It looks like we’ve reached an inflection point for Internet-connected televisions.
Forty-seven percent of all flat-panel televisions shipped worldwide in 2015 will have some form of Internet connectivity, up from more than 25% today, tech tracker DisplaySearch said Tuesday.
Credit the spread of home WiFi technology, which allows consumers to use wireless technology not only hook their television sets up to the Internet, but to link them to their handheld devices, said Paul Gray, DisplaySearch Director of TV Electronics Research.
More than 98 million television sets with WiFi capabilities will ship in 2015.
By contrast, four years after the introduction of the iPhone the market for smart phones has been flooded with me-too models that mix snappy web browsing, third-party mobile apps, and big touch-screens.
That formula isn’t going to change this year: DigiTimes reported Tuesay that Apple is readying a new iPhone “which does not seem to have any major update from iPhone 4.” (see “Why You Shouldn’t Care About Apple’s Next iPhone Release” for an explanation).
While the next iPhone may not melt faces, however, DisplaySearch’s findings support those arguing that the time may be right for Apple may enter the market for television sets.
The television business is dominated by Asian manufacturers competiting for vanishingly low margins, so a shift towards more sophisticated devices that will need to help users manage multiple forms of media could play to Apple’s strengths.
“We expect that in 2015, 35% of 46” or larger TVs in North America will be smart TVs, defined as having the following capabilities: able to retrieve content from the internet without the restrictions of a portal; intelligent search and recommendations; upgradeable by its owner; and able to network seamlessly with other devices in the home,” Gray said in a statement.