Two out of five households have a connected TV in their living room but very few consumers are making the most of its features.

A study conducted by market researcher Knowledge Networks found that close to half of connected TV owners (47 percent) prefer to watch a program at its regular TV time slot.

"Connected TVs are now clearly a mainstream technology if defined by presence in the home – but actual usage is a different story,” said David Tice, vice president and group account director at Knowledge Networks in a July 7 statement.

'Finding ways to 'turn on' the installed-but-inactive population may be the key to growth in every area. One potential approach: Tap into the unmet needs of pay TV consumers, such as the ability to access web-like search tools and social media through their TV set."

The study found that consumers liked the flexibility of "anytime" programing on their internet TV, but still resorted to watching the live TV format.

Twenty-three percent of consumers said they switch on their DVR (digital video recorder) when they want to watch TV in the evening.

Barriers such as poor picture quality and buffering no longer pose a problem for those who want to watch TV on demand.

"The data reveals that two thirds of connected TV viewers believe the picture and sound quality are about the same as, or better than, their regular TV reception," said Knowledge Networks.

The study was based on responses from 1,008 people aged 13 to 64 with a TV in their home.

A report by ABI Research forecasts that the number of households paying for IPTV worldwide will grow to reach 155 million by 2016, up from 35 million in 2010. A majority of the growth is expected to occur in the Asia Pacific region.