BOSTON—A new survey focusing on changes in smart TV usage has found some obvious trends—the use of smart TVs for video streaming continues to grow—as well as some less obvious developments—streaming music and audio have emerged as a very popular application on smart TVs.
The fifth annual edition of Hub Entertainment Research’s “Evolution of the TV Set” study found that more consumers are using the built-in connectivity of smart TVs to watch video (about 64% now stream video on their smart TVs) and that half of smart TV owners say they use their set for streaming music or other audio content.
The study also found that smart TVs are the home base for viewing, with three quarters (74%) of TV homes now reporting that they own a smart TV, up from 61% in 2020.
More dramatic growth can be found in the fact that nearly two thirds (64%) of all TV homes report using a smart TV to stream video, compared with fewer than half (47%) in 2020.
The dual increase in ownership and usage for viewing is a clear signal smart TVs are gaining traction, and gradually replacing separate streaming devices like Roku or Fire TV sticks or boxes, the researchers said.
“The evolution of the TV set is making valuable new features available to viewers, whether it be better quality picture and sound, streaming, apps, or voice control,” said David Tice, senior consultant to Hub and co-author of the study. “This also means challenges to incumbent firms in the TV ecosystem as alternative content providers, advertising sellers, and gatekeepers dramatically increase their presence through the growth of smart TVs.”
The survey also found that voice command is taking control: Half of respondents (52%) say the TV set they use most often has a remote control with voice command capability, up from only 38% in 2020.
In addition, in homes with a smart TV, a third (30%) of respondents have linked their smart TV to a smart speaker to enable voice control – up from 25% in 2020, the Hub study found.
The researchers also stressed that Smart TVs are becoming the hub of home entertainment and a wider range of activities other than watching TV. This year, 3 in 4 smart TV owners (77%) say they use their set for more than just watching TV or movies (up from 6 in 10 [63%] in 2020.)
The most popular non-TV feature on smart TVs is streaming music or other audio content: 49% say they have used their smart TV for this, almost doubling since 2020.
The second most used feature is casting or mirroring another device’s screen on the smart TV. Over a third (38%) of smart TV owners said they have done this in 2023 – almost tripling since our 2020 wave, the study found.
These findings are from Hub’s “Evolution of the TV Set 2023” report, based on a survey conducted among 2,504 US consumers. Interviews were conducted in May 2023 and cover consumer ownership of, and attitudes towards, TV sets and TV-related technologies. A free excerpt of the findings is available on Hub’s website. This report is part of Hub’s Entertainment + Technology Tracker syndicated report series.
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George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.