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March 26, 2008 5:23 PM

WebTV take two?

Posted by Brier Dudley

It's been obvious at CES for the past few years, but the number of TVs with Internet connections is about to take off, according to a new report.

ABI Research is forecasting the number of networked TVs sold will reach 65 million units by 2012, up from 3.6 million this year.

It said built-in connectivity will be demanded by consumers wanting to get digital content, social networking and new Internet services in more of their devices.

"Networking connections have gone from being 'nice-to-have' to 'necessary' for some categories of devices such as portable media players and gaming consoles," research director Mike Wolf said in the release. "We expect that as more devices get tied to content services, other categories will follow the same route, and we are already beginning to see this today."

The study said portable media devices will mostly connect wirelessly, while fixed devices such as TVs and set-top boxes will have a mix of Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections.

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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.