Connected TV shipments to approach 600 million by 2017

Joseph O'Halloran | 07-11-2012

The proposition that connectivity is the key for TV has been strengthened by a new study from Digital TV Research which found that the number of TV connections to the Internet will reach 596 million by 2017.

According to the speciality TV research firm’s Connected TV Forecasts report, this would represent impressive growth from the 105 million shipments in 2010 and the expected 212 million at the end of 2012.

Overall, the global connected TV market will likely form just over a fifth of global TV sets by 2017, up from only 4.7% at end-2010 and 8.9% by end-2012. The US will have the highest penetration of TV sets by 2017, 38.1%, closely followed by Norway (37.7%) and South Korea (37.2%).

Not surprisingly, the US was found to be the engine room of connected TV and is expected to contribute 147 million sets by 2017. Showing just how much a global industry connected TV is right now and will continue to be, this statistic is mitigated by the fact it will represent only a quarter of the global connected TV total. Two years ago the US accounted for 45% of the total with 48 million shipments and is likely to offer a 37% share with 78 million sets by the end of 2012.

By stark contrast, China is projected to have 93 million connected TVs by 2017, up from a mere 2 million at end-2010.
The analyst believes that connected TV via the pay-TV set-top box (STB) has plenty of potential as operators strive to retain their subscribers. It notes that TiVo has signed deals with several pay-TV operators and also points to the launch of the Liberty Global/UPC Horizon gateway service in The Netherlands and across several European properties, most notably Germany, in early 2013. It calculates that there will be 98 million sets accessing the Internet via the pay-TV set-top box by the end of 2017. Yet it also expects only 3.5% of global TV sets to be connected this way in 2017. Digital TV Research also predicts that connected TV sets will overtake games consoles in late 2012.

The global total of connected TV sets via retail set-top boxes — principally Google TV, Apple TV and Roku — is set to reach 40.2 million in 2017, up from only 3.0 million in 2010 and 13.6 million by end-2012. This form of connection is only expected to have a limited impact (1.4% of global TV sets by 2017) due to the superior offers from the other forms of connections.

With some dispute over exactly how many connected TV sets are actually connected, the survey revealed that there were 31 million installed connected TV sets by end-2010, and projects this total to climb rapidly to 84 million by the end of 2012 and onto 243 million by 2017. As a proportion of TV sets, this percentage will climb from 1.4% in 2010 to 3.5% in 2012 and onto 8.7% by 2017.

Report author Simon Murray said: “There has been something of a backlash against smart TV sets over the last year as critics argue that similar – or even better – offers are available on tablets or even mobile smartphones. Critics complain that connected TV sets provide a clunky experience. Although this is a wake-up call for those involved in the sector, these deficiencies are likely to be addressed reasonably soon as connected TV becomes mainstream. Unsurprisingly, the bulk of online usage via connected TVs is TV-related.”