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NPD: Only one-third of US households have Internet-connected televisions

post #1 of 33
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Despite the increasing popularity of streaming set-top boxes, gaming consoles, and so-called "smart TVs," just 42 million of America's 115 million households have televisions that can display content from the Internet, suggesting significant room for growth for Apple TV.




The seemingly low figure released Thursday nevertheless represents a 17 percent increase over the numbers from one year ago, when only 36 million households had internet-connected devices in their living room. Market research firm NPD arrived at the totals after surveying 5,000 individuals as part of their most recent Connected Home Report.

"Consumers want devices that can deliver high-quality content to their TVs," NPD executive John Buffone said in a release. "The increase in Connected TV and streaming media player penetration is proof that consumers are investing in solutions that can provide app-related content in the simplest, most effective way."

Notably, the number of streaming media players surpassed connected Blu-ray disc players in living rooms for the first time. That surge in adoption may be good news for Apple as the company is thought to be preparing a major update to its own set-top streamer, the Apple TV.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, connectivity and user experience were at the top of the list when respondents were asked what was most important to them in a connected device, as 67 percent said that the ability to connect to the internet over Wi-Fi was their biggest concern. That was followed by desire for an easy-to-use remote control, minimal content buffering, an easily navigable home screen, and the availability of high-definition programming.
post #2 of 33

It all comes down to trust. When LG provided its customers the ability to opt-out of having their usage data sent to LG, LG chose to ignore the opt-outs. There really is no reason whatsoever for LG or any other company to charge for a television then invade the privacy of customers who opt-out of being tracked.

post #3 of 33
And I'll wager that a small percentage of even that third.even have the connection hooked up.
I know that if my tv's IP connection was via the set's built in software, I'd never use it.
post #4 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by leavingthebigG View Post

It all comes down to trust. When LG provided its customers the ability to opt-out of having their usage data sent to LG, LG chose to ignore the opt-outs. There really is no reason whatsoever for LG or any other company to charge for a television then invade the privacy of customers who opt-out of being tracked.

Personally I think that remaining two-thirds comes down to need vs. cost for the most part. Trust has little to do with it.
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post #5 of 33

I don't even have a TV. My laptop removed the need for a TV a decade ago. Better resolution, and if you sit close enough you can't tell the difference.

post #6 of 33

I have two "smart" TV's (one's a Sony, the other a Samsung), and I will never connect either one.  The reasons are simple:

 

 

So, no thank you.  I'll stick to AppleTV, or companies that understand how to make a networking product.

post #7 of 33
Ditto. Our great big Samsung is never directly connected to the internet. The honor of a wired 1G Ethernet cable goes to our Apple TV. It IS a matter of trust & proven software update practices
post #8 of 33
The definition seems vague. Is it counting only TVs with built-in streaming, or are they counting streaming through external devices like AppleTV, PS3, etc?

I haven't seen a built-in streaming feature that I liked. They seemed like afterthoughts. External devices seem to be much better, they live or die on experience, internal circuitry can be turned off or ignored.
post #9 of 33

That's a lot.

Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #10 of 33

No, it's not.

 

Considering most households have an Internet connection and multiple television sets, the fact that one-third have Internet-connected TVs is actually quite small.

post #11 of 33

How many people realize that buffering, connectivity etc is very dependent upon a half decent wifi set-up (read router). A lot of people have no idea and are running ancient wifi routers.

post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

And I'll wager that a small percentage of even that third.even have the connection hooked up.
I know that if my tv's IP connection was via the set's built in software, I'd never use it.

 

This.  The "smart TV" feature on my LG HDTV is a complete mess.  I disabled it (e.g. turned off its internet access) within hours of having the TV set up. 

 

And that was before the revelations detailing how LG spied on their customers' watching habits. 

 

The one feature I am glad to have are the 4 HDMI inputs plus one 1080i component input for the cable box.  In fact, all I need is for the TV to provide a decent number of HD inputs and an easy way to switch between them (also an LG weak suit) and I'll handle the content from there.

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

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   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

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post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post
 

How many people realize that buffering, connectivity etc is very dependent upon a half decent wifi set-up (read router). A lot of people have no idea and are running ancient wifi routers.

 

The streaming devices that matter most to me get wired Ethernet.  No reason to float Netflix/MLB.tv/ESPN3/Amazon Prime/Steam game content/etc. over the airwaves when the devices and TV are, for the most part, stationary.  YMMV.

