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Punters: we want our internet TV

Net-sourced video, yes; web browsing, no

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Consumers really do want to access internet video on their tellies, market watcher In-Stat has concluded.

The research that led In-Stat to make this claim comes out of the US, but it's hard to believe there would be any significant difference had the company surveyed Britons instead beyond the inevitable lag in the numbers of folk who already view online video content on their TVs.

The study found that 26 per cent of US consumers already watch internet-sourced TV content more than once a week, and almost 40 per cent said they want a combination of broadcast TV and on-demand TV.

This will come as welcome news to vendors like Sony, Samsung, Panasonic and LG, all of who will be pitching connected TVs to UK consumers this year. Each offers a GUI that allows users to select from a range of online content - mostly YouTube and BBC iPlayer, but other sources are coming - using their TV remotes.

And not just TVs - manufacturers are building this technology into set-top boxes and Blu-ray Disc players too.

Contrary to the predictions made by analysts in the late 1990s - remember all those forecasts that we were entering the so-called 'post-PC era''? - the driver for the adoption of connected TVs is video content, particularly catch-up TV services and on-demand movie viewing.

Most vendors say they're cautious about offering a full web experience. Though that's partly due to the cost of developing the Java and Flash players they'd need to ensure their tellies can present the web as well as a computer can, there is a sense - and this is reflected in In-Stat's survey - that consumers view the computer their preferred tool for web access.

Telly vendors are dipping a toe into services other than video, mainly through Facebook and Twitter clients, but the motivation is video and TV: to allow folk to comment in real time about what they're watching. We suspect that many of them will prefer to do so using a smartphone or netbook, leaving the TV screen free to show pictures. ®

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