The connected TV market is most often talked about as a race between smart TV manufacturers and streaming device makers (think Apple TV). But what people miss in this discussion — and what’s especially important from a developer perspective — is that video game consoles are actually the most popular connected TV device in global living rooms. And that’s by a wide margin.
A new report from BI Intelligence finds that video game consoles with streaming video playback capabilities account for 54% of the connected TV market. In all, as of March 2014, more than 280 million video game consoles with streaming video playback capabilities have been sold globally, compared to just 39 million streaming devices.
But are these devices actually used to stream video?
The answer is yes, and not just among the youngest audiences, although they are the most likely to use consoles as streaming devices.
In the report, BI Intelligence lays out why the market is currently so dominated by video game consoles, and how that will likely change in coming years. We also look at who actually uses video game consoles for streaming and what innovative features make consoles unique within the streaming ecosystem.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:
- Half of U.S. households already own at least one video game console, and roughly one-third of these households use the devices to stream online TV and movies to television. That translates to about 19 million U.S. households using video game consoles as TV streaming devices.
The use of game consoles as streaming TV devices isn’t restricted to the very young. A Deloitte survey showed that video game console owners in their teens and twenties were the most likely to list streaming video to TV as one of their top activities, but the activity was surprisingly popular among older demographics, too. Thirty-two per cent of console owners between 31 and 47 cited streaming movies or shows from services like Netflix or Hulu as one of their top three game console activities, as did 21% of those between 48 and 66 years old.
- Video game consoles come with far more computational horsepower than typical streaming devices and smart TVs, which allows developers to create immersive and unique connected TV experiences. For example, viewers can click through baseball stats as they stream a baseball game on the Major League Baseball app, or they can use Twitch to play video games side-by-side with footage of other players navigating the same game.
In full, the report:
- Looks at how many households own gaming consoles and what percentage of them use the device for TV streaming.
- Breaks down total sales of the most popular gaming consoles.
- Forecasts 2014 sales of gaming consoles and the most popular dedicated streaming devices.
- Examines the demographics of streaming TV to console devices.
- Explores what advantages gaming consoles offer for immersive streaming experiences as compared to smart TVs and devices like the Apple TV.
BI Intelligence is a tech research service from Business Insider. Sign up now to receive full access to all our analysis, reporting, and downloadable charts on the digital media industry.
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