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25% of All TVs Sold in January Are Connected to the Internet

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The latest evidence that consumers are bringing Internet content into their living rooms is in, as new research from iSuppli suggests that more than a quarter of TVs sold in January are connected to the Internet. In a survey of 800 recent TV buyers, 27.5 percent said they’ve already hooked up their new TV to the Internet. That’s up from 24 percent of respondents who had connected their TV to the Internet in December.

While these are TVs connected to the Internet, it’s important to note that they’re not all Internet-enabled TVs. In fact, the majority of these sets are connected through game consoles, Internet set-top boxes, or other third-party devices. According to the survey results, approximately 41.9 percent of those connected were actually Internet-enabled TVs. About 20 percent were connected through gaming consoles, while 13 percent were connected through a Blu-ray disc player and an additional 12 percent were connected through an Internet set-top box like a Roku or Vudu player. The final 12 percent were connected through PCs or other computing devices.

As demand for Internet content in the living room grows, more companies are looking to get in on the act. Cablevision announced today that it will soon trial a new service that will enable its subscribers to access Internet content on the TV through the company’s cable boxes. Interest in broadband content on the TV is also one reason that Wal-Mart reportedly ponied up $100 million for online video service Vudu earlier this week.

Related GigaOM Pro content: Connected Consumer Tuned In to TVs in Q4 (subscription required)

14 Responses to “25% of All TVs Sold in January Are Connected to the Internet”

  1. Here are 2010 estimates for the number of broadband enable sets expected to be sold in the U.S.

    -iSuppli predicts just over 13 million
    – Parks Associates predicts 7 million
    – TDG predicts 4 million
    – DisplaySearch predicts 12.9 million.

    And here are estimates for a couple years from now:

    • TDG predicts 43 million by 2014
    • iSuppli predicts almost 23 million by 2013
    • DisplaySearch predicts 22.6 by 2012
  2. @Ryan, I think the 30 million number you use is a good example. If even half of those were “internet enabled” and 50% of those consumers actually hooked them up to the Internet, we’d be talking about 7.5 million TVs.

    Microsoft already has 3x that number of Xbox 360 consoles in the market today, with more than 85% hooked up to the Internet. And that one device, in that quantity, has not changed the landscape as far as content owners making money. It has not changed the online movie rental business at all.

    Why I keep questioning the number of devices sold is because I have yet to see anyone say how many devices it will take, combined, before they truly impact the market. Is it 50M? 100M? No one seems to be making any kind of case as to when the content business changes due to these devices. If we all agreed on even a ball park number, then we could look at sales numbers and adoption rates and make a fairly accurate guess on how many years it will be before this happens.

    But without that, it’s hard to get excited over numbers that are so small and are projected be small for the next three of four years.

    • timekeeper

      I think you are kind of right on a Macro level. But on a Micro level, you have to look at how this connection Internet/TV is impacting the individual. Everything starts small. Once the market starts to grow, it will start impacting the bottom lines of media companies in a good way.

      I agree, 7M TV’s don’t make big media companies richer. But it’s a start. The medium is starting to take shape and the revenue models are starting to form. They may screw it up by charging to much and offering too little, some other technology may pop up and make the whole thing obsolete, or, just maybe, this is the new way to deliver and enjoy content and we are seeing the birth of it.

      Think of that first dolt that bought a fax machine. Who’s he going to send faxes to?! When more and more people bought fax machines, the true value of the network was realized. How long did that take, 30 years? Where’s your fax machine now? On eBay as a collectors item?

      We’re about 5 years into this cycle for internet/TV. We’ve got a long way to go before it is ubiquitous. And, as history has shown, the players you see around today will probably not be the ones who will be “big names” when it does become mainstream.

      Today’s trail blazers are burning through money at an amazing pace and pushing the medium forward. It is through the sacrifice of their investors capital to the market gods that the infrastructure can be built. These companies have no chance to recoup their investment so they burn out and/or get acquired and the cycle continues until the market hits maturity. All the while, the underlying technology keeps getting sold and flipped from company to company for cents of the dollar to a point where it becomes virtually free.

      Market leaders are not innovators but imitators. It’s a harsh reality but proven time and time again. Let the innovators define an opportunity that others don’t see. They spend all the money to make it work. The imitator copies and spends their money on building market share.

      It’s going to be a fun ride and I’m glad to be here watching it all transpire.

    • Research firm iSuppli estimates that by 2013, around 90 million television sets world-wide (about 40% of the market) will be Web-enabled. TDG Research is more bullish, predicting 170 million homes will have Internet access televisions by 2014.

      Hope that helps.

    • Dan, I actually think the Xbox is a great example for a device that is starting to have a real impact on the way content is monetized. True, Xbox live marketplace rentals probably don’t make much of a dent, but you just have to look at Netflix on the Xbox to see how the pieces are coming together …

      32 percent of Netflix subscribers with broadband Internet access now stream Watch Instantly titles to their TV set, according to the Diffusion Group.

      Netflix itself has said that close to half of its subscribers use Watch Instantly, and the company added a million subscribers in its most recent quarter. Watch Instantly is clearly becoming a value proposition, and connected TVs are playing an important role in that process.

    • I mention when it is relevant to the topic and is has sparked some good discussions. I also post a lot of comments here and the vast overwhelming majority make no mention of it.

      But thank you for showing that you love censorship.

  3. There’s one big problem with their report. No where, that I see, does it say how many TVs were actually sold in the month of January? Is that number in there some where?

    If a million TVs were sold in January, and 25% of them are connected, are we really going to get excited over 250,000 sets? Not a big number.

    • Ryan Lawler

      Dan, are you serious? There were about 30 million HDTVs sold last year… If 25 percent of those were connected to the Internet, you’d have 7.5 million users with access to online video in the living room.

      But more importantly — the number is growing. At 25%, you’re not in the mainstream yet, but you’re also not just limited to early adopters or those who plug their TV into their Xbox and never actual use the machine for video.