Parks Associates found 56 percent of TV set owners have accessed some content from the Internet, up from 40 percent two years ago.
The research firm says that number is expected to go up because nearly one-half of HDTVs shipped in 2012 will be Internet-connectable, Media Daily News reported.
Overall, Internet-connected video watching on big TV screens is up 30 percent in the last six months, Parks said.
"This [type of] device, when connected, offers a toehold to a variety of players, including broadcasters, over-the-top video providers and pay-TV providers," Parks research analyst Pietro Macchiarella said.
Smart TVs that don't require any extra equipment, like a set-top box or wireless streaming box, have the potential to be either a threat or an opportunity for pay-TV providers, Parks analysts said.
"Smart TVs provide consumers another way to access over-the-top services like Netflix on the TV, providing a new distribution channel that all players can leverage to deliver content to consumers," Brett Sappington, Parks director of research, said.