Smart TVs now in 50% of homes in U.S., NPD Group says

More than half of all American households now own Internet-connected TVs, according to the NPD group. 

In its new Connected Home Entertainment Report, the research company said that connected TV device use is now up to 46 million homes, adding 4 million new U.S. homes in the second quarter. 

The primary driver of this growth, according to NPD Group, has been the "success" of the smart TV industry. The company said 45 percent of TVs sold in the U.S. during the second quarter supported smart TV apps such as Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), up from 34 percent in 2014 and 24 percent in 2013.

NPD's perspective on smart TV usage differs from widely held beliefs that smart TVs feature too few apps, and that consumers favor devices like Roku and Apple TV to connect their sets to the Internet. 

Also in the second quarter, 69 percent of all installed Internet-capable TVs were connected, NPD said, up from 61 percent last year and 45 percent two years ago.

"Generally [smart TVs] have the key stand-alone streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon," said study author John Buffone to FierceCable. "Streaming media players have far more video and TV apps available than the TVs themselves, and that is a competitive advantage. That said, [smart TV] user interfaces are improving and with it more consumers are connecting and using their TVs streaming options. As more viewers discover and use over-the-top apps from TV Networks it will be of tantamount importance for the TV OEMs to procure those channels for distribution on their operating systems -- otherwise this positive trend could unravel."

Meanwhile, Netflix remained the most popular video service among connected TV homes in the second quarter, followed by YouTube, Amazon Prime Instant Video (NASDAQ: AMZN), Hulu and HBO Go/HBO Now. Combined usage of HBO's TV Everywhere and OTT platforms displaced Sony's Crackle to enter the top five, according to NPD.

For more:
- read the NPD Group's Connected Home Report (sub. req.)

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