Internet-connected televisions are catching on faster than projected, and are squeezing out Blu-Ray disc players as a way to access streaming and Internet-based content in the process.
According to The NPD Group’s latest Connected Home Report, there were 22 million connected TVs installed and accessing the Internet in the fourth quarter of 2014, up from 13 million at the same point a year previously. Comparatively, U.S. consumers only owned 20 million Blu-ray disc players in the fourth quarter of 2014.
“Part of that is the manufacturers have developed better interfaces for consumers to use,” John Buffone, executive director of Connected Intelligence for NPD, tells Marketing Daily, “and part of it is more [content created] for distribution.”
While video game consoles and streaming media players are the most-used TV app platforms, the rapid growth of Internet-connected televisions will broaden the audience for streamed content even further, Buffone says. Indeed, NPD projects there will be 47 million connected TVs in use in the U.S. by 2017.
“Going forward the key to success for connected TV and attached content device manufacturers will be the availability of apps from top TV networks,” Buffone says. “This aspect of the app marketplace will become even more critical during 2015 as HBO and Showtime follow CBS and become available without a cable or satellite pay TV subscription.”
The biggest factor hindering the growth of the market, in fact, is the presence of streaming hardware such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Google’s Chrome Stick, which undercut the urgency of having to buy a new television in order to watch streamed content.
“Consumers generally update their displays every 5-7 years. It’s a long-tail cycle,” Buffone says. “[Meanwhile], there’s several other streaming devices out there that do the same things.”
The NPD Group’s research comes from a survey of more than 5,000 U.S. adults in the fourth quarter of 2014.