Connected TV

Smart TVs accounted for 27% of television sets shipped globally in 2012 and will continue increasing to make up more than half the market by 2015, according to a new report from IHS Screen Digest.

2012 smart TV shipments totaled 66 million units from 52 million in 2011, a 27% year-to-year increase, according to IHS Screen Digest TV Technology Service. IHS Screen Digest expects smart TV shipments to rise to 141 million and account for 55% of global television shipments by 2015 – making up more than half the market for the first time. Smart TVs growing share of shipments will continue, according to IHS Screen Digest’s forecast, reaching 173 million units in 2014 and accounting for nearly two-thirds of the global total.

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“Despite a decline in global television shipments in 2012, consumer demand for Internet-connected televisions soared during the year—and the surge in sales shows no signs of abating,” commented IHS TV systems analyst Veronica Thayer. “Smart TVs are rapidly joining the mainstream as manufacturers refine their products to add new features and to make them easier to use.”

Partnerships between smart TV manufacturers and pay-TV service providers is one of the most attractive features smart TVs offer buyers, according to IHS Screen Digest. “Using smart TVs as a client device in a pay-TV household can help TV manufacturers distinguish their products in the marketplace, reduce customer premises equipment costs for operators and ultimately benefit consumers,” according to the market research company’s press release.

The proliferation of proprietary smart TV platforms is creating problems elsewhere along the smart TV ecosystem, among television app developers in particular, IHS Screen Digest notes. Looking to develop open standards for smart TV platforms LG Electronics, TP Vision for Philips smart TVs, and Toshiba formed the Smart TV Alliance in June 2012. Panasonic joined the alliance in January and more companies are expected to join this year, adding momentum to the initiative.

The “smart-ready” TV concept is also spurring openness and innovation and increasing competition in the smart TV market space, according to IHS Screen Digest. That concept enables any television with a mobile high-definition link (MHL) to be turned into a smart TV by using a Roku Streaming Stick. The “smart-ready” concept originated in a partnership involving Roku, Coby, Hisense, TCL and Westinghouse announced at CES 2013 this January. “These types of partnerships are highly valuable to second- and third-tier brands that wish to compete in the smart TV market,” IHS commented.

Google has made some improvements to Google TV since it was first launched in the market, adding voice search and a new TV guide called “PrimeTime,” though “this has yet to resonate with consumers,” according to IHS Screen Digest.

Sony introduced the first Google TV set in 2010, but is now only selling it as a separate box that’s similar to the Vizio Co-Star and Hisense Pulse, according to IHS. LG Electronics continues to offer smart TVs with Google TV on screen sizes from 42 to 60 inches, IHS added.

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