Informa Telecoms & Media published a couple of interesting predictions recently pertaining to future trends of Smart TVs. For starters, the business research and training firm anticipates global sales of Smart TVs to spike over the next five years, with more than 220 million sets sold worldwide by 2017. That's four times more than the number of Smart TVs sold in 2012. It's a significant thrust, but hardly surprising given the technological progression HDTVs are headed in.
However, Informa also added another interesting nugget, suggesting that more than half of these Smart TV owners are likely to use these 'intelligent' displays the same way they did with older unconnected sets. This trend can be attributed to TVs and their longer life-cycles which make them less appropriate as a hub in a "digital home", compared to often-replaced devices like smartphones, tablets, set-top boxes, media streamers, and games consoles. According to Informa, "their short life-cycles and rapidly increasing processing power will define what 'Smart' means", in contrast to televisions which are replaced on a less frequent basis. Andrew Ladbrook, Senior Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, has this to say.
“Informa estimates that in 2017 more than half of the 800 million Smart TV sets by that time will only be used as dumb screens. Moreover, while any 'Smart' TV bought in 2011 or 2012 can be used for streaming online video services for a few years, they lack the processing power and the necessary hardware to perform those Smart-TV functions that will be standard in 2015. Simply put, any Smart TV purchased in 2012 will be effectively obsolete by 2015."
In his blog post, Ladbrook also added that the fragmentation of platforms will continue to affect the Smart TV market. In other words, developers won't have an easy time releasing apps across multiple platforms with each brand staging their own software ecosystems. Market leaders like Samsung and LG will stand to gain from this by attracting top services across the globe, thanks to to their strong positions in the HDTV market. And lastly, Informa believes Google will develop a default Smart TV operating system, although that is unlikely to happen anytime soon.