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Sales of Connected TVs Will Boom, but Limits Could Hold Back Audience
Living room viewing is coming, but first the industry needs to survive wireless bandwidth caps.

A new report by Display Search suggests that the dream of easy TV connectivity is finally here. The report surveyed the 2010 product ranges from leading TV-makers and found that 55 percent of TVs on sale in North America, Europe, Japan, China, and India will be Internet-enabled. This should translate into 45 million connected televisions, or 19 percent of all flat panels shipped in 2010.

Display search sees that figure rising sharply for the next few years, climbing to 119 million sets, or 42 percent of all TVs shipped worldwide in 2014.

While hardware growth will help the online video industry, wireless caps threaten to strangle it. iSuppli, a tech research company, sees the limits that AT&T recently placed on wireless streaming as a dangerous development for the streaming video industry. AT&T stopped offering unlimited data plans for new subscribers at the end of last month, choosing to offer two capped price plans.

iSuppli's report says that the caps will make it difficult for streaming video companies to develop an audience.

"iSuppli believes that most of the emerging streaming Internet models are mistaken in postulating that they could displace, over time, traditional television and movie delivery mechanisms without paying for related network costs," says William Kidd, director and principal analyst for financial services at iSuppli.

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Internet-enabled TVs are growing more popular around the world, pointing to strong broadband in emerging markets.