TVs overtake PCs for home online video viewing

The home installation of millions of Internet-connected TVs is changing the way that consumers access and view streaming video, according to market research company The NPD Group.

Findings from the firm’s Digital Video Outlook indicate that over the past year, the number of consumers reporting that the TV is their primary screen for viewing paid and free video streamed from the Web has risen from 33 per cent to 45 per cent. During the same period, consumers who used a PC as the primary screen for viewing over-the-top (OTT) streamed-video content declined from 48 per cent to 31 per cent. This shift not only reflects a strong consumer preference for watching TV and movies on big screen TVs, but also coincides with the rapid adoption of Internet-connectible TVs.

The report also reveals that home installation of millions of Internet-connected TVs is changing the way that consumers access and view streaming video. As of the second quarter (Q2) of 2012, 12 percent of the installed base of consumer TVs in the US were connected TVs, totalling more than 29 million devices. Approximately 10 per cent of US consumer households currently own at least one connected TV. NPD research conducted over the past year has found that 43 per cent of connected TV users accessed online entertainment directly from their TVs, including online video, music, and cloud services.

“The growth in connected TVs is another sign that online video is maturing,” said Russ Crupnick, senior vice president of industry analysis for The NPD Group. “Streaming video has moved from the dorm room to the living room; and, as more households obtain and connect TVs to the Web, we predict increased trial and engagement for video distribution services.”

The report found that Netflix Watch Instantly is the dominant application for Web-to-TV video. Of those viewing online video on the TV, 40 per cent use their connected TVs to stream video via Netflix, 12 per cent access HuluPlus, and 4 per cent connect to Vudu. Connected TVs, which offer direct access to these and other popular online video services via TV apps, represent a convenient alternative to PCs, or the use of other Internet-connected peripheral devices, notes The NPD Group.

NPD’s study also found that nearly one in five connected-TV installations resulted in consumers no longer using peripheral devices, such as streaming media players, video game consoles, and Blu-ray Disc players, to access streaming video on the TV. This decline in usage could impact the usage models and utility of peripheral devices, says the firm.

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