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More TVs hopping onto the Internet

More than 25 percent of all TV sets purchased in January are now connected to the Net, either on their own or via external devices such as games consoles, says iSuppli.

Eager to watch the likes of Hulu and YouTube on the big screen, more people are hooking up their TVs to the Internet, says a new report from iSuppli.

A survey of 800 U.S. consumers who bought TVs in January found that 27.5 percent of them have connected their new sets to the Internet, either through the TV itself or via an external device such as a game console or digital video box. That compares with 24.3 percent in December.

Almost 42 percent of the sets that were purchased in January and are now connected to the Internet are Internet-Enabled TVs (IETVs), which can jump online using their own built-in wired or wireless capabilities. That is a huge rise from December when new IETVs accounted for 27.7 percent of the connections. Video game consoles were the next most popular way of accessing the Net through a TV, followed by Blu-ray players, digital video boxes, and PCs.


"From video-sharing sites like YouTube to online services like Hulu, consumers increasingly are turning to the Internet for video entertainment," iSuppli television systems analyst Tina Tseng said Tuesday in a statement. "And these consumers want to view Internet content on their primary displays in their homes--their televisions--rather than being relegated the small screens of their desktop and notebook PCs."

Global sales of IETVs will hit 87.6 million units by 2013, up from 14.7 million last year, the market researcher predicts. And around 60 percent of all flat-panel TVs shipped in the U.S. in another three years will be IETVs.

"IETVs provide easy, integrated Internet access, attracting the interest of consumers," noted Tseng. "Because of this, all the major brands now are offering more flat-panel sets with Internet connectivity, including Samsung, Sony, LG Electronics, Vizio, Sharp, and Panasonic." Dropping prices and a greater selection of screen sizes are behind the surge as well, Tseng said.