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

Reply

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

Reply
post #14 of 33
The iPad is the biggest screen in my house and I'm fine with that.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #15 of 33
What about those of us with our computer (Mac mini) hooked up to our TV? Maybe there aren't many of us, but I consider my TV's 'box' pretty dang smart lol
post #16 of 33

My TV has internet capability (netflix, amazon, etc..) but its more intuitive and faster on my xbox one.

post #17 of 33

I deliberately bought a non-smart tv because they're all terrible. In addition, the technology behind the "smarts" changes a lot faster than I'm likely to purchase a new tv. To keep up with the latest technology, I'd much rather change a $99 box than a $999 tv.

post #18 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post
 

The streaming devices that matter most to me get wired Ethernet.  No reason to float Netflix/MLB.tv/ESPN3/Amazon Prime/Steam game content/etc. over the airwaves when the devices and TV are, for the most part, stationary.  YMMV.

It makes sense, but I'd wager that most people are less organized, less tech savvy, have more than one TV, have kids that watch on iPads, laptops, etc. They buy the Apple TV and plug it in, period. I have a friend who fits this category perfectly. The 'reception' was terrible so he went to the store and they sold him a wifi extender. It worked but his router is old as the hills. His iPhone works only off cellular because he doesn't know the password, or so he says, even though he managed to plug in the Apple TV.

post #19 of 33
Smart TVs suck. I've had my first personal experience with the suckiness last night. My parents went against my advise and bought one. The guy at Double-Click (an Apple retailer) told them the Apple TV is for computer experts. WTF?? The guy advised a smart tv would be best. I assume he is yet another techno weenie. They bought a Samsung smart tv. A day or two later, they called me for help. They couldn't figure it out.

First problem was that RCN requires them to rent digital cable boxes (I could rant about that too, but suffice to say it is yet another pointless device with connections and it's own remote control... and horrible picture quality; I see better on YouTube).

The tv is overblown. Some of it is straightforward but the Internet stuff is like looking at a wannabe friendly computer OS made out of a Linux. It's geeky, not self explanatory, and all the rest of the problems you'll find on countless articles about why smart TVs suck and are quite stupid.

I explained how things would have to work (use different modes on amplifier for different content, different remotes for different content, thank you mothereffers at RCN for the added complications). I explained that this tv has no YouTube app and observed the horrific GUI experience of the built in web browser. I advised my mother use her perfectly capable MacBook Air for all Internet stuff required by the tv (setting up Pandora, using YouTube)...

And then i advised they see if they can trade the smart tv for a non-smart tv and buy an Apple TV for Netflix, YouTube, Vimeo, etc and AirPlay the Internet-only stuff to the tv from their Macbook Air via Apple TV.

They have a history of this habit... Don't listen to son's advise, listen to some so-called authority instead, find that their son was right anyway... Sigh. Their problem. Not mine. I sent my mother an article about the smart TVs and she said "you told us some of these things before, now we have first hand experience". [shrug]

But this is the kind of crap people experience, these crappy smart TVs. My parents are average people that aren't tech people. They just want something simple but there isn't much offered that IS. Between the utter garbage performance and GUI design of smart TVs, and the COST of having an Internet package AND such a tv connected to it... (I saw their monthly phone-Internet-cable bill; it's horrific)... Most people are not wealthy and not tech geeks. This stuff is therefore irrelevant to them. Buying over-complicated smart TVs built by geeks with no human interfacing expertise, for geeks that love Linux, defeats the whole point of using a tv instead of a computer. Those of us that ARE comfortable with computers use them instead of TVs, anyway.

I can see why Internet-connected TVs are not common in homes. They're horrible devices. If Apple sold an actual tv, they'd KILL the existing competition (especially if they could force the cable companies to forego the extraneous converter box)... even with their awful iOS 7 mentality. The competition is just that bad. Only techno geeks like the currently available crap from Samsung, LG, et al, and most people aren't techno geeks. Most people just want to watch stuff and not be bothered by tech BS. Long live DVD and blu-ray!
post #20 of 33

115Million homes... Assume Apple wants 25% penetration.  My guess is with the sales of AppleTV over the past 2 years, they have that penetration right now.   My guess the limiting factor is limited bandwidth and lack of content (face it, Netflix and iTMS are the only reasons for the 'average TV owner' to buy AppleTV) for those that see the value but haven't triggered.  

 

Improving either tribute in some form to the cable companies, as they want you to pay for bandwidth and/or get compensated for loss of exclusive access to critical content (Live sports).

 

In all, until the model inverts, (pay for individual content, instead of cable-package/channel/network subscriber bundling), Apple's only method of penetration is to get to 'one controller, one search function' for all content displayable on your TV (OTA, Cable, ITMS, and 'in-app content' searching)

post #21 of 33

I don't doubt that Apple is working on a completely integrated solution. A big TV with an Apple TV built in. I'm sure many people would buy such a thing. But many also enjoy the freedom and advantages of separating the TV from the external box.

