Smart TVs are gaining in popularity but games consoles are still the most popular device for streaming video in US homes.
A quarter of US broadband homes now have a smart TV, meaning that the devices are finally starting to catch on and have overtaken standalone streaming boxes like the Apple TV and the Roku box (14% of households claim to use one of those). In fact, according to the Diffusion Group's "Defining the In-Home CE and Network Ecosystem 2013" report, smart TVs' popularity has doubled over the past 12 month -- at the end of 2011 only 12 percent of broadband households owned one. However, despite their growing use, only 69 percent of US smart TVs are actually connected to the internet, which is a worrying statistic considering that a smart TV's raison d'être is to supplement normal viewing with web-based apps and other online content. During the same period, streaming devices have also grown in popularity but at a much slower pace (12% of households in 2011 compared with 14% at the end of 2012).
However, the popularity and use of both pale in insignificance compared with games consoles such as the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 -- 62 percent of households have one and as such they are the most popular devices for watching online video on television -- almost 25 percent of all time spent on these games consoles is dedicated to watching video. This is no doubt aided by dedicated Netflix apps for both the Xbox and the PS3. The video subscription service recently announced that the PS3 was in fact the most popular device in the US for accessing its services. Netflix published its latest earnings in April and revealed that in just six years since its 2007 launch, Netflix has attracted 29.2 million US subscribers, more than any cable operator.
The Diffusion Group's report is based on an online survey of 2000 adult broadband users which gathered information about the type and number of devices a respondent owned, in which rooms they are kept and how often they are used. Other notable findings from the report include the fact that 82 percent of US broadband homes now have an HD TV and that 56 percent of all homes now have at least one TV connected to the internet, whether directly or via a games console, Blu-ray player or streaming device.