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Connecting to Internet grows in importance for U.S. TV shoppers, says survey

More U.S. consumers are considering the ability to connect a television to the Internet as a factor in their TV purchasing decisions, according to a newly released survey.

The research, “Smart TV Consumer Survey,” conducted by the IHS Screen Digest TV Systems Service, revealed 30.7 percent of consumers said they would buy an Internet-connected TV during the 12-month period of the study from July 2011 to June 2012, up from 18.1 percent during the previous 12 months.

Support for 3-D also is growing in importance, as well, with 18.8 percent of consumers saying they plan to buy a 3-D TV compared to just 6.6 percent of those who had already purchased a television.

“Features most commonly found on high-end TV models and bigger screen-size sets, like 3-D and Internet-connectivity, are becoming more important to U.S. consumers,” said Veronica Thayer, TV systems analyst at IHS. “But the appeal of 3-D TV remains far lower than that of Internet-enabled sets — often marketed as smart TVs.”

One other feature growing in importance to consumers is the use of LED to backlight televisions, the findings showed. Nearly half of all TV sets shipped in 2012 make use of LED-backlighting technology. IHS Screen Digest attributed the popularity of LED-backlighting to advertising efforts to inform consumers that LED TVs are thinner, brighter and produce more vivid colors.

IHS Screen Digest noted that the price difference between LED- and CCLF-backlit TV sets is eroding, and that consumers can now select from a bigger number of LED TV models.

Although these features are playing a greater role in the minds of consumers about which TV to buy, screen size continues to be the most important factor. Half of consumers who actually bought a TV during the 12-month period prior to the survey identified size as a factor in their decision. Among those who planned to buy a TV during the survey, 48 percent said size played a role.

The most important factor in the decision to buy, however, was price. In all, 53 percent of those planning to buy said it was a factor compared to 27.9 percent who already bought a TV.