Internet TV Takes Global Market by Storm
As 2010 wraps up, end-of-year forecasts show that Internet-enabled TVs are on the rise worldwide. In fact, about 21 percent of all TVs shipped globally in 2010 had Internet connectivity, according to a projection by Display Search.
According to the report, about 21 percent of all TVs shipped worldwide in 2010 were Internet-enabled; China was one of the largest early adopters of the connected sets, with about 12 percent of all flat panel sets sold in the country this past year having Web capabilities.
Display Search expects the rest of the world to catch up quickly, though, and forecast that demand for Internet-TVs in Eastern Europe will grow from 2.5 million in 2010 to over 10 million in 2014. The category is supposed to grow to over 122 million units sold in 2014.
"The looming risk now is what happens if every connected TV gets used," said Paul Gray, director of European TV Research. "With Netflix accounting for 20 percent of peak Internet traffic in the United States, it’s reasonable to ask if the infrastructure can cope. Set makers need to understand that broadband access does not scale endlessly like broadcast reception."
It is expected that the connected TV market will diverge, with basic sets carrying enhanced broadcast services such as Hbb.TV and YouView, while the Smart TV segment will enjoy configurable applications, sophisticated search and navigation engines, as well as advanced user interfaces.
While there is no set definition for Smart TV just yet, most have a few key features in common, such as Internet access, advanced user interface and the ability to have additional applications installed.
"Current shipment levels combined with consumer feedback suggests that Google TV is not yet the Smart TV of people’s dreams," Gray added. "While adding Internet capabilities into the TV is powerful, it needs to be as effortless as channel surfing. However, Google TV has given a good lead into what works."