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TV – now the official home of online video

A new report from US research firm The NPD Group has found that the television is now the primary screen used by US viewers for watching online video, overtaking PC screens for the first time.

The study, based on data from two electronic surveys which separately polled 1,200 US broadband homes and 10,000 respondents, found that the percentage of consumers reporting that the TV is their primary screen for viewing paid and free video streamed from the Web has risen from 33 percent to 45 percent over the past year.

By contrast, the proportion of US consumers who use a PC as the primary screen for viewing over-the-top (OTT) streamed-video content declined from 48 percent to 31 percent – reflecting a strong consumer preference for watching TV and movies on big screen TVs, but also coinciding with the rapid adoption of Internet-connectible TVs.

As of the second quarter of this year, 12 percent of the installed base of consumer TVs in the US were connected TVs, totalling more than 29mn devices, according to the research firm.

Approximately 10 percent of US consumer households currently own at least one connected TV, and research conducted by NPD over the past year has found that 43 percent of connected TV users accessed online entertainment directly from their TVs, including online video, music, and cloud services.

From the dorm room to the living room

“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.”

Netflix Watch Instantly is named as the dominant application for Web-to-TV video. Of those viewing online video on the TV, 40 percent use their connected TVs to stream video via Netflix, 12 percent access Hulu Plus, and 4 percent 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.

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.

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