Smart TV or Not Smart TV?

Everything is SMART these days. Smart cars, smart phones, and recently my roommate got a Smart TV … now we worried, were WE smart enough for the tv? It says all you have to do is plug it in download a few apps and bam! Never leave the room again. (or maybe that is just us)

So, I decided to take advantage of an assignment to test out just how smart we and/or the TV were, to create a survey regarding the usability of this new addition to our technology.

The goal for this study was to observe and evaluate the usability of the TCL 32-inch 720p Roku Smart LED TV 2015 Model television with remote control through a new purchaser survey. This device allows viewers access to over 3,000 streaming channels, cable TV, gaming consoles, and other devices without changing the hdmi input. This television has a high definition display screen, dual band wifi, and a simplified 20-button remote. Viewers may also use this device to receive photos, videos, and music from their smartphone or tablet, as well as cast movies and web videos to the TV with Netflix and YouTube mobile applications. The system utilizes Roku streaming with a centralized search mechanism. The average retail price for this television is $159.99. This study provides information regarding a first time user’s – my roommate and dear friend Wendy – interactive experience with this television, including potential difficulties encountered during the initial “set up” process, as well as to see if she would find problems and suggest potential improvements and recommendations for enhanced future experiences.

During the session I asked Wendy to perform four tasks and subsequently fill out a user survey rating this experience. After all the tasks were completed, I asked her to rate the television on a 5-point Likert Scale with measures ranging from Strongly Disagree (1) to Strongly Agree (5).

As I mentioned before, the “participant” for this study was my roommate Wendy, as she had recently purchased this television and spent a few days worrying about the set up directions before she had taken it out of its box. I therefore asked her to allow me to try and evaluate her initial use of this television through a usability survey.

Wendy is an unmarried, 34 year old, female college graduate, a daily user of her smartphone, other televisions, streaming services through a tablet and TV, computer, apps, and high-tech equipment relative to her profession. She is also familiar with the Roku device that is attached to a different television in our house, and not a component of the device. This was her first exposure and use of a Roku Smart TV.

Overall Wendy found the TCL Roku Smart Television well designed and easy to use. She “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that switching between functions, accessing YouTube, storing and uploading photographs, streaming movies, listening to music, and connecting the TV to a smartphone were intuitive and easy to accomplish as tasks. The one serious and detrimental usage flaw found with the television concerned the remote control’s design. The volume buttons are located on the side of the remote, where the pressure of a user’s hand when holding the remote can and often does inadvertently change the volume of the television. Which is weird. This whole thing is meticulously designed – and yet they made a silly mistake like that. Overall however, she would recommend it to a friend, so I am sure my next TV will indeed be very smart.