One billion TV-centric connected devices now in homes
The global installed base of TV-centric connected devices surpassed one billion units in 2013 and will exceed two billion by 2017, driven by smart TV, IP-enabled set top boxes, game consoles, Blu-ray players and low cost digital media adapters, according to the latest research from Futuresource Consulting.
"TV sales account for 70% of traditional AV consumer electronics market value, and smart features and connectivity are the latest in a stream of innovations to sustain the industry, drive replacement demand and encourage consumers to upgrade to the next big thing," says Jack Wetherill, Senior Market Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. "44% of the 225 million TVs shipped worldwide in 2013 offered smart features and consumers now increasingly expect these enhancements on mid-range as well as high end models. By 2017, over 80% of all TV sets sold worldwide will be enabled for online connectivity and smart features. As a result, apps are also an opportunity for manufacturers to differentiate with unique features and content."
Three years ago, less than 30% of people who owned a smart TV actually connected it to the internet. This has now risen to 68% on average today, with the USA leading at a 79% connection rate. Futuresource research with retailers suggests that consumers are attracted to smart features like gesture control and facial recognition, which may be harnessed for networked applications longer term.
"As fixed and mobile broadband both continue to evolve in speed and capacity, alternative service-level infrastructures are being created to reach the huge base of IP devices with on-demand and simulcast content at quality close to, or matching, that of broadcast," says Wetherill. "Both TV-centric and mobile multimedia IP devices will drive growth in online content distribution, but it is clear that consumers like the personal nature of second screen, and tablets will elevate multiplatform consumption to a whole new level.
"However, despite the rise of OTT and connected devices, the set top box (STB) market remains robust, sustained by a new generation of EPG-led platforms which integrate DVR functionality with broadcast, cable and IP networks to provide a seamless consumer experience in time-shift, discovery, navigation and on-demand access to content. STB shipments remain high - 220 million units in 2013 - dominated by Pay-TV providers who are upgrading to integrate IP services with broadcast content and on-demand functionality via advanced user interfaces."
Game consoles currently lead the way as the most popular TV-centric media player solution, with both Microsoft and Sony building entertainment content and service partnerships to add value for their networked users. With the recent release of Xbox One and PlayStation 4, games consoles are high volume - 31 million units worldwide in 2013 - and moving into a new cycle, though the overall market is expected to gradually contract from 2015 onwards."
"In parallel with all this, ownership of personal multimedia devices has soared from 2.8 billion in 2013, on track to reach 4.4 billion by 2017 as tablets and smartphones become ubiquitous and supplant PCs as alternative viewing platforms," says Wetherill.
CES 2014 - Highlights
The recent CES 2014 show showcased the burgeoning 'Internet of things' trend where internet connectivity is pervading all electronics including not just core Consumer Electronics categories, but home appliances, home security systems, fitness tracking, watches, and much more.
Within 'traditional CE' wireless and internet connectivity is quickly becoming a standard feature across many Consumer Electronics categories, led by Smart TVs and Home Video equipment but followed closely by Audio equipment and Imaging devices. Within Audio, streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora are driving the audio market which is in a resurgent phase of growth. Within cameras and camcorders Wi-Fi is becoming standard while fully 'Smart' devices with touchscreens and mobile operating systems currently remain limited to Samsung's Galaxy range of cameras.
In TV's internet connectivity and 'Smart' user interfaces are already standard across mid to high end ranges, vendors at CES 2014 promoted advancements in User Interface, designed to help consumers navigate and discover the huge and growing range of on-demand and linear content available to consumers via a Smart TVs.
Connectivity extended beyond core CE categories at CES 2014, in to refrigerators, ovens, smoke alarms, thermostats, activity monitors, smart watches and eye-wear, where low-power and low-cost wireless technologies are facilitating a new breed of low cost connected devices.
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Futuresource Consulting is a specialist research and knowledge-based consulting company, providing organisations with insight into consumer electronics, digital imaging, entertainment media, broadcast, storage media, education technology and IT. With a heritage stretching back to the 1980s, the company delivers in-depth analysis and forecasts on a global scale, advising on strategic positioning, market trends, competitive forces and technological developments. www.futuresource-consulting.com
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