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More than 500 million connected TVs could be sold by 2015

More than 25 percent of all television sets sold today have Internet connectivity, but that total will increase to 138 million TV sets worldwide — 47 percent of all shipped — by 2015, according to market research firm DisplaySearch. It predicts that more than a half-billion connected TVs will be shipped over the next four years.

“The adoption of connected TV is not just taking place in developed regions,” said Paul Gray, DisplaySearch director of TV electronics research. “Emerging markets often have good broadband services, and there is a thirst from consumers to get the best content available.”

DisplaySearch defines “smart TVs” as being able to retrieve content from the Internet independently of a portal, provide intelligent search and recommendations, allow users to upgrade them and having the ability to network seamlessly with other devices in the user’s home.

At the same time, trends like WiFi Direct enable the TV to partner more readily with handheld devices in the home, such as smartphones and tablets. DisplaySearch forecasts that more than 98 million TV sets with 802.11 wireless networking built-in will ship in 2015.

“WiFi technologies are the foundation of smart TVs,” said Gray. “We expect that in 2015, 35 percent of 46in or larger TVs in North America will be smart TVs.”

With energy regulations growing and power consumption on the rise, LED-backlit TVs have a clear advantage. There is a strong case for consumers to choose LED-backlit sets when replacing their TV, given the energy savings. The payback time for an entry-level LED-backlit TV is less than four years in California and less than two years in Europe.