One sector which has seen a massive amount of developments has been the infotainment sector. While I’ve touched upon a few aspects in my article on Connected Cars, it is quite interesting to note that the biggest progress has happened to the good ol’ television set. 2015 is going to be an interesting year for the Smart TV.
Gone are the days when Televisions used to simply broadcast received content. Today’s TVs are becoming smarter : better picture quality, more control, a wider gamut of features and content – all in all, more appealing to the end users. And with the advent of the Internet of Things, we’re also heading into an era where televisions are becoming truly ‘smart’.
In this article, I take a look at the major statistics from the Smart TV sector. I explore some figures from the biggest players out there, and I also throw light on some forecasts which can be made.
WHAT MAKES A TV ‘SMART’?
A very, very, basic question. And yet, it is quite a relevant question.
A primary requirement is of course connectivity to the Internet along with Web services. Now, while this can be included within the TV itself (conventional Smart TVs run on Web OS variants out of the box), it could also come as an ‘expansion pack’ of sorts, in the form of set top boxes.
The trend of these set top boxes is quite interesting to see, since many companies are hopping on this bandwagon. Apple TV and Roku have been the longest contenders, obviously. But a newer one has been Xiaomi’s MiTV set top box, along with a few more Chinese players. All this points towards more OEMs signing up for the ‘TV in IoT’ trend.
So, what does a Smart TV do? Essentially, it helps combine two services – broadcast and broadband – into one single seamless experience with a unified control interface. Moreover, with the progress in sensors everywhere, Smart TVs in the near future promise more user interaction, along with more contextual capabilities.
RIVALS OF THE CONCEPT
Smart TVs are definitely the ‘in thing’, but there are quite a few hurdles to overcome before the true potential can be realised. Primary among these hurdles is the growth of interest in UHD televisions, along with Curved OLED and other technologies. More resolutions, better colour reproduction technologies has paved the way for normal televisions becoming more and more popular.
Now while this would not be detrimental per se to Smart TV boxes, they are a cause of worry for Smart TVs. Manufacturers will have to see this change in interest and accordingly formulate their strategies.
SOME FACTS AND FIGURES
• Apple generated over $1 Billion in Apple TV Sales in the fiscal year of 2o13. This figure included content sales of TV Shows and movies directly from the TV Box.
• Back in September 2014, Roku CEO Anthony Wood stated that the company had sold about 10 million streaming players in the US. The company had also partnered with Asian players Hisense and TCL, in order to come up with specific television sets for the Roku devices and the concept of Smart TVs as a whole.
• Coming to Amazon’s Fire TV, the company had announced a growth of 18% in operating cash flow, from $4.53 billion in June 2013 to $5.33 billion in June 2014. They also stated that the app market for the Fire TV was seeing lots of participation from the developer community, and as a result the app selection had doubled itself in one year.
• Here’s the forecast for the average selling price of Smart TVs over the coming years. The average would come down to about $1510 in 2015.
• Because of the predicted decrease in the prices of Smart TVs, there will be an increase in the sales, as evident from this forecast of unit shipments. 191.1 M in 2015!
• Back in February 2014, a survey was conducted by Statista regarding the number of users of Smart TVs in various countries. Here are the results.
ZOOMING INTO COUNTRY WISE STATISTICS
The number of Smart TV users in the US has been constantly increasing, as is evident from the following graph. In 2015 58.5M Smart TVs will sell in US alone! It is estimated that at the current rate of growth in the number of users, there will be a total of 78.8 million Smart TV users in 2018.
Like I’ve mentioned before, a defining quality of Smart TVs is their ability to connect to the Internet and access web based services and applications. In this regard, an interesting statistic can be realised in the form of the following graph.
The UK has been extremely promising in the arena of Smart TV technology, and a study conducted by GFK stated that 45% of all TVs sold in Q1 2014 were Smart TVs.
WHAT DO THESE FIGURES IMPLY?
Basically, all these figures and facts imply one fundamental trend – there is an inclination of consumers and the technology sector as a whole towards Smart TVs. The primary reason for this would be the inclusion of a plethora of services and features within the Television sets.
Moreover, with capabilities to support UHD and other display technologies, and aided with the reduction in costs, we will soon see Smart TVs being more accessible to the general populace.
Without a doubt, Smart TVs are gaining momentum. They are indispensable to the whole concept of Internet of Things, and the day is not far off when Smart TVs will be integrated with your virtual world in order to provide content suited to your liking, before you even think of accessing that particular content! With sensors, Smart TVs would become more than just a big screen, and would be an extension to your digital workspace in terms of efficiency!
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