The modern American living room is more connected to the Web than ever before, but a new study from The NPD Group shows that just under half of all Internet-capable home entertainment devices in the United States are actually being used for their connected capabilities.
More specifically, NPD reports that forty-seven percent of Internet-capable TVs, video game consoles, streaming media devices and Blu-ray players are currently connected and in use. The findings come as part of NPD\’s Connected Intelligence Connected Home report, and were found after a survey of more than 4,000 U.S. consumers.
Perhaps the most intriguing part of the report is NPD\’s breakdown of what devices are the most frequently connected in U.S. homes. The firm found streaming media players like the Roku 3 or Apple TV to have the highest rate of Internet connectivity use, while game consoles like the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 were the second most likely. Blu-ray players are next, while smart TVs are the least likely to be hooked up to the Web.
Considering that streaming media players — which NPD says will continue to grow in popularity — are still less numerous than smart TVs and Blu-ray players, those results could be seen as surprising. But since the Rokus and Boxees of the world are more or less devoid of useful features without an Internet connection, the findings seem to make sense. Smart TVs and Blu-ray drives do not need the Web to provide content or play discs, after all.
Video game consoles are likely a little less cut and dry. A user can still play plenty of single-player games on his PS3 or Wii U, for instance, but the gaming industry has adopted online play en masse over the last decade. This has made multiplayer and connected gaming over online services like Xbox Live more or less an essential part of a current-generation consoles. In fact, a separate NPD study released yesterday found that 72% of U.S. gamers now play online, which is up 5% over last year\’s report. This trend is only expected to grow as the next generation of gaming takes shape.
NPD also used the new study to take a look at just what content is being watched on connected TVs. Netflix was by far the most popular app of the bunch, with 40% of all smart TVs reported to be using the streaming movie and TV service. YouTube came in second with 17% usage, while Hulu came in third at 11%.
According to NPD\’s John Buffone, this particular finding demonstrates the viability of digital distribution to content providers.
“Content usage remains dominated by Netflix and YouTube,” he said. “An opportunity for digital distribution lies in enticing consumers to plug in to the Internet and download the apps available on devices they already own.”