functions better than those in underdeveloped regions. Social media habits and ICT power usage are positively associated with the preference, while need for cognition, age and gender had little effect. The findings can help understand the evolving viewing habits in the social media era, whose theoretical and practical implications should benefit TV makers and content producers to provide an interactive TV viewing experience.
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Literature Review

Social TV provides a mediated TV viewing experience incorporating watching TV and staying connected with online friends at the same time, which is “a rewarding social experience” due to the enhanced social interaction (Cohen & Lancaster, 2014, p. 512). Prior studies mostly examined social TV by treating it as a co-viewing practice of TV programming and social media information, during which a second screen like a smartphone, a tablet or a laptop computer is involved (Cohen & Lancaster, 2014; Shin, 2009; Shin et al., 2013). In this scenario, viewers are multitasking on TV screen and ancillary devices. Few studies, however, had examined the phenomenon by studying how viewers interact with TV content and friends on the same TV screen.

To attract social media users, TV manufacturers work hard to make their products stay relevant in the living room as an entertainment and information center (Shin et al., 2013). This requires their TV sets to be growingly connected with the Internet and integrated with Web 2.0 features, such as sharing comments on the programming and shopping for products appearing in TV shows. Smart TV represents the trend of technological convergence that combines computers, set-top boxes and TV sets to bring an interactive viewing experience to viewers. Albeit researchers recorded a slight drop of TV watching among young people, the Internet has been found enhancing TV viewing due to the interactivity functions on smart TV (MarketingChart, 2014). Thus, this is a critical time to study viewers’ perception toward interactivity functions on smart TV.

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