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Cable Technology Feature Article

May 14, 2014

Connected TVs Supplanting PCs for Online Video Viewing

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

When you think “online video,” it’s natural to picture yourself balancing a laptop on your legs, or possibly using a tablet to stream Netflix or the like. But new research has revealed that TVs are actually outpacing computers as the key platform for Internet video.

 Parks Associates (News - Alert) has found that in the first quarter of 2014, U.S. broadband households watched roughly three hours of online video per week on each platform—however, the amount of online video consumed on a TV is increasing, up from 2.3 hours per week in the first quarter of 2013. Meanwhile, online video viewing on a PC is on a steady decline.

"The amount of all video consumed on PCs has declined, dropping from over eight hours per week in 2013 to 6.2 hours per week now," said Brett Sappington, director of research for Parks Associates. "Ultimately, consumers can more easily access online video options on a television than ever before.”

One of the main drivers for the shift is the rise in easy-to-use connected devices that can bring video to a regular HDTV. Set-tops like Amazon Fire, Roku and Apple (News - Alert) TV are one category; but increasing penetration of gaming consoles and cheap dongles/streaming sticks are contributing too. And, let’s not forget TV Everywhere.

“In addition to smart TVs, Blu-ray players and game consoles, consumers are also buying streaming media players and devices such as Google (News - Alert)'s Chromecast,” Sappington added. “Pay-TV providers are making a strong push to extend TV Everywhere to a variety of devices. These trends are converging to displace computer-based video consumption."

It would appear though that multiscreen viewing is still an overlapping activity. The Parks research, 360 View: Entertainment Services in U.S. Broadband Households, found that a full 81 percent of U.S. broadband households watch any kind of video on a TV set (no surprise there, other than this seems a little low), while 60 percent watch content on a computer. Thirty-one percent said they watch video on a smartphone, and 28 percent watch on a tablet. The PC was the only platform to show any significant decline in video viewing in the past year.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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