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NPD: 27% of Global Q1 TV Shipments Featured Web-Connectivity

12 Jun, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

More than a quarter (27%) of all televisions shipped in the first quarter included Internet connectivity, up from 20% during 2010, according to a new NPD DisplaySearch report.

Led by Japan, where 46% of TV units featured Web connectivity, and followed by Western Europe (36%), so-called smart TVs continue to infiltrate the consumer market, underscoring the opportunities and demand for Internet-based entertainment.

Indeed, in China, which is becoming a hotbed for Hollywood theatrical fare, 32% of TV units included Internet access.

Most connected TVs access finite services from broadcasters such as Hbb.TV in Europe; BBC’s iPlayer in the United Kingdom; Hulu, Netflix and YouTube in the United States; and AcTVila in Japan.

According to NPD, a smart TV can access a branded portal and service, not just publicly available platforms such as YouTube, or broadcaster services. Within this definition of smart TV, there are subcategories that differ in the nature of the control of the service offering: Set maker controlled sets have unique services from a portal. No two brands are alike, and the services may be configurable as apps, while “consumer controlled” sets allow the consumer to access the whole internet. These sets typically have a browser inside.

The report indicates that nearly 20% of all TVs shipped worldwide were smart TVs, the highest being in Japan with 36%, with China a close runner-up with 30%. The feature was also strong in Western Europe, where more than 29% of Q1 2012 shipments were of smart TVs. North American smart TVs shipped trailed at 18%.

By region, the largest number of shipments was in China, with almost 3 million smart TVs shipped. Western Europe was second, with 2.1 million units shipped, while North America was third, with nearly 1.4 million units shipped. The report found that open Internet access is dominant in China, as consumers have a shortage of structured services (i.e. apps) and want to look elsewhere for content to view. However, 2012 models from all major brands incorporate browsers, and this feature trend is likely to proliferate outside of China as well.

“Connected TV is largely driven by content,” said Paul Gray, director of TV Electronics Research for NPD DisplaySearch. “Where there are compelling things to watch, the Internet becomes a major source of entertainment. We are now seeing a second stage of evolution as Internet video relocates from a PC screen onto the TV screen. In particular, Chinese consumers have found plenty to watch on the internet, so internet connectivity follows.”

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