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PCs In Decline: TV Screen Takes Over As Americans’ First Choice For Internet TV and Movies

by User Not Found | Mar 22, 2013

We've just completed the latest analysis of our ConsumerMetrix survey from the end of last year, focusing on multiscreen TV. The first results were published today for the US and similar studies will be released over the next couple of weeks covering the key European markets.

The major finding from the US segment is that the TV screen is now most likely to be used for watching internet-delivered TV shows and movies, ahead of portable computers, desktop computers, smartphones and tablets. If we combine computers as one device category, they are still out in front, but I think it’s fair to argue that the desktop screen is a different category of usability from the portable PC, which after all is often classified by observers as “mobile”.

When we look at the trends in multiscreen usage over the past year or so we see that the divergence really began in early 2012. At that time the three major screens were similarly placed, but during 2012 it appears that the TV screen gained ground while the desktop PC in particular lost favour.


Overall we find that more than half of Americans are now watching TV and movie content delivered via an internet service at least monthly. Usage is weighted, not surprisingly, towards younger age groups, with more than three quarters of under 25s now qualifying as internet TV users. But it’s also catching on with older demographics: more than a quarter of 65 and overs are now going to the internet for TV and movies.

Apart from PCs and TVs, tablets and smartphones have also become an important part of the internet TV mix. Neither of these screens is yet as important as the PC or TV but their usage has grown significantly over the past year or so. Both are now used by around 28% of internet TV users.

We also examine how internet TV users are connecting their TV screens. The most popular approach is to connect a PC using an HDMI cable, but close behind comes the games console, which is used by 28% of internet TV users. Those two methods are some way ahead of alternatives like connected blu-ray disc players, connected TV players (eg Apple TV, Roku) and smart TVs.

When we look at the specific products internet TV users are using, the Xbox 360 takes the lead although it’s closely followed by the PS3. The leading smart TV for internet TV use is Samsung, and a similar number of people use Apple TV.

It’s a fragmented market, as we would expect in the early days of television’s latest evolution. Strategy Analytics will continue to track the adoption and usage of these emerging platforms in future survey waves and assessing how the multiscreen environment is shaping the future of television viewing.

Note: The ConsumerMetrix survey was fielded in October 2012 and consisted of n=2285 individuals in the US and n=4268 individuals in Europe.

David Mercer

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