Smart TV forecast: gigabit Wi-Fi in the living room

1Executive Summary

The TV is one of the fastest growing devices in the connected consumer market today. This is because the HDTV market has transitioned from one largely driven by screen fidelity and formats to one that is increasingly about how connected and “smart” the device is.

So what do we mean by smart TV? NextMarket Insights and GigaOM Research define a smart TV as those models with embedded networking (usually Wi-Fi, but it can be ethernet), the ability to access and stream internet content, and an app and service platform based on top of a computing- or mobile-centric OS such as Linux, Android, or iOS.

Some differentiate between smart TVs and “connected” TVs, but NextMarket Insights believes there is no real difference between a connected TV and a smart TV today. While early models with basic networking and less-robust software could hardly be called smart, those TVs have made way for full smart TV stacks.

The smart TV market will grow from 67 million units shipped in 2012 to 134 million shipped in 2015. This market will be driven by a continued evolution of the TV market as networking and robust smart TV app software become standard issue on many flat-panel display lineups.

As the smart TV category grows in coming years, a simultaneous transition to higher-speed Wi-Fi connections based on a new standard—802.11ac—will translate to fast growth for the new wireless technology in the TV space. The reason we expect significant adoption of 802.11ac in the TV market is:

  • Growth in video streaming between second-screen devices and TVs
  • HD video streaming
  • Gaming

This report will look at the the growth in the smart TV market and the resulting impact for 802.11ac in smart TVs while also examining which applications are driving the adoption of higher-speed wireless technology.

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  1. Low-cost Android 4.1.1+ MiniPC devices (a.k.a. PCSticks, TVBoxes and TV Dongles) let savvy consumers add Smart TV features, such as Internet streaming video and cloud-based gaming, to low-cost “dumb” HDTVs.

    For an overview of today’s low-priced MiniPC market, which currently is dominated by Chinese manufacturers in Shenzhen, see my detailed “First Look at the CozySwan UG007 and Other Android 4.1+ MiniPC Devices” article at http://oakleafblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/first-look-at-cozyswan-ug007-android-41.html.

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