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Report forecasts global deluge in Internet-connected TVs

The number of TV sets connected to the Internet will reach 759 million by 2018 for 40 countries covered in a new report from Digital TV Research.

The report, “The Connected TV Forecasts” reveals that at the end of 2010, the total number of connected TVs in the covered nations stood at 115 million; by the end of 2013, the research firm expects the total to reach 307 million.

On a percentage basis, 26.8 percent of global TV sets will be connected to the Internet by 2018, up from only 5.1 percent at end-2010 and 12.4 percent expected at year’s end.

According to Digital TV Research, connected TVs are becoming more common around the globe. While the United States will command a third of connected TV sets by the end of 2013, its share of the Internet-connected TVs will drop to 23.5 percent by 2018. China will climb from 6.6 percent by the end of the year to 16.4 percent by 2018.

“Connected TV is undergoing the largest upheaval in its short history,” says Digital TV Research principal analyst Simon Murray. “The introduction of affordable devices, such as Google’s Chromecast and Sky’s Now TV, are shaking up the market, with connected TV set manufacturers already reducing their prices as a reaction to this increased rivalry. The introduction of three next-generation games consoles adds further competition.”

Chromecast and similar products are likely to have a considerable impact. The global total of TV sets connected via STBs will reach 126 million in 2018, up from only 4 million in 2010. The 34 million expected by the end of 2013 is double the 2012 total.

Fixed games consoles will be boosted by the launch of three next-generation game consoles, Wii U, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Each requires an Internet connection for users to obtain full access to games. The connection also allows games players to watch Web-delivered TV and video programs. The number of connected games consoles will rise to 176 million by 2018; double the 2012 total.

However, the number of installed smart TV sets will overtake games consoles connected to the Web during 2013. The report forecasts smart TV sets will account for 34 percent of all sets connected to the Internet in 2018, some 259 million. There were 31 million installed smart TV sets at end-2010, and this total will rocket to 110 million by end of the year.

Pay TV operators also want a slice of the action. Connected TV via pay TV STB has plenty of potential as operators strive to retain their subscribers, the report says. By the end of 2018, the report says the expected number of sets accessing the Internet via a pay TV set-top box will reach 117 million.

Blu-ray disc players, too, will be an important factor with 81 million Internet connections forecast by 2018 — or nearly double the end-2013 total.