TV-centric connected devices top 1bn

January 28, 2014 09.53 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul

Philips smart TVThe number of TV-centric connected devices already exceeded one billion units worldwide last year and should surpass two billion by 2017, according to the latest research from Futuresource Consulting.

Growth will be driven by smart TV, IP-enabled set top boxes, game consoles, Blu-ray players and low cost digital media adapters.

Commenting on this trend, Jack Wetherill, senior market analyst, Futuresource Consulting, said: “TV sales account for 70% of traditional AV consumer electronics market value, and smart features and connectivity are the latest in a stream of innovations to sustain the industry, drive replacement demand and encourage consumers to upgrade to the next big thing.

“44% of the 225 million TVs shipped worldwide in 2013 offered smart features and consumers now increasingly expect these enhancements on mid-range as well as high end models. By 2017, over 80% of all TV sets sold worldwide will be enabled for online connectivity and smart features. As a result, apps are also an opportunity for manufacturers to differentiate with unique features and content.”

Significantly, the number of people connecting their smart TVs to the internet is growing. Three years ago, it stood at less than 30% and now it is an average of 68%, with the US leading with a 79% connection rate.

Futuresource research with retailers suggests that consumers are attracted to smart features like gesture control and facial recognition, which may be harnessed for networked applications longer term.

Wetherill continued: “As fixed and mobile broadband both continue to evolve in speed and capacity, alternative service-level infrastructures are being created to reach the huge base of IP devices with on-demand and simulcast content at quality close to, or matching, that of broadcast.

“Both TV-centric and mobile multimedia IP devices will drive growth in online content distribution, but it is clear that consumers like the personal nature of second screen, and tablets will elevate multiplatform consumption to a whole new level.

“However, despite the rise of OTT and connected devices, the set top box (STB) market remains robust, sustained by a new generation of EPG-led platforms which integrate DVR functionality with broadcast, cable and IP networks to provide a seamless consumer experience in time-shift, discovery, navigation and on-demand access to content. STB shipments remain high – 220 million units in 2013 – dominated by Pay-TV providers who are upgrading to integrate IP services with broadcast content and on-demand functionality via advanced user interfaces.

“Game consoles currently lead the way as the most popular TV-centric media player solution, with both Microsoft and Sony building entertainment content and service partnerships to add value for their networked users. With the recent release of Xbox One and PlayStation 4, games consoles are high volume – 31 million units worldwide in 2013 – and moving into a new cycle, though the overall market is expected to gradually contract from 2015 onwards.”

Wetherill also said: “In parallel with all this, ownership of personal multimedia devices has soared from 2.8 billion in 2013, on track to reach 4.4 billion by 2017 as tablets and smartphones become ubiquitous and supplant PCs as alternative viewing platforms.”