Internet-Enabled TV Is the Story, Not 3-D

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Although headlines this year have been dominated by news about 3DTV, the real story in 2010 is about Internet-enabled TVs (IETVs), according to research firm iSuppli Corp.

Global shipments of IETVs, or TV sets with built-in Internet capability, will reach 27.7 million units in 2010. In contrast, 3-D set shipments will total only 4.2 million this year. Although 3-D television shipments are set to soar in the coming years, iSuppli’s forecast shows the biggest near-term growth story is in IETV.

“Despite aggressive promotions from the industry and intense consumer interest generated by the blockbuster Avatar and other titles, the 3DTV market in 2010 will be limited to a small pool of enthusiastic early adopters,” says Riddhi Patel, director and principal analyst for television systems at iSuppli. “In contrast, IETV is entering the mainstream in 2010. This is because 3-D is still dealing with a number of barriers, including cost, content availability and interoperability, while IETV provides immediate benefits by allowing TV viewers to access a range of content readily available on the Internet.”

Shipments of IETVs in 2010 will rise by a remarkable 124.9 percent from 12.3 million units last year. Significant growth will continue during the following years. All told, IETV shipments will expand at rates north of 50 percent for the next two years, and then continue to increase at solid double-digit rates until the end of 2014. By then, global IETV shipments are anticipated to reach 148.3 million units, accounting for 54 percent of the total flat-panel TV market.

Consumer Pull, Brand Push for IETV
With IETV, Patel notes, viewers can connect to the Internet at all times by using their TVs' built-in features, bypassing the need for a bridge device such as a set-top box, game console or Internet media adapter. Such connectivity allows viewers to access content from providers that range from movie peddlers like Netflix and Amazon, to content aggregators such as Hulu, to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

At the same time, TV brands and manufacturers are working to create partnerships with content providers to keep consumers interested and happy with continually updated material, Patel adds.

Among regions, North America and Western Europe will make up the largest consumption market for IETVs from 2010 to 2014. Japan will lay claim as the third largest market until 2012, after which it will drop to fifth place, ranking behind both China and the collective area designated as Rest of Asia-Pacific—two distinct territories counted separately in the tallies.


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