A recent survey by US research firm In-Stat suggest that only 47% of all internet-enabled TV sets are in fact online.
“Similar surveys from Germany among people who have a connected device show a connection rate of around 66%. Many households have an internet-enabled device without knowing it,” according to Mathias Birkel, a senior consultant at Berlin-based consultancy Goldmedia.
“The market is is still very young. Number and quality of services will change significantly. People do not know what there is on offer. TV sets can also be connected to the web via set-top boxes or game consoles, which the number of directly connected devices reduces.”
The consumer electronics manufacturers have high hopes of the so-called smart TVs. All the major manufacturers offer devices with internet access. This connectivity provides access to social networks, video and music services as well as games.
Connected units are selling well, not only in the US but also in Europe and Germany. “The opportunity for internet connection is at the moment no reason to buy, but increasingly a standard feature. In Germany about 3.8 million smart TVs were sold in 2011. In total there are now some 6.7 million connected units in German homes,” said Birkel.
The growth rates are high, especially since connected TVs have only been around for two years. Birkel: “There is a limit to the number of connected TVs that can go online, as only 70% of all German homes have access to broadband. Our projection is that in five years’ time about half of all households will their television to the internet, which is about 20 million units.” Goldmedia expects that during 2012, about 7.5% of all German households will use internet services via their TV.
“Additional services, such as games or social media, are niche products. Video services, and especially the catch-up servcies from the TV channels will be used frequently. Whether there is demand for Twitter and Facebook remains to be seen” according to Birkel.
Whether or not the internet services of the TV manufacturers will be successful, will depend largely on the ease of use. “Current devices have already made progress in this area,” said Birkel.