Antenna use for US TV falls to 7%

Just 7% of US households now rely solely on over-the-air antennas to watch TV, according to new research from the Consumer Electronics Association.

The study, US Household Television Usage Update, is in line with 2010 CEA research that found 8% of TV households used an antenna for TV programming.

The research also found that 83% of US households now rely on traditional pay TV services such as cable, satellite or fibre subscription for their home entertainment. But it found a decline of 5% in the number of homes using these services compared to 2010.

Historical CEA research shows a gradual fall in the proportion of US households using antennas for TV since 2005. The survey is consistent with a 2012 Nielsen study that showed that 9% of US households watching TV use broadcast TV or over-the-air only – which is a decline from 16% in 2003.

“The vast majority of Americans no longer rely on over-the-air TV signals,” CEA president Gary Shapiro said. “Consumers have moved away in droves from traditional broadcast television thanks to a surge in programming alternatives available through wired and wireless broadband connections.”

The agency is now looking to use the results to pressurise the US Congress to auction broadcast spectrum for mobile data and video. “This study provides yet another reason why it is time for broadcast spectrum to be reallocated, and quickly,” Mr Shapiro said.

The decline in antenna use is likely to be due to more accessible internet-based TV programming. Mobile connected devices such as desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones are seeing the fastest increase in US household penetration rates, according to the study.

Some 28% of US TV households now receive programming on their TVs through the internet, with 4% of households reporting using the internet exclusively as their source of TV programming.

The CEA telephone surveyed 1,009 adults for its annual study.

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