Online video has grown rapidly in popularity over the last few years, going from something only tech-savvy geeks knew about to a mainstream phenomenon even your aging grandparents can handle.
This shift has coincided with streaming video becoming available via more devices, including the once-humble television set. And it’s TV that is now more popular than PC for watching online video.
TV Tops PC
In its new ‘Digital Video Outlook’ survey for 2012, NPD reports that television sets are now the prime method for watching online video. According to the poll it conducted, 45 percent of people use their TVs, while just 31 percent use their PCs. This is a polar shift, as last year the figures stood at 33% and 48% respectively.
The Appeal Of Large Screens
There was a time not so long ago when those wanting to stream video content from the Web could only do so with a computer, but with the rise of various Internet-connected set-top boxes, always-online games consoles, and Smart TVs, that is no longer the case.
Russ Crupnick, senior vice president of industry analysis for NPD, said:
“The growth in connected TVs is another sign that online video is maturing. 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.”
I have personal experience of this shift from PC to TV. Although I don’t own a smart television set, I do own a PS3, and it’s through that which I watch online video. This includes BBC iPlayer, 4oD, and Netflix, which I subscribed to as soon as it hit the U.K.
I don’t think I would subscribe to Netflix if I couldn’t watch the content through my television. But because of the PS3 it’s as good as watching a DVD, with high quality video streaming without a hitch directly into my living room.
I can’t see these stats ever being reversed now. The PC was important for getting online video noticed, but it’s now moved well and truly into the living room. There will likely come a point when we don’t actually differentiate between broadcast television and online video.