Smart TV numbers grow, but smartphones will drive OTT further

The number of smart TVs and streaming media players in U.S. broadband households continues to grow with more than half of all connected HH owning a smart TV and 40% at least one streaming media device.

The bigger number? 83% now connect those smart TVs to the Internet, according to a Parks Associates report, up from 70% in 2014 and just a fraction of that in 2012. Smart TVs are expected to make up more than 70% of all TVs shipped globally in 2018, up from 45% in 2015.

Parks also has reported 70% of broadband households subscribe to an OTT service, compared to 79% with pay-TV service.

Those numbers are similar to ones released in November by Leichtman Research Group that showed 74% of U.S. TV HHs currently have at least one Internet-connected TV device (smart TVs, streaming players, streaming adapters and sticks, and connected Blu-ray players). In 2016, LRG said, the number was 65%; it was 44% in 2013 and just 24% in 2010. LRG also said 29% of adults in U.S. TV homes watch video on a TV via a connected device daily, up from 19% in 2016.

That growth really isn’t too surprising as the number of OTT-only homes has increased three-fold since 2013 to about 11% of all U.S. households, just 1% less than the number of HH that receive broadcast signals via antennae. The VAB says there are about 820 million connected video devices in U.S. HH as of Q1 2018. In the all-important 18-49 demo, streaming hours as a percentage of TV viewing hours have more than doubled since 2015, the VAB said.

While the number of OTT-only HH has seen a modest increase, the number of houses that connect to the Internet via their smartphones has seen even more growth, something that is likely to accelerate as 5G moves to the forefront. The Pew Research Center said that 20% of North Americans access the Internet at home only on their mobile phones, compared to 13% in 2015 and just 10% in 2013. Deloitte Global predicts that number could increase to as much as 40% by 2022. A November survey by Axios/Survey Monkey found that 78% of smartphone owners say they use their mobile device to access the Internet more (45%) or as much as (33%) they do their computers at home. Users in the 18-34 demo, as expected, were most likely to say they use their smartphone to access the Internet most (55%), followed by the 35-64 at a surprising 47%.

Eighty percent cited convenience as the primary reason they used their phones, with 73% saying they can do almost everything they need to do online using a smartphone.

Samsung plans to launch a 5G smartphone on Verizon, AT&T and Sprint networks early in 2019, with AT&T saying it will deploy a second Samsung version that likely will support a wider range of 5G spectrum in the second half of the year and Verizon affirming plans to launch a true 5G consumer hotspot in 2019.

Apple, which delayed launching 3G and 4G phones until the technology was more widespread, has chosen to delay the launch of a 5G phone until at least 2020.

Stay tuned.

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