Connected TVs Gaining Interest - InformationWeek

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Connected TVs Gaining Interest

Consumers' growing use of PCs and game consoles to access the Internet on TV bodes well for the future of connected TVs, analyst says.

Interest in viewing the Web on television sets is so strong that consumers are making their own connections through PCs and video game consoles, a research firm says.

Last year, the number of U.S. households using Web-connected game consoles rose by 64% from 2008, while the number of households connecting a PC to a TV increased by 36%, according to a report released Tuesday by Parks Associates.

"Many households are working with devices they already have to get the connected-TV experience, which shows strong future demand for connected TVs, Web-enabled Blu-ray players, and networked digital media players such as Apple TV and Roku," Parks analyst Kurt Scherf said in a statement.

More than three in four households with PC-to-TV connections and a third of households with Microsoft Xbox 360 consoles are using the technology to stream online video, the research firm said. These households are laying the foundation to study consumer behavior with connected consumer electronics, as well as people's use of entertainment services.

Parks Associates is not the only analyst firm to see signs of a growing interest among consumers for Internet-connected TV. According to iSuppli, more than a quarter of all televisions sold in January in the United States were connected to the Internet in the buyers' homes.

People connected the sets to the Web either through connections within the TVs or via an external device, such as a game console or digital video box. iSuppli also found that Internet-enabled TVs are the leading and fastest-growing approach to accessing the Web on television. Nearly 42% of Web-connected TVs in the U.S. in January were IETVs.

Internet companies are also jumping into the market. Google has reportedly partnered with Dish Network in testing a search service that would enable users to find video content on conventional TV and on the Internet.

The test, which uses Google's Android software, could determine whether TV viewers would favor Web-like searches over the use of remote control searches, which usually involve the use of menus and much clicking around via a TV's remote control.

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