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Computers were the first devices used for watching TV online, and even today they remain the single most commonly used device for online viewing. However, research suggests that online viewing is beginning to shift away from computers and toward mobile devices and Smart TVs.
According to the annual What’s TV Worth study from Hub Entertainment Research, 59 per cent of consumers with broadband Internet access say they use a computer to view TV shows online. That’s down 3 points from one year ago, when 62 per cent said they watch TV content on a computer.
At the same time, use of other devices has increased at least directionally over the past year, including:
• Smartphones: Up 2 points, from 21 per cent to 23 per cent
• Smart TVs: Up 2 points, from 11 per cent to 13 per cent
• Tablets: Up 4 points, from 23 per cent in 2013 to 27 per cent in 2014
• Among those who watch on portable devices, 78 per cent said that they last time they watched on a tablet they were at home (up from 67 per cent in 2013).
The research also shows that viewing TV shows online through a device that connects to a TV has remained flat over the past year—including game consoles, Blu-Ray players, Roku devices, and Apple TV. The one exception is Google Chromecast, which has shown relatively rapid adoption since it was introduced in July 2013 (5 per cent of TV viewers with broadband now say they use the device).
This trend is even more pronounced among Millennials (those age 18-34):
• 72 per cent of Millennials watch TV on a computer in 2014, down from 76 per cent in 2013
• 30 per cent watch on a tablet, up from 27 per cent a year ago
“Although device use in 2014 is not dramatically different from 2013, the direction supports a consistent movement we’re seeing toward more use of portable devices at home—in the case of tablets—and from more boxes to fewer boxes—in the case of Smart TVs,” said Peter Fondulas, Partner at Hub Entertainment Research. “That’s in line with other findings from across our studies, which show consolidation, personalisation, and simplification in TV technology are increasingly important to consumers.”