Internet-enabled TVs hit mainstream; 28 million to ship this year, says iSuppli

Internet-enabled televisions (IETVs) have hit the mainstream among consumers and by the end of 2014 will account for 148.3 million units or 54 percent of the total flat-panel TV market, according to a new forecast from display market expert iSuppli.

This year, shipments of IETVs are expected to increase nearly 125 percent and continue growing at a rate of greater than 50 percent for the next couple of years, with out-year growth registering solid double-digit gains, iSuppli said.

To put this rapid uptake of IETVs into perspective, iSuppli contrasted the growth of Internet-enabled TV to that of 3-D television. This year, iSuppli projects 27.7 million IETVs to be shipped, while only 4.2 million 3-D sets will ship in 2010.

"Despite aggressive promotions from the industry and intense consumer interest generated by the blockbuster "Avatar" and other titles, the 3-D TV market in 2010 will be limited to a small pool of enthusiastic early adopters," said Riddhi Patel, director and principal analyst for television systems at iSuppli. "In contrast, IETV is entering the mainstream in 2010. This is because 3-D is still dealing with a number of barriers, including cost, content availability and interoperability, while IETV provides immediate benefits by allowing TV viewers to access a range of content readily available on the Internet."

North America and Western Europe will be the biggest consumers of IETVs from 2010 to 2014, iSuppli said. Japan will be the third largest market until 2012, after which it will drop to fifth place, ranking behind both China and the collective area designated as the rest of Asia-Pacific, iSuppli said.