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ABI predicts 19% flat-panel TVs will ship with Ethernet

Posted: 01 Jun 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:flat-panel TV  Internet TV  software  Ethernet 

ABI Research has predicted that connectivity will become a mainstream feature in TVs, with 19 per cent of flat-panel TVs shipping with Ethernet in 2010 and expected to grow to 46 per cent in 2013.

What will viewers see and interact with on these connected sets? According to industry analyst Michael Inouye, "New features will include media guides/browsing, Web browsing, and more tightly integrated social and information-based datasets."

New opportunities for advertising and cross-marketing will flow from these developments too, as well as new roles for the television manufacturers. "TV makers no longer want to build 'dumb screens,'" says Inouye. "Rather than simply selling boxes, TV makers themselves could try to secure part of the revenue generated by ads their devices present."

TV makers won't be providing all that content themselves, of course. Netflix, for instance, has an application available for use with connected TVs. The tight integration of software and hardware raises difficulties, however, because each manufacturer's combination of hardware and OS works in different ways, so applications must be customised for each brand of TV. That has discouraged some app developers, but others are pushing ahead.

Then there's the networking: Wi-Fi has made some early headway, but wired formats are more robust, especially for HD content. G.hn, HomePNA, MoCA and Powerline are all contenders in the long term, perhaps displacing the currently most robust solution, Ethernet.

There are some early efforts to standardise all this multiplicity: Vudu streams everything from the cloud. An Android OS would help compatibility. But such initiatives will take time to mature.

Inouye concludes, "This market is very fluid and uncertain, and with so many parties vying for a piece of the action, that fluidity may persist for years."





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