With the rise in streaming that has taken place in recent years, there has also been a growth in mobile device usage. Tablet sales have risen, with over four in 10 UK households now owning one (up from 24 per cent in 2013). A third of British children between the age of five and 15 now have their own tablet device, according to Ofcom, while a new report from CHILDWISE shows that 60 per cent of kids now have TVs in their bedroom, down from 80 per cent in 2004.
Despite the growth in popularity of smaller screens, though, television sets are far from dead, according to a new report from gfu. The Germany industry association, using data from GfK, reveals that the number of TV sets sold in Western Europe reached 34 million last year – a 3.2 per cent increase upon 2013. Turnover volume also rose 0.2 per cent to €16.3 billion, reversing a decline recorded in 2013.
More crucially, the demand for smart TV sets is growing: 15 million were sold in 2014, up 18.5 per cent year-on-year, while turnover jumped 10.2 per cent to €11.2 billion.
Germany is particularly fond of web-connected TV: 57 per cent of sets sold in Germany were smart TVs, while they made up 44 per cent across other Western European countries (including the UK).
Smart TVs face competition in the lounge from set top boxes, such as Amazon’s newly released Fire TV Stick (a smaller version of its Fire TV), and Google Chromecast, which partners up with tablets and phones to allow content to be broadcast from mobile devices straight to the big screen. The appeal of streaming media devices primarily stems from cost: for viewers with older TV sets that are not hooked up to the web, a box (costing anywhere from £30 to £80) can save a few hundred quid.
Smart TVs, though, are becoming more affordable: the average price of a TV set sold in 2014 fell 3 per cent to €477. Roku, which has made a name with its set top boxes, has since launched another wave of Roku TV sets, while Netflix has announced that it will introduce a Netflix button on remotes for selected smart TVs and has also introduced an independent TV recommendation scheme to highlight sets built for a “superior Internet TV experience”.