Connected TVs to double by 2017 as Blu-ray players fade away

Blu-ray Disc players continue to lose favor in U.S. homes as consumers’ connection to physical media loses its glue. A new report says connected TVs have moved past the former must-have hardware into third place among connected devices in U.S. households, and the hardware was adopted more rapidly than had been forecast.

In Q4 2014, the number of connected TVs installed and accessing the Internet in the U.S. increased nearly 70% to 22 million units, up from 13 million a year ago. Blu-ray Disc players, meanwhile, numbered 17 million at the close of 2014, compared to 20 million a year earlier; that’s a drop of 15%.

NPD said video game consoles and streaming media players are still the most used TV app platforms and rank No. 1 and No. 2.

The tears once shed by content owners at the demise of the DVD, however, are drying up as they begin to recognize the traction streaming has gained with consumers, and the potential payoff from making more content available online.

NPD forecasts that the number of connected TVs delivering content through apps in U.S. homes will more than double by 2017 to 47 million, with as many as 30 million connected homes having more than one connected TV.

Driving that growth, the researcher said, will be the hand-in-hand growth of content owners making their premium products available online through apps, specifically broadcasters.

“Going forward the key to success for connected TV and attached content device manufacturers will be the availability of apps from top TV networks,” said John Buffone, executive director, Connected Intelligence. “This aspect of the app marketplace will become even more critical during 2015 as HBO and Showtime follow CBS and become available without a cable or satellite pay TV subscription.”

Methodology

NPD polled more than 5,000 U.S. consumers, age 18 and older during the fourth quarter for the report. The number of installed and Internet connected devices includes those that deliver broadband applications and must actually be connected to the Internet.

Connected TV and streaming media player ownership survey results were calibrated to life-to-date unit sales from the NPD Retail Tracking Service.

Of course, the road to ubiquitous adoption of connected TVs also has more than a few bumps, as younger consumers remain attached to their smartphones and much younger consumers develop an increasingly strong bond with tablets.

Both mobile devices – as well as dedicated streaming devices – come at a much lower cost, have a shorter replacement cycle, and are cheaper to upgrade; all significant hurdles for connected TVs.

Will Millennials migrate back to the big screen after years of being tied to their personal screens? Or, will they simply prove that media consumption is a personalized, very targeted experience?

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn