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Connected TV shipments surge in Q1 2012, says NPD DisplaySearch

More than a quarter of TVs shipped in the first quarter of the year were equipped with Internet connectivity, according to a new report from NPD DisplaySearch.

The report, "Quarterly Smart TV Shipment and Forecast Report," says 27 percent of TV sets shipped worldwide had Internet connectivity. Japan saw the greatest percentage of shipments of TV sets with Internet connectivity at 46 percent, followed by Western Europe at 36 percent. China followed closely at 32 percent, a reflection of how Internet entertainment is developing rapidly in emerging markets, the report said.

The report analyzes TV sets by service type. According to NPD DisplaySearch, basic connected TVs can access structured services from broadcasters, such as Hbb.TV in Europe, BBC's iPlayer in the UK, Hulu in the United States and AcTVila in Japan. Netflix and YouTube also offer such services.

The display market research firm also identifies smart TVs as another category of Internet-connected TVs. A smart TV is distinguished from basic connected TVs by including the ability to access a branded portal and service, not just publicly available platforms, such as YouTube or broadcaster services.

Within this definition of smart TV, there are sub-categories that differ in the nature of the control of the service offering, including:

  • "Set maker controlled" sets that can have unique services from a portal. No two brands are alike, and the services may be configurable as apps;
  • "Consumer controlled" sets, which can escape the constraints of a portal and allow the consumer to access the whole Internet. These sets typically have a browser inside.

The report found that nearly 20 percent of all TVs shipped worldwide were smart TVs, with the highest percentage being in Japan at 36 percent, followed by China at 30 percent. The feature was also strong in Western Europe, accounting for more than 29 percent of shipments in the first quarter. All regions were over 1-in-10, with North America at 18 percent.