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OTT TV devices pass one billion mark

Global OTT TV devices shipped have now passed one billion globally, including 220 million in Europe, and a growing proportion of consumers are viewing video services via IP-enabled devices, according to new research by Strategy Analytics. 

IP-enabled TVs are the largest category of OTT device, followed by IP set-tops and DVRs. Total OTT devices are expected to reach 1.8 billion by 2017, up from 895 million in 2013 and 375 million in 2010, according to the company.

The installed base of connected CE devices had reached 4.4 billion units globally at the end of 2013, with an average of nearly 2.5 connected devices for every household.

This number will rise to 8.2 billion by 2017 with each home owning an average of 4.3 devices, rising to 9.6 for the US – up from 7.3 connected devices per home in the US last year.

Strategy Analytics found that usage over any connected TV set-up had grown by 13% between 2011-13, while viewing via tablets had grown by 9.6%. Viewing via smartphones had grown by 7.6%, while viewing via portable computers had increased by 5.2% and viewing via desktops had grown by 3.2%.

Ownership of IP enabled TVs is expected to exceed games consoles this year, according to the company, with over 30% of households having one or other or both type of device. “Although smart TVs have had a bad press, there are encouraging signs with the new generation and we will see improved usage going forwards,” said David Watkins, director, connected home devices, digital consumer practice, Strategy Analytics, speaking at the Connected TV Summit in London this morning.

Watkins said that while ownership had increased dramatically, usage of these devices will vary. CE manufacturers have struggled thus far to see widespread consumer adoption but are beginning to see take-up. “Collaboration with pay TV operators is one way forwards, he said.

Pay TV operators are “in the strongest position” with large bases of customers with a propensity to spend money. “the relationship makes it difficult for consumers to churn out of their relationship,” he said.

Internet companies such as Google, Apple and Amazon are also competing for the home. Google has struggled so fare but has struck a winning streak with Chromecast, he said. The chances of Google launching a new smart TV platform could lead to a dual strategy, he said.

Apple TV has also been a successful product and together with Roku the pair have a 60% plus share of the digital TV adapter market. Apple has sold over 20 million devices to date, according to Watkins. “Apple’s approach is likely to become more collaborative and they may look to partner with pay TV operators,” he said.

Amazon remains an important player, he said. “Amazon is trying to leverage its position as a retailer.”