NPD: Internet Access, Speed Impact Consumer Electronics Ownership, Including Smart 4K TVs

Internet access and speed are key to determining the amount and type of consumer electronics devices in U.S. homes, including connected 4K UHD TVs, according to new data from The NPD Group.

While household internet and speed can vary widely from state to state, or even county to county, there are a number of consumer electronics devices that have reached parity levels among connected households in rural and urban U.S. markets. Those include TVs, video game consoles, smart watches, activity trackers and tablets, according to NPD.

However, NPD found that wider gaps exist in ownership levels of devices that are more dependent on an internet connection, such as 4K UHD TVs, where a broadband connection is required for high-definition streaming, and smart home devices, where higher download speeds are needed for live video streams.

In the United States, 50% of households do not currently have a broadband connection (25Mbps per second download speed or greater). In addition, 15% of homes in the United States have no internet access, while 10% use a smartphone-only solution. Based on NPD’s findings, this lack of internet access or lack of internet speed has the biggest impact on rural markets. As a result, in rural markets ownership of 4K TVs and home automation products have trailed ownership levels reported in urban areas.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

While other factors also influence the CE ownership gap, such as income levels, one theme that is consistent across 4K TV ownership for connected households in rural and urban markets is that as home internet download speeds increase, so too do household ownership levels. The same can be said of smart home devices, such as internet security cameras that require higher download speeds.

“Consumers with slower internet speeds have less incentive to purchase 4K TVs,” Eddie Hold, president of NPD Connected Intelligence, said in a statement.

Hold said consumers with slow ISP speeds present a challenge for manufacturers that need usage data and advertising revenue to help sustain manufacturing.

“The internet is essentially the lifeblood of all consumer electronics products,” he said. “Understanding where coverage gaps exist can help explain trends and identify future opportunities.”

Parks: 92% of U.S. Internet Households Use Wi-Fi at Home

New data from Parks Associates finds that even as download speeds increase for U.S. internet households, value-added services and the quality of experience are increasingly more important factors in how subscribers evaluate their high-speed internet service.

Currently, 92% of U.S. internet households use Wi-Fi at home, and more than a quarter say they value quality of service more than price. Dallas-based Parks is holding a webinar — Managed Services with Exceptional Experiences: How Broadband Providers Win — Jan. 24, 1 p.m. CT (2 p.m. ET, 11 a.m. PT), to examine the ecosystem for broadband services and the role of managed services, including Wi-Fi, advanced support, and privacy protection.

“U.S. households have 16 connected devices on average, and these products rely on an uninterrupted Wi-Fi connection and solid network to deliver on their benefits,” Jennifer Kent, VP of research, said in a statement. “There are also multiple people in the household, each using these products for different reasons and with different expectations, so providing the support to deliver on these expectations is critical to the success of broadband service providers.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Amazon Selling Security for Home Networks

Amazon has begun selling monthly subscriptions for network security for its branded Eero wireless routers.

Acquired earlier this year by Amazon, Eeros routers afford consumers a secure wireless network within the home by employing so-called “mesh” technology via mini set-top devices placed around a home rather than a singular Wi-Fi hotspot connection.

Now Amazon is selling security for the routers, starting at $2.99 monthly or $29.99 annually for Eero Secure and $9.99 monthly ($99.99 annually) for Eeros Secure+ to safeguard the router from third-party malware and viruses.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The latter offers a personal VPN enabling users to safeguard their passwords and protect against anyone spying on data traffic on your network.

The software generated some blowback initially from online users since it tracks users’ activities in part to alert against third-party interference. Amazon and Eeros have pledged to support user privacy.

Regardless, Amazon is expected to incorporate Eeros in its burgeoning line of voice-activated Alexa devices.