TVs are getting smarter, as worldwide shipments of smart TVs in Q4 of 2015 approached half of all TVs shipped.
According to a new IHS Technology report, 48.5 percent of TVs shipped globally were smart models.
In all, 34.2 million smart TVs were shipped in the fourth quarter, contributing to shipments breaking the 100 million mark for the first time in 2015.
IHS projects smart TV shipments hitting 109 million in 2016, and rising to 134 million in 2020.
More than three-quarters of televisions in China were shipped with smart functionality in 2015, while in North America the popularity of the feature surged from 36 percent to 48 percent.
The popularity of Netflix and other services is reinforcing demand in North America, according to the IHS Technology TV Design and Features Tracker.
It is a mixed picture in other regions. Latin America continues to strongly increase smart-TV shipments, despite a depressed television market. Penetration was diluted by basic TV sets, to subsidize Mexico’s digital TV switchover. Excluding such sets, more than half of TVs shipped in Latin America in the quarter included smart features.
Japan and Europe appear to have reached a plateau, said IHS, with small declines in 2015, largely due to the end of aggressive promotion campaigns by TV brands and a shortage of good local content.
“Smart TV will continue to grow at a more gradual rate,” said Paul Gray, principal analyst, IHS Technology. "China, the dominant engine of smart-TV growth, has little extra room to grow. Other developed markets are increasingly saturated, while lack of broadband internet connections remains an issue in emerging regions.”