The figure, which is for 40 countries covered in the Connected TV Forecasts report by Digital TV Research, is up from 115 million at the end of 2010 and the 307 million expected for the end of this year.
It also represents 26.8% of global TV sets by 2018, up from only 5.1% at the end of 2010 and 12.4% at the end of this year.
Significantly, connected TV is becoming more international. Although the US will account for a third of TV sets at the end of this year, this will fall to 23.5% by 2018, with China climbing from 6.6% to 16.4% over the same period.
Commenting on the report, Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said: “Connected TV is undergoing the largest upheaval in its short history. The introduction of affordable devices such as Google’s Chromecast and Sky’s Now TV are shaking up the market, with connected TV set manufacturers already reducing their prices as a reaction to this increased rivalry. The introduction of three next-generation games consoles adds further competition.”
Chromecast and similar products are likely to have a considerable impact. The global total of connected TV sets via streaming/retail settop boxes will reach 126 million in 2018, up from only 4 million in 2010. The 34 million expected at the end of this year is double the 2012 total.
Fixed games consoles will be boosted by the launch of three next-generation consoles (Wii U, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One). The new consoles are good news for connected TV as they require an internet connection for users to obtain full access to games. The internet connection also allows games players to watch web-delivered TV and video programs. The number of connected games consoles will rise to 176 million by 2018, or double the 2012 total.
However, the number of installed smart TV sets will overtake games consoles connected to the web during 2013. Smart TV sets will account for 34% of the 2018 total connected sets, or 259 million. There were 31 million installed smart TV sets at the end of 2010, and this total will rocket to 110 million by the end of this year.
Pay-TV operators also want a slice of the action. Although it is yet to take off too much (with Liberty Global/UPC experiencing mixed results so far for its Horizon box), connected TV via the pay TV set top box has plenty of potential as operators strive to retain their subscribers.
So, from humble beginnings, there will be 117 million sets accessing the internet via the pay TV set top box by end-2018.
Despite limited take-up so far, blu-ray players will be important in the connected TV expansion, with 81 million connections forecast by 2018 – or nearly double the total at the end of this year.
For more information about the Connected TV Forecasts report, please see the Broadband TV News shop.