Internet-connected TV Set Sales Takes Off in January

EL SEGUNDO, CALIF.: The latest must-have feature for TVs appears to be an Internet connection. iSuppli said that more than one-fourth of the TVs purchased by Americans in January wound up connected to the Web either through integrated technology or an external device.

“Among U.S. consumers that purchased new televisions in January, 27.5 percent indicated their sets were connected to the Internet...,” the research firm said, citing a survey of 800 people. “This is up from 24.3 percent in December 2009.”

iSuppli’s Tina Tseng said the phenomenon indicates the growing interest in delivery of content from sites like YouTube and Hulu.

“These consumers want to view Internet content on their primary displays in their homes--their televisions--rather than being relegated the small screens of their desktop and notebook PCs,” she said. “With the increasing pervasiveness of large-sized, flat-panel digital televisions, and the rising availability of Internet-Enabled TVs, more consumers are linking their sets to the Web.”

Integrated capability is “the leading and fastest-growing approach to accessing the Internet on televisions,” iSuppli said.

The firm’s survey said nearly 42 percent of Web-surfing TVs in the country had integrated connectivity. Another 20 percent were connected through video-game consoles; 13 percent through Blu-ray players; PCs and stand-alone boxes were tied at around 12 percent each.

iSuppli defines an Internet-enabled TV as a “set that has the capability to connect to the Internet either with a wired link or wirelessly, and provides sufficient system resources to support thin-client applications such as Yahoo Connected TV widgets or the Adobe Flash Platform for the Digital Home.” Sony, Samsung, LG, Vizio, Sharp and Panasonic offer Web-surfing flat panels. iSuppli says sales of such models will reach 87.6 million units by 2013, compared to 14.7 million last year.

In a separate item from iSuppli regarding total LCD TV shipments for 2009, the numbers-crunchers said Vizio sold the most units in the United States, while Samsung took the top spot worldwide. Vizio, based in Irvine, Calif., shipped 5.9 million LCD-TVs last year, up 92 percent from 2008, moving the TV maker into the top spot from No. 3. Samsung won for all flat-panel TV shipments, totaling 6.6 million last year, up nearly 23 percent from 2008. (Greg Tarr has the full breakdown at Twice.)

February 22, 2010: “Walmart Buys Vudu”
definitive agreement to acquire Vudu, maker of video-on-demand technology that pulls content off the Web for display on TVs and Blu-ray.

January 5, 2010
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The new high-end XVT Pro Series TVs will feature full 3D hi-def display capability with a refresh rate of 480 Hz, Sensio decoders, LED backlighting, wireless HDMI, WiFi and a Bluetooth universal remote.

July 29, 2009: “LG Build in Vudu HD”
The Korean electronics giant said it would integrate the on-demand, high-definition movie service into its new line of NetCast TV sets starting next month.

June 17, 2009: “LG Ships Netflix-enabled HDTV Sets”
LG now says its DTV panels with internal Netflix connections for streaming content from the movie rental site (first prototyped at CES last January) are now being shipped to dealers.