New Next Likely To Be Wireless Internet TV

wirelesstvFirst came the high-def, then the flat-panel. The next wave of television technology is likely to be TVs that wirelessly connect to the Internet.

According to ABI Research, some 20 million TVs offering wireless connectivity -- whether integrated in the hardware or available through an attachment -- will ship globally by 2011. That number will account for roughly 10-11% of the television sales market -- up from about 2% in 2009, says ABI industry analyst Michael Inouye.

While Internet connectivity for televisions has been available, the devices have not reached a market saturation where many people know about them. Most televisions still require a wired connection, and there were only a few wireless sets on the market. This year, however, may mark the difference.

"This holiday season will be an experimental and watershed moment," Inouye tells Marketing Daily. "At first, you only had one or two companies [producing them] but this year a lot of the big boys are going to have them."

There are a few obstacles, however -- the most obvious being the economy. With consumers putting off purchases of big-ticket items, adoption of networked television might take a while to catch on. Also, consumer awareness of the capabilities is not particularly high, Inouye says.

"Right now, there hasn't been that much marketing going into it," he says. "That may change during the holiday season."

Elsewhere, there's some concern that typical home wireless networks -- typically 802.11b and 802.11g systems -- will not be fast enough to support wireless television, or will suffer from interference. That may ease up as consumers adopt other connections such as the 802.11n frequency.

There's also the question of content. In its current state, consumers can get a wide variety of information such as news, weather, sports, YouTube videos and social networking capabilities via "widgets" that are downloadable to the sets. But unless there's more content available, consumers may prove resistant.

"At the end of the day, if the content holders don't let their content go to this platform in a timely manner, it's just not going to get anywhere," Inouye says.

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