Smart TVs gain popularity in the video streaming stakes

Mike Wheatley

Research firm Conviva says big screens are growing their dominance of the video streaming space, with smart TVs taking a higher share of total viewing time from devices such as streaming boxes, dongles and consoles in the last year.


The video streaming industry as a whole saw its total viewing time increase by 7% in the fourth quarter of last year, compared to 12 months ago, Conviva told FlatPanelsHD.

In North America, growth slowed to just 1% - perhaps because that part of the world has largely ditched COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. However, streaming viewing time in Europe jumped 20%, while South America’s viewing time rose by a stunning 61%.

With regards to the devices people are using to watch, the vast majority of the world’s streamers seem to prefer big screens. Smart TVs accounted for 76% of all streaming viewing time in the fourth quarter, followed mobile devices with 11%, desktop computers with 8% and tablets with just 5%. In the U.S., the dominance of big screens was even more pronounced with 83% of viewers there using their TVs.

What’s interesting about Conviva’s report though is it shows a significant shift in terms of platforms in Q4 of 2021, compared to the same period a year ago.

Conviva noted that smart TVs which can access apps such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video directly have enjoyed “explosive growth” in terms of viewing time compared to other platforms, such as set top boxes and consoles. For instance, Xbox streaming time declined by 19%, while PlayStation streaming time fell by 12%.

More surprising though is the declining popularity of devices such as the Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV streaming boxes, which saw their total streaming time decline by 1% and 7%, respectively.

“Conversely, Android TV led the way in growth, up 42%, followed closely by LG TV, up 36%, Samsung TV, up 27%, and Roku, up 12%,” Conviva said. “So, while many big screen devices are seeing stabilization, even more data points to smart TVs gaining ground.”

Roku leads the world overall in its share of big screen viewing, though that’s mostly due to its dominance of the North American market. In every other region of the world, it commands a single-digit market share, Conviva said.