By Keri Algar

SYDNEY, NSW: A United States research company has said it expects IPTV to outdo 3D TV in consumer popularity stakes, forecasting close to 120 million internet capable TVs to be shipped globally in the next four years, compared to the 40 million delivered in 2010.

DisplaySearch released the report in the same week that Sony will launch its Google TV integrated range in the US, which is expected to arrive in Australia sometime in 2011.

It would seem 3D technology has consumed consumer interest, especially as suppliers fall over themselves to release 3D capable panels to retailers in Australia, however, before the footy finals retailers told that consumers were asking after IPTV more often than 3D TV.

“I find that more people are asking about IPTV than they are about 3D TV. There is a demand for it, there’s no question,” Stephen Lew, from Clive Peeters in Hobart, told in September.

Harvey Norman business development manager, Chris Raju told that IPTV is an exciting technology the industry is talking about a lot.

“I think [consumers] come in more on the 3D angle than anything else, but when they’re in-store they get more of an understanding of what internet TV is and they certainly walk out, I think, more excited about the internet TV concept,” said Raju.

“At the moment there’s plenty of content already available on internet TV – different applications and different channels – I think that’s creating a lot of demands as well. Our teams are talking a lot more about it than they were 12 months ago.”

DisplaySearch director of European TV research, Paul Gray, said it was an exciting, albeit a challenging time for the TV sector and the multitude of stakeholders.

“It’s a battleground where TV set makers, internet video companies, free-to-air broadcasters, pay-TV and the IT industry are all rushing to stake their claims.  IPTV is moving from being a technology to becoming recognizable service offerings,” said Gray.

“It has been a long, challenging journey so far, especially with new competitors like Google TV joining the battle. Set makers will have to acquire new skills such as negotiating content deals in order to succeed. I think most of the TV supply chain senses that this is a seismic shift in the usage of TV that will be far more significant than 3D, which will not alter TV function or usage patterns.”