More than a quarter of TVs shipped in 2012 have connected capability

Joseph O'Halloran ©RapidTVNews | 13-06-2012

2012 has witnessed a surge in worldwide smart TV popularity, with China, somewhat surprisingly, near the vanguard, according to the latest quarterly screen study by NPD DisplaySearch.
Indeed the NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Smart TV Shipment and Forecast Report found that just over a quarter of TVs (27%) shipped during Q1 2012 had Internet connectivity, led by Japan, where 46% of sets had networking capability, followed by Western Europe with 36% and then China only four points behind.

NPD DisplaySearch defines a smart TV as one which can access a branded portal and service — such as Hbb.TV, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Netflix or AcTVila in Japan — as well as platforms such as YouTube, or broadcaster services.
“Connected TV is largely driven by content,” said Paul Gray, director of TV Electronics Research for 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.”

Looking at the markets by region, the largest shipments were in China with almost 3.0 million smart TVs shipped; then Western Europe with 2.1 million units; then North America with almost 1.4 million units shipped. DisplaySearch believes that strong seasonality linked to the Lunar New Year holiday helped increase shipments in China, while Western Europe showed weaker demand as consumers there tend to exhibit more caution.
Sony and Skyworth were the clear brand leaders in smart TVs, followed by Philips and then a cluster headed by Sharp, Konka and Samsung.