(By Mani) Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system, which is thriving in smartphones and tablets, is set to gain mileage in another platform called connected TVs, a market that is expected to touch $117 billion in the next four years.
Research firm IMS said TV manufacturers would resort to proprietary operating systems in the next five years for connected TV sets, although Android OS will start gaining presence and it's expected to reach a significant share of the market by 2014.
A connected TV is either a TV with in-built internet features or a set-top box for television that offers more advanced computing ability and connectivity than a contemporary basic TV set.
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While the concept of connected TVs is still in its nascent stages, it is expected to witness substantial growth in the next five years. In addition, TV offerings from companies such as Sony, LG, Samsung and Intel have indicated products in the area that will give television users search capabilities, ability to run apps, interactive on-demand media, personalized communications, and social networking features.
Google has already ventured in to this market with Google TV, a Smart TV platform co-developed by Google, Intel, Sony and Logitech. Google TV integrates Google's Android operating system and the Linux version of Google Chrome browser to create an interactive television overlay on top of existing internet television.
Internet connectivity is becoming standard on high-end TV sets, and it's increasingly being added to mid-end televisions. In the future, many TV set manufacturers will bring connected TV sets to the market by 2014.
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Internet connected TV's could account for 70 percent of total TV shipments in 2016, according to a new report by IMS Research. Currently, about 25 percent of the TV sets shipped globally in 2011 were internet-connected.
As the volumes surge, the current high price of connected TVs should come down. The firm noted that more than 80 percent of the connected TV sets shipped worldwide will have built-in Wi-Fi during 2016, and close to 30 percent will have advanced user interface features such as motion, gesture or voice.
The increased awareness of Smart TV is also expected to improve sales of flat panel TVs as connected TVs enable consumers to view all of these advanced services on their flat screen TV, via a single device.
However, the research firm has warned that the impact of internet-connectivity on total TV set growth will be hurt by the availability of other internet-connected devices such as Apple TV, Roku and game consoles.
Currently, Apple TV allows consumers to use an HDTV set to view photos, play music and watch video that originates from limited Internet services or a local network. Apple TV brings digital content from iTunes Store, Netflix, YouTube and Flickr.
Roku is one of the market leaders in streaming entertainment devices for the TV with millions of units sold and are known for their ease of use and selection of content. Since launching the first Netflix streaming player in 2008, Roku delivered streaming content to about 2.5 million streaming players. Roku platform features a collection of channels including Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Crackle, Hulu Plus, HBO GO, MLB.TV, Pandora, Facebook and Angry Birds.