 

I just can't imagine what would draw me away from my preference to simply buy an external box like Apple TV to hook up to my favorite TV. It's the perfect trojan horse. Apple bypasses the TV and controls the features and interface and makes $ off of the content obtained from the iTunes store.

 

I see one major disadvantage: I would imagine that someone who forked over a lot of money to purchase an expensive iTV would be more sensitive to the inevitable upgrades/better features/lower pricing that occur in the Apple universe.

post #22 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Personally I think that remaining two-thirds comes down to need vs. cost for the most part. Trust has little to do with it.


Sadly, I tend to generally agreed with you on this, even though it's my personal biggest reason for having no interest whatsoever in internet-connected TV. And while you might think of it as need/cost analysis, frankly I just think most people flat out don't care and aren't paying attention to it at all. I'd be really surprised if 1/3 of US households really, truly have actively internet-connected TVs. As others have mentioned, just because the TV is capable of internet connectivity doesn't mean it's actually functioning that way.

That said, the fact that enough people here are expressing lack of trust and spyware/phoning home as their own reasons for not wanting this, well, that gives me hope. Hope that more people are indeed paying attention to this stuff. Folks, you need to spread the word so less-educated people understand.

On the downside, I should also point out to everyone that as soon as you made the change to digital cable, the cable companies are already able to monitor what you're watching. I held out for as long as possible, until they were literally disconnecting anyone still on analog. So now the quality is worse (compressing more data (stations) into the same bandwidth is never good), and there's the technical ability for surveillance.

Why is anyone okay with this?
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post #23 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

 

The streaming devices that matter most to me get wired Ethernet.  No reason to float Netflix/MLB.tv/ESPN3/Amazon Prime/Steam game content/etc. over the airwaves when the devices and TV are, for the most part, stationary.  YMMV.

But the only -- and seriously annoying -- problem with that is, you cannot use your iPhone or iPad as a remote. You're stuck with the Apple remote.

post #24 of 33
I never understood why TV makers thought people would actively go out and buy a TV that had these kinds of capabilities, particularly given that set-top boxes, Apple TVs, PS3s and even your computer already give you all these services, and generally do them far better.

As for myself, having one more item of consumer electronics that has to be kept up-to-date, given that an Apple TV or a cheaper Chromecast will do the same job as well, if not better, and can be upgraded or replaced trivially.

I have already switched to leases on cars, given that they have become so integrated with consumer electronics that only their basic "drive from point A to point B" function is going to remain usefully functional in five or ten years. If the technological interaction between my car, its heads-up display, and its entertainment/navigation could be driven by a separate and replaceable device, I would have done that instead. On TVs, you lose nothing. No matter what, it is a dumb display either driven by internal, non-upgradable electronics, or by upgradable and replaceable electronics on the other end of an HDMI cable.
post #25 of 33

With more and more consumers cord cutting, determined to never, ever have any relationship again whatsoever with any of the robber baron inept predatory cable providers - looking' at you Comcast, one of the finest services Apple could perform for the U.S. is to step outside of its manufacturing device comfort box and just buy Comcast from GE/NBC Universal. Or begin anew with a provider service for the long term that works efficiently, doesn't jack up rates every 3 months and doesn't involve corrupt payoffs to politicians in order to remain a despised monopoly in most markets. The reality is that the internet is the new village square/national newspaper and has become essential to the flow of critical information, employment, and education. i.e., far too important to be left in the hands of the current imperious collection of sociopaths who seek to stand on the neck of customers, with a pistol aimed at their head. There needs to be bona fide regulation and standards in the IP and cable industry. All devices that involve internet connections will be hampered, as well innovation in the U.S., until the delivery model is fixed. The amazing array of workarounds to these current providers by what is a growing number of folk with no tech skills whatsoever - other than a stubborn determined to not be swindled and mistreated by cable industry corporations - ought be a clear sign that the industry crooks are treading water but have lost the war to retain even a moderately satisfied consumer base. That's one reason I've held off buying so-called Smart products and will continue to do so. In the meantime, we receive 40 digital OTA channels and with a jailbroken ATV, almost everything we used to get via cable until several years ago. Just as people no longer need incur the costs of a landline phone, the same can be said of cable tv and, for now, Smart TVs. The privacy and software issues further roil troubled waters. 

post #26 of 33

He could probably achieve what he wanted for less than $200, with just two bridged Airport Express devices.

post #27 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post
 

But the only -- and seriously annoying -- problem with that is, you cannot use your iPhone or iPad as a remote. You're stuck with the Apple remote.

