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TV gets clever with almost 30% of sets internet ready.

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Click to enlarge

That’s according to analysts who say more internet connected TVs than ever were shipped globally in Q1 2012, amounting to 27%, says NPD DisplaySearch.

This marked an increase in Internet ready TVs led by Japan, where almost half of all sets shipped Jan-Mar were internet ready, and over one third in Western Europe (aren’t they meant to be in recession?) followed by China (32%).

However, not all web connected sets are “smart”, say the anlysts.

‘Basic connected’ web TVs can access broadcaster services like BBC’s iPlayer in the UK, Hulu (US) and AcTVila in Japan, while a “smart” TV is one that can access a branded portal and service, such as Samsung Smart Hub and not just publicly available platforms such as YouTube, according to NPD DisplaySearch.

Nearly 20% of all TVs shipped worldwide were “smart” TVs, the highest being in Asian countries of Japan and China, although less than 15% of all TVs in the Asia Pacific are “smart” and there was no individual stats available for Australia.

And it looks like Sony is the big winner in the Smart TV race, with the highest penetration at 50% followed by Skyworth, Philips and Sharp.

Popular brands like Samsung and Panasonic all have under 30% penetration.

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Graph: DisplaySearch

“Connected TV is largely driven by content,” said Paul Gray, TV Electronics Research, 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, Gray says. This suggests smart TV penetration could explode in OZ once the NBN rollout is accelerated in the coming three years.

 

But it seems no region is being left behind with even Middle East and Africa regions showing strong interest in Internet connectivity.

Strong seasonality linked to the Lunar New Year holiday helped increase shipments in China although Western Europe showed weaker demand as consumers there tend to exhibit more caution toward smart TVs.

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