Europe on course for 20% connected TV shipments

20% of TVs shipped in Europe next year will have internet capability, according to a new report from Futuresource Consulting.

The first TV and Blu-ray devices capable of accessing content directly from the internet made their appearance in 2009, a trend that Futuresource expects to continue into the New Year, when 20% of flat panel TVs shipped in Europe are expected to carry internet connectivity.

“In Europe, four of the major brands have already launched connected TV products that go beyond basic home networking functionality and allow delivery of over-the-top web services,” says David Watkins, Research Consultant at Futuresource. “This includes basic weather and news pages, social networking, video streaming and catch-up TV. Although initially limited to high-end and mid-range products, we’re going to see web connectivity feature on an increasing number of products next year, becoming standard within two to three years. We expect content to be the next battleground and a key driver for connection and usage, particularly through interaction with social networking sites and access to recently released movies.”

Futuresource anticipates that by the end of 2010, the installed base of connected TVs in Europe will have swollen to some 15 million devices, representing nearly 10% of the total flat panels in use. The consultancy says the next step for manufacturers is to add more compelling video services including paid for movie streaming. Broadband TV News agrees with the analysis, but would add that the TV companies will have to go some way to match the offers available either through the iTunes store, or more importantly the pay-TV platforms with who they will be directly competing.