Over half of US smart TV owners now hooking up their set

Smart TVs are going from strength to strength in the US, according to new research from Parks Associates, which finds that connection rates and consumption of online video through the devices are both steadily increasing.

The percentage of smart TV owners who actually connect their device to the Internet (long suspected as being in the minority) now stands at 56%, compared to 40% six months ago.

Three-quarters (75%) of US smart TV owners who connect their set to the Internet now watch on-demand online movies at least once a month, compared to 57% in 2011, while 71% now watch online TV shows at least once a month, compared to 51% in 2011.

A considerable proportion of these smart TVs are used to access content more frequently still, with 30% of owners watching movies on a near-daily basis, and 32% watching TV shows on the same basis.

Taking 2012 as whole, nearly half (45%) of all HDTVs shipped in the US this year are expected to be Internet-connectable – a huge increase from the 2008 figure of less than 1%.

“Smart TVs have the potential to be both a threat and an opportunity for pay-TV providers,” said Brett Sappington, Director, Research, Parks Associates. “Smart TVs provide consumers another way to access over-the-top services like Netflix on the TV, providing a new distribution channel that all players can leverage to deliver content to consumers.

“However, by integrating the smart TV into their distribution model, pay-TV providers can leverage their strengths in content costs, customer relationships, bundling, and other areas to play a more substantial role in OTT. In addition, pay-TV providers can potentially use smart TVs to lower subscriber CPE costs, an important consideration in a highly competitive market.”

A recent report from NPD defined a smart TV as being able to access a branded portal or service, while a connected TV is capable of accessing video content on the Internet (whether that be ubiquitously-available services like YouTube or structured services from broadcasters).

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