For the first time ever, a majority of TVs shipped worldwide during a quarter were internet connected, with China seeing four out of every five sets capable of getting online, according to first quarter data from research firm IHS.
In North America, 56% of sets shipped were internet-capable.
“It is a remarkable result,” said Paul Gray, principal analyst for IHS Technology. “China and North America continue to experience growth in the share of smart TVs, and the feature is now established in entry-level products.
“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.”
While internet-connected TVs are becoming the norm in China and North America, it’s a different story in Europe and Japan. The first quarter saw only 38% of TVs shipping in Japan internet-capable, the lowest percentage since 2011, while in Europe, internet-capable sets have accounted for less than 45% of all shipments for two years running.
IHS data found that the Android operating system was included in nearly half of all internet TVs shipped in the first quarter.
“Android in various forms has been wholeheartedly adopted by Chinese brands,” Gray said. “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.”
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