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Over two-thirds of Smart TV owners “regular app users”

App developers are increasingly targeting Smart TV platforms as their next significant growth area as nearly 80% of owners in the US regularly use apps on them, according to Parks Associates, which recommends that developers continue to target video and gaming apps.

The US research firm is predicting that adoption of Smart TVs will reach nearly 25% of all US households this year – far behind the 60% penetration enjoyed by smartphones, but of increasing significance to app developers.

TV manufacturers are also becoming interested, according to Heather Way, senior research analyst at Parks., who points to the fact that Korean firms Samsung and LG have already started their own app developer programmes to control app distribution and monetization.

Parks Associates estimates that around 43% of Smart TV owners are regularly using an app to watch video, and 45% are using an app to play games.

Editor’s view: These are surprising findings – many in the connected TV industry believe that the majority of Smart TV owners are not hooking their devices up to the Internet, but instead using them as “dumb screens” and connecting them to other devices like set-top boxes or games consoles.

However, the US is undoubtedly ahead of other markets in terms of Smart TV adoption and exploration – Parks Associates has previously indicated that over half of Smart TV owners in the US are hooking up their sets to the Internet – but it appears to be the exception rather than the rule.

Our own analysts at Informa Telecoms & Media (publisher of IP&TV News) predicted at the end of last year that global sales of Smart TVs will rocket from 54mn in 2012 to 220mn in 2017, with penetration much higher in North America (63%) and Western Europe (64%).

The same report adds however that any Smart TV purchased in 2012 will be effectively obsolete by 2015 due to rapid advances in processing power, and predicts that by 2017 more than half of the 800mn Smart TV sets in the market globally will merely be used as dumb screens.

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