The number of homes with connected TVs is rising fast– and it’s not because of smart TVs

More than a third of American homes have at least one TV that’s hooked up to the internet, according to new research. And connected videogame consoles, like Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3, account for the bulk of this connectivity, with 28 percent of U.S. homes owning a game unit that’s hooked up to the internet,  Leichtman Research Group found. In January, for example, Microsoft said that has 40 million subscribers to its Xbox Live network alone, with the bulk of those users residing in the U.S.

The 38 percent of homes that now have at least one connected TV is up from 30 percent last year and 24 percent the year before.

Internet-capable Blu-ray players are also in 13 percent of American homes, with Leichtman noting that there is some overlap of consumers who also own a connected game unit.

Just 4 percent of homes get their connection through a smart TV, Leichtman reports, and only 1 percent get a TV-to-internet connection via an over-the-top device like Apple TV or Roku.

Leichtman, which polled 1,251 consumers for its Emerging Video Services VI study, also notes that Netflix usage is driving the growth of interent video consumption, with 16 percent of U.S. adults saying they stream Netflix movies and TV shows at least once a week — up from 12 percent last year.

Although Leichtman also reported last month that growth rates for the cable/satellite/telco subscription TV business are declining, with only 380,000 new subs added in the U.S. last year, the research firm’s founder, president and principal analyst, Bruce Leichtman, does not believe that increased internet-video consumption is leading to mass-scale cord-cutting.

“It just means usage overall is up,” he told paidContent. “Consumers don’t act in an either-or world, and just because they use connected devices doesn’t mean they’re disconnecting from cable, satellite and telco TV.”

Of the 1,251 adults polled by Leichtman, just. 0.1 percent said they dropped their pay TV service in the last six months because they can watch all the video they need over the internet.

Photo courtesy Shutterstock user [Oleksiy Mark]