Thought Google’s upcoming Androind-based Google TV platform was just about advertising? Think again: TV apps are estimated to generate nearly $1.9 billion in revenue by 2015, according to a new report from our friends at GigaOm Pro titled TV Apps: Evolution from Novelty to Mainstream.


Apps distributed through set-top boxes and connected TVs will generate close to $1.9 billion by 2015, according to a new report from GigaOm Pro analyst Paul Sweeting, who estimates that paid apps will only bring in $10 million this year. The huge growth will be driven in part by the accelerated adoption of connected TVs.

Recent market research from iSuppli has shown that 27.5 percent of all TVs sold in January were eventually connected to the Internet, with the percentage of TVs with direct access to the net growing faster than any other way of hooking up TV sets. GigaOm Pro’s TV Apps: Evolution from Novelty to Mainstream report (subscription required) now estimates that 60 percent of all TVs shipped worldwide in 2015 will have a built-in Wifi or Ethernet connection, and 70 percent of those connected flat screens will have some sort of app platform or app store on board.

Of course, TVs are not the only devices available that can be used to access TV apps. Set-top boxes like the Roku player, the upcoming Boxee Box or the Syabas Popbox all feature their own app marketplaces. Blu-ray players and DVRs also increasingly offer access to apps, and even your good old cable box could soon see more interactivity, thanks to EBIF apps and cloud-based app platforms.

Another reason that these apps haven’t been hugely successful yet is that some of the big players have so far abstained from the fight for the living room. Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs famously declared his company’s Apple TV product “a hobby,” and Google has yet to publicize its plans for TV apps. However, that is likely to change this week at the search engine giant’s Google I/O developer conference, where Google will reportedly announce its Android-based TV platform. Google TV is largely seen as just another ad play, but Sweeting’s projection shows that apps could also promise Google a nice additional revenue stream.

Read the full report here: TV Apps: Evolution from Novelty to Mainstream (subscription required)

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