Is there any surprise here: The number of U.S. consumers planning to purchase a smart TV has nearly doubled in less than a year.

According to new consumer research from Parks Associates. more than 10 percent of broadband households plan to purchase a smart TV in the second half of 2011, up from 6 percent in the first half. These households, representing 50 percent of the nearly one-fourth of U.S. broadband households planning to purchase a flat-panel TV, anticipate an average cost of $1,000 for the smart TV (defined as an HDTV) with built-in Internet access capability.

“Advertising campaigns from manufacturers such as Sony, Samsung, and Vizio have boosted consumer awareness and interest, making connectivity a must-have feature for new CE products,” says CEO Tricia Parks. “Younger consumers especially want the extra benefits on their new TVs of going to the Web for social networking and on-demand video or subscription entertainment options.”

Consumers’ preferred entertainment and social networking options on such connected CE devices as Blu-ray players, game consoles and smart TVs include the ability to stream and download movies and TV shows as well as to access to Facebook and online music.

Parks’ survey also shows 19 percent of broadband households intend to buy a tablet in the before the holidays.

“Apple is the preferred brand by far, capturing over 40 percent of planned tablet purchases for the rest of 2011,” Parks said. “Apple has a very strong reputation in consumers’ minds, with over 70 percent of consumers familiar with the brand rating Apple as ‘innovative’ and ‘cool,’ although considerably fewer rate it as ‘affordable.’”

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