SCOTTSDALE, AZ — Video calling from the TV is a nascent market, still playing catch-up with PC-based and mobile phone-based video calling. However, it’s poised to grow quickly. New research from NPD In-Stat forecasts an increase in total users from 1.5 million in 2011 to 16.4 million in 2015. Asia Pacific will be the largest market for living-room video calling by a significant margin, as this is the region with the most shipments of video calling-enabled devices.

Some observers have called TV-based video calling a killer app for fiber to the home because it requires robust and reliable broadband, especially in the upstream direction.

Video calling originated on the PC, and PC-based services are significantly more mature than others. They also continue to evolve in functionality – for example, by integration with social networks.

“While the mobile market is experiencing the strongest growth in usage, the PC and living room calling markets are also experiencing a surge of large-player activity,” says Amy Cravens, senior analyst at NPD In-Stat. “The integration of video calling with social networks, such as Skype’s integration with Facebook and Google+’s incorporation of Hangouts, is bringing a fresh perspective to video calling. Additionally, introducing this capability to the living room, enabling HDTV video chat, is an additional aspect of the market that is being endorsed by industry giant Microsoft as well as leading device OEMs, including Panasonic, Samsung and LG.”

NPD In-Stat’s findings include:
• The total number of video calling minutes of use will approach 550 billion minutes in 2015, a monumental increase from 141 million minutes in 2010.

• Skype and Apple FaceTime are leading the mobile video calling market and had similar usage rates among mobile and tablet callers. Other leading and emerging video calling solutions include AOL, fring, Google, Microsoft Kinect, ooVoo, Raketu, Skype and Tango.

• The buildout of 3G networks and the launch of 4G services will be important drivers in mobile video telephony.

• Skype says that 75 percent of its online users have made a video call.

• Active usage rates vary significantly across screen types.