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DigitalTVResearch-Global-Connected-TV-Penetration-Forecast-2010-2018-Oct2013About 1 in 10 TV sets across 40 countries around the world were connected to the internet last year, according to recent estimates [pdf] released by Digital TV Research. That translates to about 228 million sets last year – a number that’s forecast to soar to almost 760 million by 2018. That would represent 26.8% of TV sets across those countries. Much of the growth will take place outside of the US, which is estimated to this year account for one-third of connected TVs, with that proportion falling to 23.5% by 2018. By contrast, about 1 in 6 connected TVs will be in China by 2018, up from just 6.6% at the end of this year.

While the forecast appears fairly linear (2.9-3% growth annually for most of the forecast period), the growth in penetration is expected to come from a variety of sources increasing at different speeds:

  • The number of connected TV sets via streaming/retail set-top boxes (such as Chromecast and other such products) will this year grow to 34 million, double last year’s total, before reaching 126 million by the end of 2018;
  • There will be about 176 million connected games consoles by 2018’s end, double last year’s tally;
  • Those consoles will be outnumbered by installed smart TV sets, which figure to account for 34% of the 2018 total, or 259 million sets, a marked rise from 110 million by the end of this year and just 34 million at the end of 2010;
  • The number of TVs connected via the pay-TV set top bo (via pay-TV operators) will reach 117 million by the end of 2018; and
  • Blu-ray players will account for 81 million connections by the end of 2018, close to doubling the figure for the end of this year.

How Are American Youth Using Their Connected TVs?

Among young connected TV owners in the US, over-the-top content (OTT) – from services such as YouTube and Netflix – now counts as the most common way of accessing video content, per research from The NPD Group. Three-quarters of these 18-34-year-olds use their connected TV or the devices connecting them to watch OTT content, compared to 68% using them to watch content from their pay-TV provider. Netflix remains the top OTT video service among 18-34-year-old connected TV users, ahead of YouTube, Amazone Instant & Prime Video, and Hulu Plus.

For the time being, the 35-54 and 55+ demos are still more commonly accessing pay-TV programming through their connected TVs than OTT video, with the gap wider among the older group.

About the Data: The NPD Group data is based on responses from more than 5,000 U.S. consumers, aged 18-years or older who took part in an online survey which asked questions about their usage of computers, smartphones, tablets, and connected TVs. The survey was conducted during Q2, 2013.

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