Smart TVs, media players complement each other in streaming | Media Analysis | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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According to received wisdom, in the streaming universe people either access content through smart TVs via their built-in capability or through streaming media players (SMPs) like Roku or Fire TV, yet new research has shown that in the US many viewers use smart TVs and SMPs as complements to each other.
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And, says Hub Entertainment Research’s Streaming TV: Built-In vs Plugged-In? study, both have the ability to strongly influence viewing behaviour.

The study was based on a survey conducted among 2,517 US consumers in August 2022. It revealed that a large majority of homes in the US (83%) have an “enabled” (internet-connected) smart TV or SMP and almost most homes (44%) owned both types of devices. At the set level, respondents told Hub that more than half (57%) of all enabled smart TVs have a streaming media player attached to them.

For either a smart TV or an SMP, about half of viewers used the options on the device’s home screen to search for or select content, rather than going directly into apps. Another key viewer influence were the branded buttons often found on remote controls that take users directly to a specific streaming service. Use of these branded buttons was found to be common, whether on a smart TV or an SMP. Almost two-fifths of smart TV users (38%) or SMP users (35%) used branded buttons on their remote “all the time” or “often.”

Assessing the trends revealed in the study, Hub noted that such features give device manufacturers a strong influence in what content is selected for viewing, whether it’s through recommendations or promotional ads on the home screen or reducing viewing decision to a one-click button.

“The question of ‘built-in vs plugged-in’ is surprisingly revealed in this study to be ‘it doesn’t really matter.’ Whether people are using a smart TV or a streaming media player, their habits are very similar,” said David Tice, senior consultant to Hub and co-author of the study. “In the short term, both devices are going to co-exist – streaming media players are a long way from being replaced by smart TVs and can’t be ignored.”