Home entertainment devices with integrated Wi-Fi support are expected to reach 600 million units shipped by 2015, according to new research from NPD In-Stat.
In-Stat's vice president of research, Frank Dickson, asserts in the report that this is because Wi-Fi has evolved from an extra feature to a "must-have" function on entertainment devices:
It is important to note though that Wi-Fi is growing from being simply about getting content from a network to devices, to sharing content between devices, as Wi-Fi evolves from being a network-centric connectivity standard to one that enables peer-to-peer connectivity. New innovations such as Wi-Fi Display and Wi-Fi Direct will fundamentally change the way that content is moved and shared in the home.
The report asserts this covers everything from computers (which have had built-in Wi-Fi support for some time now) to Blu-ray players, digital picture frames, and even speaker systems.
Although the report also includes televisions in this regard (and this might definitely be the case in 2015), there are still many consumers out there that are willing to forgo Wi-Fi on televisions -- mainly because HDTVs without Internet connectivity are pretty darn cheap these days.
However, as Internet-connected TVs become cheaper to produce and infiltrate the consumer world a bit more, these higher-end screens will likely come down in price as well. Not to mention that content providers (especially ones like Netflix and Hulu along with many TV app developers) will be pushing for and depending upon the sale of as many Wi-Fi-enabled TVs and other home entertainment products as possible.