Santa Clara, Calif. - A strong increase in Internet-connected TV shipments could lead to an over-stressed broadband network, said DisplaySearch.
The research firm reported today that 21 percent, about 45 million sets, of all TVs shipped in 2010 had Internet connectivity, and said this number will more than double to 122 million by 2014.
"The looming risk now is what happens if every connected TV gets used," said Paul Gray, DisplaySearch's director of European TV research. "With Netflix accounting for 20 percent of peak Internet traffic in the U.S., it's reasonable to ask if the infrastructure can cope. Set makers need to understand that broadband access does not scale endlessly like broadcast reception."
DisplaySearch is predicting the connected TV market will split into two segments: one featuring enhanced service enabling viewers to access specific content like YouTube and Pandora, while others become Smart TVs.
Smart TVs will essentially be PCs having the ability to use a browser, and have search and run applications. These will also be upgradeable with the user downloading new software, connect to other networked devices and have a UI capable of finding programming without using the web, DisplaySearch said.
Gray said Google TV and its association with Logitech does not exactly deliver the perfect Smart TV experience, but it does point the industry in the correct direction.