Connecting the Living Room

5/3/2013


More consumer electronics devices for the home now feature embedded connectivity, but the rate at which consumers are putting that feature to use varies. While TVs, Blu-ray players, video game consoles, and other devices can all be connected to the Internet, consumers tend to activate the connectivity on some products more than others.

According to NPD Group, www.npd.com, 47% of home entertainment devices are currently connected and being used for their online capabilities. However, NPD says the online usage varies greatly. The devices most likely to be connected to the Internet are streaming media players and video game consoles, while TVs and Blu-ray players are the least likely to have their online features put to use.

Overall, NPD sees potential in streaming players, forecasting that in 2014 streaming media players will exceed the number of installed and Internet connected Blu-ray players. Devices in this category include products like Apple TV and Roku. They allow Internet content to stream to the TV set.

Among consumers who are using their connected TV functionality, the tops apps being employed are Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu. Netflix eclipses the other two, with 40% of connected TV owners making use of its app, while 17% use YouTube and 11% use Hulu.

While more streaming devices may be used for connectivity than connected TVs, overall more people are watching Internet content on their televisions. TDG Research, www.tdgresearch.com, found 56% of all U.S. broadband households have at least one TV connected to the Internet, either directly via connected TVs or indirectly via devices like game consoles and Blu-ray players.

TDG also says connected TV penetration doubled in the last year from 12% to 25%, and 69% of these devices are now connected to the Internet. Among households using connected TV systems, nearly a fourth have of these households two or more connected TVs in the home. The research firm says this suggests consumers now view connected TV as a service that is not just for the living room, but can also be expanded to bedrooms.

Connected TVs and related devices can act as hubs to bring connectivity into the home, and in some cases they are also being used to manage other systems. Connected security, heating, and lighting systems can in some cases be controlled using the TV as an interface. Bringing more functionality to TVs is therefore a goal of many technology providers. Controlling the TV can provide a pathway to offering more services.


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