Signaling that a major shift in the way Americans watch television is accelerating, the NPD Group predicts that the number of connected TV devices in the U.S. will double by 2017 to 204 million.
Releasing the figures in its Connected Home Forecast, NPD's "connected device" definition encompasses everything from over-the-top hardware like Roku, Apple TV (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Chromecast, to videogame consoles like the Xbox, to Internet-connected Blu-ray players and smart TVs.
Beyond there being more devices--about twice as many as there currently are U.S. broadband homes--more of them will be turned on and connected. While 60 percent of Internet-capable TV devices are currently connected to the Internet, NPD expects the figure to jump to 76 percent by 2017 as makers improve interfaces and develop apps that prompt users to connect.
"The evolution of hardware and digital content distribution is constantly changing the TV viewing experience," said John Buffone, executive director of NPD Connected Intelligence. "Over the coming years, the consumer's preferred device for apps on TV will be shaped by the next generation of video game consoles, smart TVs and a new wave of streaming media players."
He added: "Due to the rapid growth of connected TV devices, now is the time to establish consumer loyalty. Millions of viewers are trying new devices and apps, deciding which, if any, will become an indispensable part of their TV time."
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