 

An AppleTV can be controlled by just about any IR remote, so you're not stuck with the Apple remote:

Apple TV: Using a third-party remote control

 

Also, there's at least one remote that has an iOS app for controlling all the devices it handles, via your (local) wireless network:

Logitech Harmony Smart Control

post #28 of 33

So, are we saying there are only 42mil internet capable TVs that have been sold, or 42mil in use?

 

Between the office and home, I've personally purchased 4 such TV sets, and in 0 (zero) cases are they connected to the internet.  The ones at the office are used only for meeting room displays, while one at home has an AppleTV, and the other connects only to an antenna.

 

What I'm saying is, depending upon how these stats are looked at, the field for AppleTV could be far bigger than at first blush.

post #29 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Personally I think that remaining two-thirds comes down to need vs. cost for the most part. Trust has little to do with it.

I wouldn't call that trust as much as ignorance of the potential privacy issues. How many people who use Facebook and Google have read the terms and conditions before they created an account? How many web surfers use private browsing? How many delete tracking cookies, and understand what they do?. How Google ads and Facebook "Like button" widgets can track every site you visit which includes those? And how many people realize how hackable the cameras and microphones on Smart TVs are? Most people don't know enough to perceive the potential for abuse and/or the privacy issues it creates.

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post #30 of 33
The only stat that matters is; what % viewing time is spent with Internet-delivered content. That's the market Apple will be chasing.

Interesting that the concerns highlighted look like an ATV+Airport+Modem would be the path for AppleTV. Highly feasible.
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post #31 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post
I wouldn't call that trust as much as ignorance of the potential privacy issues. How many people who use Facebook and Google have read the terms and conditions before they created an account? How many web surfers use private browsing? How many delete tracking cookies, and understand what they do?. How Google ads and Facebook "Like button" widgets can track every site you visit which includes those? And how many people realize how hackable the cameras and microphones on Smart TVs are? Most people don't know enough to perceive the potential for abuse and/or the privacy issues it creates.


Great post.

I should point out though, that even deleting tracking cookies is almost pointless now, at least as far as the big guns are concerned. Google is considering whether to stop bothering to use cookies because they can already track people well enough without them. If they follow through with this it will (sadly) continue pushing this fake perception that Google is protecting people's privacy, when the reality is they are just using a standard magician's trick: misdirection.
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post #32 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blah64 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post
I wouldn't call that trust as much as ignorance of the potential privacy issues. How many people who use Facebook and Google have read the terms and conditions before they created an account? How many web surfers use private browsing? How many delete tracking cookies, and understand what they do?. How Google ads and Facebook "Like button" widgets can track every site you visit which includes those? And how many people realize how hackable the cameras and microphones on Smart TVs are? Most people don't know enough to perceive the potential for abuse and/or the privacy issues it creates.


Great post.

I should point out though, that even deleting tracking cookies is almost pointless now, at least as far as the big guns are concerned. Google is considering whether to stop bothering to use cookies because they can already track people well enough without them. If they follow through with this it will (sadly) continue pushing this fake perception that Google is protecting people's privacy, when the reality is they are just using a standard magician's trick: misdirection.

Lots of companies, blog sites and advertisers are pushing cookies aside in favor of web beacons, web bugs, pixel tags and other tracking tech. Even Apple, generally considered as privacy-friendly, mentions in the Privacy Policy they are using several of these, Cookies are old school which is why it's popular for websites to say "we don't use 'em". They don't need to.

Some of the most invasive and impossible to avoid tracking is provided by companies like Kissmetrics. If you're not familiar with them you should be.Highly identifiable data collection and sharing. Quantcast (used by AI I believe) is yet another, made famous by their zombie cookies (Flash cookies) that raised themselves from the dead. Want more? How about AddThis, flying under the radar while fine-tracking 1.5B uniquely identified social site members as they search and wander across the net, without using cookies.

https://www.kissmetrics.com/features
http://www.wired.com/2010/07/zombie-cookies-lawsuit/
http://www.addthis.com/technology

So who needs to rely on old tech cookies anymore? Like you've mentioned it's false comfort if you think blocking them makes much of a difference...

and will knowing any of this change the way most users interact with the sites they visit like CNET, Yahoo, Hulu, Netflix or even AI? Almost certainly not IMHO.
Edited by Gatorguy - 5/16/14 at 8:37am
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post #33 of 33
That's a good warning, I wish more people were paying attention.

I'm well aware of these (and other) vile companies, and I use multi-layered precautions, including hand-tuned hosts files. If you don't allow your computer(s) to talk with tracking domains then you greatly restrict their ability to track you. It's more effort than most people are likely willing to expend, and pages often render without proper formatting (and no/few ads, which is a plus!), but personally I feel it's worth it.
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