Study finds smart TV adoption growing rapidly, market ready for iTV?

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Although we continue to hear reports regarding Apple’s work on a full-blown television set, pundits remain skeptical that the project will ever see the light of day. They say the margins are too small, and the demand for internet TVs is too weak for Apple to make a move.

But the latter part of that theory isn’t entirely accurate, according to a new report from media research firm TDG. Their studies show that Smart TV adoption is actually growing rapidly around the world, with 25% of broadband households now owning at least one set…

The data comes from The Diffusion Group’s (TDG) latest ‘Defining the In-Home CE and Network Ecosystem 2013‘ report (via GigaOM). The group queried tens of thousands of consumers around the globe on their usage habits of broadband internet and connected devices.

And the results? 14% of those polled in broadband households said they owned an Apple TV, Roku box or another kind of streaming device in 2012. But surprisingly, smart TVs were much more popular, with 25% owning some sort of smart TV with an embedded app platform.

In fact, the TDG says that ownership of Smart TVs has roughly doubled over the last year, with [again] 25% of 2012 study participants in broadband households owning at least one, compared to 12% in 2011. Dedicated streaming devices only grew about 2% in the same time.

So what does all of this mean? Nothing necessarily. But one could use the data in an argument that smart TVs may be more than just a passing fad, and it would serve Apple well to take the market seriously. That would, more or less, mean developing some sort of TV set.

Rumors regarding the so-called iTV have varied over the past few years. But most reports seem to agree that it will sport Siri functionality and app support. The latest chatter claims Apple is building a 4K display for the device, and that it’s looking to launch it as early as this year.

How about you, do you own a smart TV? Are folks ready for an iTV?