Game platforms bring Internet TV to growing number of households, says research group

As Internet connectivity in the living room becomes increasingly important to consumers and companies alike, a surprising platform has emerged as the top broadband-enabled platform outside of PCs, according to new data from market research group iSuppli.

Video game consoles now top the list of platforms (other than PCs) offering Internet connectivity and consumer access to thousands of television shows and movies. In 2009, the video game console category accounted for 52 percent of all living room consumer electronics devices shipped with onboard broadband connectivity.

This trend means game consoles no longer simply compete with themselves, said iSuppli analyst Pamela Tufegdzic, who has authored the soon-to-be released "Gaming Platforms Evolve Beyond Gaming – Console, Handheld and Mobile Gaming Continues to Battle" report. "With consoles now allowing for Internet video-on-demand (VOD) services to be streamed to televisions, the devices compete not only with STBs providing Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) but also with satellite providers, telcos and cable services," she said. Their dual nature, which supports game play and Internet connectivity, make them a strong candidate for "winning the battle for the connected home," she said.

Within the past several months, game consoles have emerged as a significant platform offering consumers VOD, according to iSuppli. In April, Sony said it would launch MLB.TV service on the PS3 for live streaming Major League Baseball coverage. Netflix, which has been available on the Microsoft Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, recently became available on the Nintendo Wii.