More than half of all TVs shipped globally in first quarter 2016 were smart TVs, according to research firm IHS Technology, with North American TVs shipments reaching 56 percent.
Despite Q1 historically being a quiet one for TV shipments, shipments of TVs with smart functionality rose from 48 percent in Q4.
The worldwide acceleration in Internet-connected TVs was chiefly led by China, where four out of five TV sets shipped with smart functionality.
“It is a remarkable result,” said Paul Gray, principal analyst for IHS. “China and North America continue to experience growth in the share of smart TVs, and the feature is now established in entry-level products.”
Not all regions saw such growth, however. In Japan, just 38 percent of TVs shipped had smart functionality, the lowest result recorded since 2011, said IHS. European shipments, meanwhile, have stagnated at the 40 to 45 percent level for the past two years. Gray attributed a lack of growth to inadequate content offerings.
“It’s all about content. Where the local offering is relatively weak, consumers are reluctant to pay extra for built-in Internet TV services. Good streaming content in local languages remains the key to value in smart TV,” he noted.
The Android operating system now accounts for almost half of smart TVs shipping in the first quarter of 2016. Tizen leads all other regions and accounts for 43 percent of smart TVs shipped outside China. “Android in various forms has been wholeheartedly adopted by Chinese brands. The first quarter of this year was exceptional, with seasonally strong sales in China, but weak sales elsewhere, and it is clear the Android-based solutions have a global lead,” said Gray.
IHS said that the addition of the Roku TV capability to Chinese-branded TVs “significantly bolsters product value.” Chinese brands are shipping around 10 percent to 20 percent of products with smart capabilities in Europe, whereas Roku partners in North America ship over 90 percent with the feature, the firm said.