The number of U.S. consumers that are planning to purchase a smart TV has nearly doubled in less than a year. More than 10% of U.S. broadband households plan to buy a smart TV this year as compared to the 6% that said they intended to do so in the first half of 2011, according to Parks Associates’ “Consumer Decision Process: Summer Update.”

The households Parks’ researchers surveyed represent 50% of the 1/4 of U.S. broadband households planning to purchase a flat-panel TV. They anticipate spending $1,000 on average to purchase a smart TV, which Parks defined as an HDTV set with built-in Internet access capabilities.

“Advertising campaigns from manufacturers such as Sony, Samsung, and VIZIO have boosted consumer awareness and interest, making connectivity a must-have feature for new CE products,” said Tricia Parks, Parks Associates CEO. “Younger consumers especially want the extra benefits on their new TVs of going to the web for social networking and on-demand video or subscription entertainment options.”

Streaming and downloading movies, TV shows and music, along with accessing social media sites, are the preferred entertainment and social networking activities of those who have bought connected consumer electronic (CE) devices, including Blu-ray players and game consoles, as well as smart TVs, Parks finds.

In this latest report, Parks also found that 19% of U.S. broadband households intend to purchase a tablet in 2011. “Apple is the preferred brand by far, capturing over 40% of planned tablet purchases for the rest of 2011,” Parks said. “Apple has a very strong reputation in consumers’ minds, with over 70% of consumers familiar with the brand rating Apple as ‘innovative’ and ‘cool,’ although considerably fewer rate it as ‘affordable.’”

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