Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Demand for Internet-enabled CE Devices

In 2009, much of the dialog about plans to incorporate Internet access into all manner of consumer devices was just that, mostly talk and little action. However, this year the increasing popularity of Internet-enabled consumer electronics (CE) is now considered a key growth driver for the digital entertainment industry.

Over-the-top (OTT) video services are increasingly offering compelling alternatives to traditional pay-TV services, according to the latest market study by In-Stat. New alternative offerings -- such as Netflix, Amazon, iTunes and Blockbuster -- offer streamed or downloadable TV and movie content.

Ad-supported online TV programming portals, such as Hulu, TV.com, and YouTube, have expanded into full-length video content. Web-enabled devices, which are a necessity to access these OTT services, are now proliferating across device categories that include TVs, Blu-ray Players, Digital Media Adapters (DMAs), network attached storage, and set-top boxes.

"Most web-enabled CE devices will be sold in developed countries. Our research shows that within five years nearly all broadband households will own at least one web-enabled CE media device," says Norm Bogen, In-Stat analyst. "The implications of this across the digital entertainment industry will be huge."

In-Stat's market study found the following:

*- Worldwide shipments of web-enabled stationary CE devices will grow more than seven-fold from their 2009 levels to over 230 million by 2013.

- There will be over one-half billion web-enabled CE devices in operation worldwide by 2013.

- In 2009, there were five broadband households worldwide for every web-enabled CE device. By 2013, this will reach a 2:1 ration.

- Many cable operators, worldwide, are predicted to introduce BBC iPlayer-like OTT services for catch-up and on-demand program viewing.

- In-Stat's consumer survey indicates that over half of U.S. consumers with network-connected Blu-ray DVD players or recorders use Wi-Fi, while 30 percent use wired Ethernet connections.