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2/24/2010
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1 In 4 TVs Internet Connected

Using IETV, gaming consoles, digital video boxes, and PCs, consumers are increasingly linking their TVs to the Web.

More than a quarter of all televisions sold in January in the United States were connected to the Internet, an indication of the growing popularity of online video entertainment, a market research firm says.

A survey of 800 consumers found that 27.5% had connected their new TVs to the Web, either through the internal capabilities of their sets or via an external device, such as a digital video box or game console, iSuppli said. The finding shows that people want to view Internet content on their TV, rather than the smaller screen of a desktop or laptop.

"With the increasing pervasiveness of large-sized, flat-panel digital televisions, and the rising availability of Internet-enabled TVs (IETVs), more consumers are linking their sets to the Web," iSuppli analyst Tina Tseng said in a statement.

IETVs are the leading and fastest-growing approach to accessing the Web on televisions, iSuppli said. The survey found that 41.9% of Internet-connected TVs in the U.S. in January were IETVs.

The next most popular means of connecting TVs to the Web was video-game consoles, 20.3%, followed by Blu-ray players, 13.2%. Digital video boxes and other means of connection, such as PCs, were tied at 12.3%.

IETV's share of Internet-connected televisions in January rose 14.2 percentage points from 27.7% in December, iSuppli said. The researcher defines as IETV as a set capable of connecting to the Internet either with a wired link, or wirelessly, and provides sufficient system resources to support thin-client applications, such as widgets.

"IETVs provide easy, integrated Internet access, attracting the interest of consumers," Tseng said.

All the major TV makers offer flat-panel TVs with Internet connectivity, including Samsung, Sony, LG Electronics, Vizio, Sharp and Panasonic. ISuppli predicts that worldwide sales of IETVs will rise to 87.6 million units by 2013, up from 14.7 million in 2009.

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