Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Web-Enabled Consumer Electronics Upside Potential

The global adoption of web-enabled consumer electronics (CE) devices is growing rapidly and includes a wide variety of new products. Typically, web-enabled CE devices can execute app widgets, small software application programs that directly access an online content site -- such as Netflix, Amazon VOD or YouTube.

Smart TV applications, from a multitude of independent software developers, are expected to proliferate over the next five years. As a result, web-enabled CE device shipments are forecast to grow six fold -- surpassing 230 million installed units by 2014, with the majority of these in North America and Europe, according to the latest market study by In-Stat.

"Consumer adoption of online applications, using web-enabled CE devices, will be regionalized, or in some cases, country-specific," says Keith Nissen, Principal Analyst at In-Stat.

For example, in China, there is very little licensed video entertainment content available for delivery over the Internet. In contrast, the availability of online video entertainment in Europe and North America is expected to grow substantially over the next five years.

Therefore, the primary markets for web-enabled CE devices, and particularly connected TV sets, will likely correlate to where online video offerings are also available.

In-Stat's latest market study findings include:

- There is a distinction between network-enabled and web-enabled CE devices.

- In 2014, nearly 70 percent of digital TVs shipped will be network-enabled devices, although many will not be web-enabled.

- The popularity of the over-the-top (OTT) video is creating interest in enhancing the IP video capabilities of cable, satellite and IPTV set-top boxes (STBs).

- The vast majority of Blu-ray disc players and recorders shipped will be both network-enabled and web-enabled devices.

- Yahoo! Widgets is the major connected TV app platform in the industry, so far -- though Sony and Samsung have developed their own proprietary platforms.