42 million US home with connected TVs in first quarter 2014
Joseph O'Halloran
| 17 May 2014
Once regarded as a niche activity, connected TV has now established itself right into the mainstream in America according to NPD research.

The NPD Connected Intelligence Connected Home Report found that during the first quarter of 2014 there were 42 million US households with a TV connected to the Internet, either via a video game console, Blu-ray disc player, streaming media player or a smart TV itself. This meant that the number of homes with a TV connected to the Internet grew by six million year-on-year with the vast majority of this growth driven by an increase the number of homes with connected TVs and streaming media players.

Interestingly the survey found that for the first time, there are now more US households with streaming media players than Blu-ray disc players connected to the Internet. 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," said John Buffone, executive director, Connected Intelligence. "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."

Having the ability to connect these devices wirelessly is the most important feature for a consumer said a complementary NPD report, the Connected TV User Experience Report. In this, two-thirds of connected TV users said having a device that can connect with Wi-Fi influenced their decision regarding the device they preferred to use for apps on TV. Among the top ten features highlighted by consumers were ease of use, whether device-centric or related to searching for content. These features include 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," Buffone added. "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."