Although Smart TVs are assimilating the features of the streaming box, the majority of users continue to use boxes such as Apple TV, Chromecast, FireTV and Roku.
A new study by Hub Entertainment Research sheds light on how consumers aged 16 to 74 years use Smart TVs and media boxes at home for streaming. Data was collected in mid/late August 2022.
- "The demise of the separate streaming media players (sometimes called a “dongle”) is being greatly exaggerated, with over half of the replacement tech (smart TVs) still connected to a streaming media player," the study concluded.
The study found that most users see the features of both types of devices as similar but some streaming apps remain unavailable on Smart TV platforms.
- "If an OEM wants a viewer all to itself, it either needs to go all in on universality and offer all services – or exclusivity, being the only source," said Hub Entertainment Research.
Your TV's remote can control a media box via HDMI CEC – and vice versa
Three in four users of Smart TVs or streaming boxes say that they also use their device for non-video usage with the most common one being music/audio (just under half of users).
Smart TVs are increasingly getting gaming capabilities in the form of cloud gaming which market research firm Omdia recently referred to as "the third streaming wave" while boxes such as Apple TV are getting more powerful hardware capable of rendering games locally.
Other factors for consumers to consider, not mentioned in the study, are digital movie purchases, video/audio format support, privacy and tracking, wireless audio platforms, cast systems (AirPlay, Chromecast), TV fitness services, smart home integration, and multi-user support.
The study also found that roughly two in three owners of a Smart TV or box with sponsored buttons on the remote control use at least one.
It ends with a warning:
- "The connected TV (CTV) ad business is built on OEMs collecting viewer data – but it seems few viewers know that," the authors wrote. "Taking these responses at face value, stakeholders in the CTV ad space may be in trouble if enough consumers wake up to this potential high-profile privacy issue."