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Internet-connected-TV sales to skyrocket

April 26, 2011 |  8:43 pm

Image_access Sales of Internet-connected TVs are set to boom, but not so much in the United States.

Global sales of TVs with Internet access are projected to reach 123 million sets by 2014, bolstered mostly by growth in China, Latin America and Eastern Europe, according to a report from research firm DisplaySearch.

Already, almost 20% of TVs shipped last year around the world had Internet capability. By 2014, sales of so-called "smart TVs" in Eastern Europe are estimated to grow to more than 10 million from 2.5 million units in 2010, according to DisplaySearch, which also found that 33% of flat-panel sets snapped up in China will have Internet capability by 2013.

“The connected-TV market is developing beyond mature regions like Western Europe and Japan,” said Paul Gray, director of TV electronics for DisplaySearch, in the report. “With some emerging countries having excellent broadband infrastructure, the adoption of connected TV capabilities is a natural next step in TV feature innovation.”

In developed countries such as the U.S., TVs with more advanced options, like the ability to stream Netflix, follow "on the heels of digital broadcasting," DisplaySearch said. In other nations, such sets can leapfrog the broadcasting infrastructure. In China, Internet-connected TVs can stream video from the Internet, but many cannot decode standard programming, DisplaySearch said.

The research firm also predicted that options for Internet-capable TVs would skyrocket in the next few years, from basic sets that can stream video to more sophisticated (and expensive) versions with apps and advanced search engines.

“Smart TVs are adding to what is already a fast-moving and fiercely competitive battleground, with competition appearing in all directions, including mobile PC devices such as tablets and increasingly powerful set-top boxes with services accessible any time, anywhere," Gray said.

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-- Shan Li

Photo: An Internet-connected TV from Sony. Credit: Best Buy

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