Apple TV Would Enter Competitive Web-Connected Market
Gartner analysts estimate worldwide unit production of flat-panel smart TVs will grow from 69 million in 2012 to 198 million in 2016.Amid increasing speculation that Apple is working on a Internet-connected television set, a report from IT research firm Gartner projects other television manufacturers are making the move to the Web, too. Gartner forecasts that 85 percent of all flat-panel TVs produced in 2016 will be "smart" TVs—sets that are able to access a wide variety of content from the Internet over a broadband connection, and can receive traditional TV broadcasts through terrestrial transmissions or via satellite, cable or an Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) set-top box. The report notes that a Web-connected TV is not essentially a game-changing competitive feature on its own, though Gartner analysts estimate worldwide unit production of flat-panel smart TVs will grow from 69 million in 2012 to 198 million in 2016. Instead, compelling features unique to the brand user interface will help rival manufacturers gain an edge and drive overall market demand. "In the end, the choice may be all about the extra content that one TV brand offers over another. Consumers will be asking questions such as which Internet TV services can the TV access? Are these the sites I think are valuable? Can I use my smartphone or tablet with this TV?" Paul O'Donovan, Gartner principal research analyst, said in a statement.
"It is critical for the TV industry during this global economic downturn and decline in consumer confidence levels to sustain sales and maintain or grow market share—especially in emerging markets. This is difficult when demand has slowed, so the extra functionality offered by smart TVs becomes the product differentiator —if prices are already competitive and all other variables are equal between brands," he continued in the statement.