Streaming media players to top list of Internet-connected entertainment devices

Blu-ray disc players will lose their status as the most Internet-connected home entertainment device next year as they are overtaken by special-purpose streaming media players, according to a newly released forecast from The NPD Group.

The prediction, part of the company’s Connected Intelligence “Connected Home” report, reflects the growing importance of over-the-top entertainment content providers, such as Netflix and YouTube, to consumers.

“While there are more Blu-ray disc players installed and connected to the Internet than streaming media players, such as Apple TV and Roku, we expect that to change in the next year,” said John Buffone, director, devices, NPD Connected Intelligence. “Streaming media player will exceed the number of installed and Internet-connected Blu-ray players in 2014.”

According to NPD Group, a new generation of streaming media devices optimized for content delivery will appear, providing consumers with a more compelling interface that will offer more compelling interface to discover content and other services, particularly when compared to Blu-ray disc players.

Netflix is responsible for a large portion of the growing popularity of watching content via the Internet. The NPD Group’s Connected Intelligence “Application & Convergence” report reveals 40 percent of TVs connected to the Internet themselves or via another device are used to watch streaming content from Netflix. Seventeen percent are used to watch YouTube content, and 11 percent are used to watch content on Hulu’s ad-supported or Hulu Plus services, the data show.

The data also reveal that Blu-ray disc players and Internet-capable TVs are least likely among all home entertainment devices to be connected to the Internet and used for their online features, according to newly released data from The NPD Group. In contrast, streaming media players and video game consoles are connected and used most.

The findings are based on a survey of more than 4000 U.S. consumers, 18 years of age and older, taken in the first quarter of 2013.