Port Washington, N.Y. — So-called smart TVs and streaming-media players are driving increases in the U.S. household penetration rate of TVs connected to the Internet, according to a recent study from The NPD Group.
A Connected Home survey in the market research firm’s “Connected Intelligence” report found 42 million homes in the United States are currently connected to the Internet through a TV or another attached content device, such as a video game console, Blu-ray Disc player or streaming-media player.
NPD said that between Q1 2013 and Q1 2014, the number of homes with a TV connected to the Internet grew by 6 million.
The vast majority of that was driven by growth in the number of homes with connected TVs and streaming-media players.
“For the first time, there are now more U.S. households with streaming-media players than Blu-ray Disc players connected to the Internet,” said John Buffone, NPD connected intelligence executive director. “As a result, the streaming-media player platform now reaches a larger digital audience than the app-related content on Blu-ray Disc players.”
Consumers want devices that can deliver high-quality content to their TVs,” he continued. “The increase in connected-TV and streaming-media player penetration is proof that consumers are investing in solutions that can provide app-related content in the simplest, most effective way.”
NPD called out the convenience of wireless connectivity in the home as the most important feature for a consumer looking to connect a TV to the Internet.
Some 67 percent of connected-TV users said having a device that can connect with Wi-Fi influenced their decision in selecting a device to use for apps on TV.
Ease-of-use features, whether device-centric or related to searching for content, were four of the top 10 features highlighted by consumers, NPD said, such as an easy-to-use remote, easy-to-use home screen, the ease of finding an app or channel the viewer is looking for, and the ease of finding new apps.
“In some ways, the TV-viewing experience consumers want has not changed, although how they receive it continues to, and an app experience is no different,” stated Buffone. “Consumers want easy-to-find, entertaining programming and a quality picture that does not buffer. While device manufacturers cannot solve all of the challenges inherent in Internet content delivery, they can ensure viewers have an easy-to-use remote and home screen as well as facilitate content discovery.”