ABI Research released its Broadband Video and Internet TV report today, in which it predicts that, thanks to more Net-connected TV devices, the number of people watching online video will grow globally to 941 million in 2013 from 563 million at the end of 2008.
Online video in this particular case has a pretty wide definition in that it includes any video that’s delivered via an Internet connection (excluding IPTV services). So Netflix (s NFLX) streaming, Apple (s AAPL) video, Hulu (s nbcu), etc.
This coming online video viewer boom will be a result of the growth in all forms of content (premium and UGC) and devices that plug into your TV and as such, becoming capable of delivering all this content, a trend we’ve seen pick up steam over the past year (have you seen how sweet YouTube’s HD streams look on an HD TV?). Netflix embodies both elements of this report’s finding, offering streaming movies on a wide range of boxes — from the standalone Roku, to the TiVo (s TIVO), to Blu-ray DVD players, to the Xbox game console.
I spoke with Michael Wolf, who covers the digital home space for ABI, and he had some further predictions. “I feel strongly that these new boxes are not going to be the big winners,” he said. “There will be smaller hits — Apple TV, Roku — but consumers are going to want to use existing boxes.”
“There’s a traffic jam in the living room,” Wolf went on to say, and he believes consumers won’t want more than three devices under their TV. He thinks they’ll keep their cable or satellite box, some kind of DVD player and a game console. “Beyond that, ” said Wolf, “it’s hard to get a consumer to say ‘I’m going to invest in a new box.'”