Global shipments of IETVs (TVs with built-in Internet
capability) will hit 27.7 million this year, says analyst Riddhi Patel. That’s
nearly seven times the number of 3D sets expected to ship – and a 125 percent
increase over the 2009 numbers.
The reasons for the disparity are fairly obvious: The price
of 3D sets is still far beyond what anyone but tech enthusiasts are willing to
spend and the amount of content for 3D sets is still minimal, despite recent
and upcoming channel additions by DirecTV and other cable providers.
“IETV provides immediate benefits by allowing TV viewers to
access a range of content readily available on the Internet,” says Patel.
The amount of content available via IETVs has grown
substantially in the past 12 months. YouTube and weather updates were the
highlights of the technology’s early days, but many sets can now directly
stream Netflix movies and Hulu Plus will be a standard feature on many of them
in the coming months. Several other companies, such as Yahoo! and Skype also
offer added functionality through applications.
iSuppli expects IETV
shipments to expand by 50 percent per year for the next two years, with
double-digit increases continuing until the end of 2014, when the sets should
account for 54 percent of the flat-panel TV market.
Not surprisingly, 3D sets are
taking advantage of this feature – with virtually every 3D set also including
internet connectivity out of the box.