Connected TV devices top 500MN
Michelle Clancy
| 03 October 2014
Worldwide ownership of connected TV devices such as smart TVs, smart Blu-ray players, IP-enabled game consoles and digital media streamers has hit a half-billion in sales.

According to data from Strategy Analytics, this landmark was passed after the market grew 7% quarter-on-quarter in the second quarter of 2014, and 34% versus the same period in 2013,

The growing demand for devices that facilitate the streaming of online video to the large-screen TV is creating a highly competitive environment with no fewer than 16 major technology brands accounting for 90% of devices in use. A quarter of connected TV devices installed in homes around the world are Sony-branded products, while Samsung enjoyed the highest unit increase to its installed base during the quarter. The combined footprint of Sony, Samsung, Nintendo and Microsoft accounts for 60% of all devices in use.

"Connected TV devices fulfil a growing consumer desire to access over-the-top (OTT) content on the big screen in the home," said David Watkins, service director for connected home devices at the firm. "While game console vendors and the major TV brands have the largest footprint of such devices, major IT and Internet brands such as Apple, Google and Amazon are starting to build up a significant base of lower-cost media streaming boxes and dongles from which they can tap into the online TV audience to advance their own living-room strategy."

Apple TV remained the leading brand within the global digital media streamer market in Q2 2014 although its share dropped to under 30% for the first time in the face of competition from Google's Chromecast, Amazon's Fire TV and Roku. Google's connected TV device footprint grew faster than any other brand from the first to second quarter 2014.

Game consoles were until very recently the dominant connected TV device installed in the living room. However, Strategy Analytics said that the first quarter of 2014 marked the first time that there are more smart TVs installed in homes globally than IP-enabled game consoles. It predicts that smart TVs will now move on to become the dominant connected TV device in the living room in terms of ownership.

"The challenge for smart TV vendors moving forwards will be to grow the number of active users and to do this they must ensure that their platforms remain relevant and up-to-date – certainly no easy task given the lengthy TV replacement cycles," said Eric Smith, analyst for connected home devices.