Internet-connected TVs are expected to help drive Wi-Fi device growth four-fold by 2017.
The latest report from ABI Research predicts that the number of Wi-Fi enabled devices shipped in 2012 is expected to surpass 1.5 billion. This is due to an incredible surge in growth occurring across the mobile handset, laptop, tablet, printer, automotive and TV markets. Overall, over 9 billion Wi-Fi enabled devices have been shipped since 2009.
One key growth area, according to the report, is the connected home. More to the point, Wi-Fi enabled HDTVs that can pull content in from the local network like movies and TV shows from Netflix and Hulu Plus, and gaming services like OnLive and Gaikai. 17 million Wi-Fi enabled flat panel TVs were reportedly shipped in 2011, and so far 30 million have been sold in 2012. That number will grow "four-fold" by 2017, the firm said.
"Wi-Fi is expected to become ubiquitous in coming years, not only to allow wireless Internet access, but mainly as consumers increasingly demand wireless connections between TVs and other devices such as smartphones and media tablets," said Peter Cooney, wireless connectivity practice director. "The forthcoming Wi-Fi display specification Miracast will further drive Wi-Fi attach rates in the connected home as consumers embrace the technology."
Broadcom, Qualcomm, MediaTek, Marvell, Intel, and Texas Instruments – the top six leading suppliers of Wi-Fi components – accounted for over 85-percent of the total market revenues in 2011, the report said. Over the past few years, many of these suppliers have mainly relied on the smartphone and laptop markets to drive revenue, but the connected TV market is expected to drive sales even further going forward.
"Those that have had particular success in the smartphone market will have a distinct advantage in the connected TV market as there is significant synergy between the two markets not only in wireless connectivity but also applications processor requirements," the firm said.
These findings are part of ABI Research’s Wi-Fi Research Service, which includes Research Reports, Market Data, Insights, and Competitive Assessments.