LED and smart TVs prosper as 3D TV wanes

LED-backlit TVs and smart TVs that allow consumers to browse and view shows directly from the Internet have replaced 3D TV as the “must have” features driving television purchases in 2011, according to IC Insights’ Integrated Circuit Market Drivers report. In 2011, LED-backlit TVs are expected to account for an estimated 37 per cent of global TV shipments, up from 15 per cent in 2010. LED TVs are forecast to represent 53 per cent of digital TV shipments in 2012.

Besides being thinner and lighter, LED-backlit TVs have rapidly gained favour among consumers because they offer broader colour range, improved contrast ratios, and use less power. Also, LED TVs are said to be more reliable offering over 100,000 hours of life compared to traditional cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) LCD TVs, which are often rated at 20,000 hours.

In general, DTV growth rates are expected to remain fairly flat in developed markets (e.g., North America, Europe, and Japan) through the forecast period, since the big digital upgrade cycle in these regions has mostly already occurred. However, India, China and other countries throughout Asia-Pacific, and Latin America are forecast to enjoy strong DTV growth. Fast-growth economies, increased disposable incomes, and large populations will drive this expansion. Asia-Pacific is undergoing a digital TV boom that some believe will result in 70 per cent of homes having a DTV in 2015, up from approximately 35 per cent in 2010.

The 2012 IC Market Drivers report also notes that the method of delivering programming is quickly transforming broadcast television. Just as smartphones brought the Internet and thousands of applications to mobile phone users, Smart TVs are bringing Internet and Web 2.0 features to television sets and offering access to TV broadcasts, videos, movies, photos, and other content via the web. An estimated 20 per cent of television shipments in 2011 were Smart TVs, but this is expected to increase to nearly 40 per cent of in 2012. Consumers can watch almost anything found on a website on their television, and that is partly why so-called “cord cutting,” where consumers drop cable to watch videos or TV shows on Hulu, Roku, or their Xbox 360, is accelerating.

Meanwhile, 3D TV has gone from cutting-edge television technology in 2010 to commodity-like status in 2011. Manufacturers, who in 2010 pulled out the stops to convince users to upgrade to 3D TV, now promote it as a nice-to-have feature. In fact, TV manufacturers are slowly adding 3D technology into all of their newest products, so chances are a new buyer is getting 3D technology whether he or she specifically chooses it.

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