Dutch consumer association warns of disappearing Smart TV apps

26 Sep 2018 | Rasmus Larsen |

The Dutch consumer association has received hundreds of complaints from owners of Smart TVs who have lost access to apps, according to Broadband TV news. They will raise the problem with manufacturers and recommend that apps remain functional for at least 6 years.

Apps disappearing from Smart TVs

In recent years, Dutch Consumentenbond (Consumers’ Association) has received a number of complaints, prompting it to create an official consumer hotline in March 2018.

After the first six months, almost 300 Smart TV owners have filed a complaint. Many complaints concern TVs that are three to five years old. About half of the complaints concern the NPO public service app and 20% of complaints concern YouTube.

The association also said that 63% of complaints concern Samsung TVs but it should be noted that Samsung has a commanding market share in the Netherlands. Philips TVs represented 21%, Sony TVs 6%, and LG TVs 5%.


Smart TV


Apps must work for at least 6 years

Dutch Consumentenbond will “raise this problem with manufacturers and push for solutions”. The association also emphasized that it finds the current situation “unacceptable”.

- “For devices connected to the internet, it is essential that safety and functionality are guaranteed for a reasonable period of time. Consumers consciously buy a TV on which they can use apps and pay for it. Surely it is unacceptable that after three years the smart-TV part of the TV will no longer work properly. We will raise this problem with manufacturers and push for solutions. Consumers who recognize the problem of apps that disappear from their smart-tv, can still place their complaint at the hotline,” said Bart Combée, director of Consumentenbond.

According to Broadband TV news, the association expects manufacturers to do the following:
  1. Measures to keep apps and software on smart-TVs working for the duration of their use, for example by making agreements with app-makers
  2. Promise that important apps on smart TVs will continue to work for at least 6 years. In other cases, consumers will receive an alternative solution or compensation; and.
  3. Offer compensation to consumers who are now victims, for example in the form of a free media player to continue using apps.

It is not entirely clear from where the period of 6 years originate but it likely has to do with the average replacement rate for TVs. In the past, consumers in Europe have replaced their living room TVs every sixth to seventh year on average.

TV manufacturers have responded by arguing that it is up to the app developers to maintain and update their apps.

Of course, the problem is not limited to the Netherlands. There have been many examples of apps disappearing in the US and Europe. For example, YouTube has been removed from many Smart TV. When Netflix first entered Europe, the app was blocked on several TVs, despite being perfectly functional. In the UK, BBC has removed its iPlayer app from some Smart TVs, and in the US Sony has removed its PlayStation Now app that gave users access to PlayStation games. These cases are just the tip of the iceberg.

- Source: Broadband TV news



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