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38 Percent of U.S. Homes Have TVs Connected to the Internet

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April 09, 2012

38 Percent of U.S. Homes Have TVs Connected to the Internet

By Gary Kim
Contributing Editor


Some 38 percent of all U.S. households have at least one television set connected to the Internet using a video game system, a Blu-ray player, an Apple (News - Alert) TV or Roku set-top box or the TV set itself, up from 30 percent last year (April 2010 to April 2011), and 24 percent two years ago (April 2009 to April 2010) , according to Leichtman Research Group.

Perhaps most significantly, 1.6 percent of households said they used to subscribe to a multi-channel video service in the past year and do not currently subscribe.

Yet, just 0.1 percent of the sample dropped service in the past year, do not plan to subscribe again in the next six months, and say that they don't subscribe because of Netflix or because they can watch all that they want on the Internet or in other ways. That continues to suggest that online-delivered video is ancillary and complementary to video subscription services, LRG says.

Of course, those findings, which are consistent with most other recent studies in showing slight amounts of actual “video cord cutting,” also do indicate that the amount of “alternative” viewing is growing.

Over time, those new habits will create a new base of potential customers for any new Internet-based video services, even if at present, few consumers have switched from video subscription services to Netflix or any other online delivery system.

Video game systems are the key connected devices, as 28 percent of all households have a video game system connected to the Internet, LRG reports. Just four percent of all households are connected solely using an Internet-enabled TV set, and Apple TV or Roku set-tops are the only connected devices in one percent of all households.

Overall, 13 percent of all adults surveyed report they watch video from the Internet using a connected device at least weekly, compared to 10 percent a year ago, and five percent two years ago.

Use of connected devices remains skewed towards Netflix subscribers, with 35 percent of Netflix subscribers watching video from the Internet using a connected device on a weekly basis,, compared to five percent doing so weekly for respondents who are not Netflix subscribers.

Video service providers also are keeping close watch of changing habits in other areas as well, especially mobile and tablet video viewing.

Among all mobile phone owners, 19 percent say they watch video on their phones weekly,  compared to 15 percent last year, and six percent three years ago, LRG says.

About nine percent of all adults watch video on an iPad or tablet computer weekly, compared to two percent last year. The LRG  findings are based on a survey of 1,251 households nationwide.

The big issue right now is not so much that there is a big threat to video cord cutting, but that a growing number of people know how to consume online video, do it regularly, and that a growing percentage of people in newly-formed households are buying video subscription services at a lower rate than people in established households.

The point: you might argue that a latent audience for online alternatives is being created. Someday, some company might actually manage to satisfy that latent demand. But actual video cord cutting remains only a potential problem. 

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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