Connected TVs are taking their place in the line-up of always-connected modern gadgets alongside smartphones, tablets, and wearable computers. Together, these devices are reshaping how audiences consume media.
In fact, some connected TVs run on versions of the same operating systems already found on smartphones and tablets, including Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. In other words, it’s useful to think of connected TV less as a phenomenon isolated to the TV market, and more as part of a wider consumer trend toward media consumption via the Internet and connected gadgets.
In a recent report from BI Intelligence, we look at the connected TV landscape, analysing the factors, trends, and key players that are shaping the market. We unpack the competing open and closed platform paradigms that are vying to define how we watch TV, and examine the relationship between connected TVs and the pay TV industry.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:
- Streaming devices currently comprise the majority of connected TVs. But we believe that distribution will shift to smart TVs, as prices decrease and the television upgrade cycle shortens.
- Apple TV and Roku hold the largest market share for streaming devices, but Chromecast, which Google released last summer, has also achieved stellar sales numbers. Market research data shows that 8 million Apple TVs and 4.5 million Rokus shipped in 2013 in the U.S.
- Smart TVs will account for the majority of television shipments by 2014. By 2015, more households will have smart TV than connected TVs.
- On both streaming devices and smart TVs there is a division between open and closed platforms. Chromecast, LG, and Roku have embraced open platforms that allow developers a great deal of freedom to develop apps for their devices. Samsung, Apple, and others are betting on closed ecosystems, which follow a more careful curatorial approach.
- Despite platform fragmentation, HTML5 offers at least a faint hope for increased unification between connected TVs, just as it does on mobile. LG and Chromecast have integrated it into their connected TV development environments.
- How will developers and operating system operators monetise smart TV apps? Media downloads, subscriptions and — to a much lesser degree — advertisements will drive the dollars. Smart TV platform operators have begun experimenting with ads.
- Changes to the pay TV industry, namely cable and satellite providers, will also have a huge impact on the future of connected TV. It’s now an open question as to how — and how effectively — cable providers will use their power to shape the future of connected TV.
In full, the report: