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Penetration of Internet-connected TV sets growing rapidly

One in five owners of television sets are now using video game consoles, Blu-ray players or other devices to bring Internet programming to their home TV screens, a new study by market research firm Frank N. Magid Associates has found.

The research, conducted as part of the Magid Media Futures 2012 study, found that 21 percent of TV viewers connect to the Internet via their TVs in comparison to 16 percent last year. They use the connected TV for web browsing, viewing videos through subscription services such as Netflix, online gaming and visiting Facebook, in addition to other web services and content.

Magid’s study found that game consoles, like Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, are the primary means of connecting to the Internet via TV. These are followed by smart TVs, Blu-Ray players and over the top devices like Apple TV and Roku boxes.

Early adopters, Magid said, are more likely to be male (56 percent male vs. 44 percent female) with more than half of the adopters between the ages of 18-44.

The number of viewers accessing the Internet via their TVs will continue to grow, as 30 percent of consumers who do not currently access the Internet through TV say they are interested in doing so.

These potential subsequent adopters also skew male (58 percent male vs. 42 percent female) and tend to be slightly older than current users—ages 25-54—the study says.

“Connected TVs will bring the Internet to the large screen, in contrast to how the smartphone has brought the Internet to the small screen,” said Mike Vorhaus, president of Magid Advisors, a unit of Frank N. Magid Associates. “Consumers will be able to watch and browse what they want, when they want, on a big screen through connected TVs.”

“Over the next 18 months, we are going to be at the end of the early adopter phase of connected televisions as the mainstreaming of the technology happens,” Magid researcher Andrew Hare told the Los Angeles Times (www.latimes.com/). “More and more Americans are getting connected televisions in their homes.”

The Times reported that the viewer behavior is quickly moving beyond the technologically adventurous to include everyone. The number of connected TVs in homes could jump 50 percent annually over the next couple of years, Magid predicted in the Times report.

When twice as many people watch entertainment that has been delivered by the Internet to the TV screen, they’ll be less dependent on pay TV services, Vorhaus told the newspaper. This could signal major disruptions ahead for the way entertainment reaches the home, he noted.