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Report: TV-Connected Devices to Top 2 Billion Units by 2017

29 Jan, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The global installed base of TV-centric connected devices surpassed 1 billion units in 2013 and will exceed 2 billion by 2017, driven by smart TVs, IP-enabled STBs, game consoles, Blu-ray Disc players and low-cost digital media adapters, according to the latest research from Futuresource Consulting.

TV sales account for 70% of traditional audio visual consumer electronics market value, and smart features and connectivity are the latest in a stream of innovations to sustain the industry, drive replacement demand and encourage consumers to upgrade to the next big thing.

“Forty-four percent of the 225 million TVs shipped worldwide in 2013 offered smart features, and consumers now increasingly expect these enhancements on mid-range as well as high end models,” Jack Wetherill, senior market analyst with Futuresource said in a statement. “By 2017, over 80% of all TV sets sold worldwide will be enabled for online connectivity and smart features. As a result, apps are also an opportunity for manufacturers to differentiate with unique features and content.”

According to the consulting firm, three years ago, less than 30% of people who owned a Smart TV actually connected it to the Internet. This trend has now risen to 68%, with the U.S. leading at a 79% connection rate. Retailers input suggests consumers are attracted to smart features like gesture control and facial recognition, which may be harnessed for networked applications longer term.

“As fixed and mobile broadband both continue to evolve in speed and capacity, alternative service-level infrastructures are being created to reach the huge base of IP devices with on-demand and simulcast content at quality close to, or matching, that of broadcast,” Wetherill said. “Both TV-centric and mobile multimedia IP devices will drive growth in online content distribution, but it is clear that consumers like the personal nature of second screen, and tablets will elevate multiplatform consumption to a whole new level.”

However, despite the rise of over-the-top video and connected devices, the set-top box market remains robust, sustained by a new generation of devices that integrate DVR functionality with broadcast, cable and IP networks to provide easier time-shifting, content searches, navigation and on-demand access to content.

Set-top shipments remain high — 220 million units in 2013, dominated by pay-TV providers who are upgrading to integrate IP services with broadcast content and on-demand functionality via advanced user interfaces.

Game consoles continue to be the most popular TV-centric media player, with both Microsoft and Sony building entertainment content and service partnerships to add value for their networked users. With the recent release of Xbox One and PlayStation 4, games consoles are high volume — 31 million units worldwide in 2013 — and moving into a new cycle, though the overall market is expected to gradually contract from 2015 onwards, according to Futuresource.

“In parallel with all this, ownership of personal multimedia devices has soared from 2.8 billion in 2013, on track to reach 4.4 billion by 2017 as tablets and smartphones become ubiquitous and supplant PCs as alternative viewing platforms,” Wetherill said.


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