NPD: Game Consoles No. 1 Link Connecting TVs to the Internet8 Apr, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Blu-ray Disc players trail streaming media players as third most popular Web connection
Most households still link their TVs to the Internet via video game consoles, media players and Blu-ray Disc players, despite smart televisions dominating consumer electronics marketing efforts, according to a new NPD DisplaySearch report.
Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360, and other gaming consoles accounted for 19.3% of the devices households used to connect their TV to the Web, according to surveys of homes in the United States, Japan, China, France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom.
Roku and Apple TV, among other media center boxes, represented 17.1% of connection devices, followed by Blu-ray Disc players at 16.3%.
Behavior varies by country: for example, in China connected flat-panel-TV households most often connect through media center boxes (23%); while in the U.K. the favored connection is via gaming consoles (20%).
Overtall, 27% of flat-panel TVs are connected to the Internet, either directly from smart TVs or via connected devices. NPD DisplaySearch found that just 10% of consumers rely on smart TVs to connect to the Internet. Usage of smart TVs has been limited by higher prices, the widespread availability of other devices, and the complexity of connecting smart TVs to home networks and the Web.
“Despite an increase in the availability of TVs with internal connectivity options, consumers still primarily access online content using game consoles, media center boxes, and other devices connected to their existing TVs,” said Riddhi Patel, research director at NPD DisplaySearch.
Patel said that while game consoles and other external devices remain the preferred means of connecting TVs to the Web, new options are beginning to emerge.
She said USB-based media center box options are replacing physical set top boxes and gaining popularity in the United Kingdom and other countries, while in China, smart TV adoption is on the rise due to aggressive promotions by manufacturers.
“As consumers become more comfortable using the connectivity features of smart TVs, and as the navigation and search capabilities on those devices become more intuitive and user-friendly, we can expect to see more consumers accessing the Internet directly from smart TVs,” Patel said.