Smart TV could lead to universal Gigabit Wi-Fi in living rooms

The increasing adoption of smart TV sets in the United States will lead to universal Gigabit Wi-Fi in the living room, according to a new report from NextMarket Insights and GigaOM Research.

By all accounts the home television set has become one of the fastest evolving devices in the connected consumer market today. That’s because the HDTV market has transitioned from one largely driven by screen size and resolution formats to one that is increasingly about how connected and “smart” the device is.

The new report defines a smart TV as those models with embedded networking (usually Wi-Fi, but it can be Ethernet), the ability to access and stream Internet content and an app and service platform based on top of a computing- or mobile-centric OS such as Linux, Android or iOS.

Some differentiate between smart TVs and “connected” TVs, but NextMarket Insights said it believes there is no real difference between a connected TV and a smart TV today.

“While early models with basic networking and less-robust software could hardly be called smart, those TVs have made way for full smart TV stacks,” the report said.

The smart TV market will grow from 67 million units shipped in 2012 to 134 million shipped in 2015, the report found. This market will be driven by a continued evolution of the TV market as networking and robust smart TV app software become standard issue on many flat-panel display lineups.

As the smart TV category grows in coming years, a simultaneous transition to higher-speed Wi-Fi connections based on a new standard — 802.11ac — will translate to fast growth for the new wireless technology in the TV space, the report said.

The reason the group expects significant adoption of 802.11ac in the TV market is growth in video streaming between second-screen devices and TVs, HD video streaming and gaming.