TV is far from dead, Nielsen says

Despite the surge in viewing from mobile devices and other gadgets, TV sets continue to dominate as the favorite way to catch content.

The good old-fashioned TV set is still the king of content.

As the average American watches almost five hours of video each day, 98 percent of it is viewed on a TV set, says a new study from Nielsen. And watching traditional TV shows -- both live and timeshifted -- continues to be the favorite activity, accounting for more than 33 hours of viewing per week.

Those numbers have dropped slightly from what they were in the past. But people are not turning off their TV sets; rather they're using them with other technologies to watch their favorite content whenever they want, says Nielsen.

Internet-enabled TVs, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes, game consoles, and connected computers all ensure that virtually any type of content can be viewed on the family TV.

Game consoles alone are now found in 45 percent of the homes included in Nielsen's study, a 3 percent gain over last year.

More consoles are offering access to Netflix and other entertainment services. Some can also double as Blu-ray players.

As such, they're acting as a second conduit beyond but connected to the TV to provide access to more content, both online and offline.

"When it comes to newly released movies, old TV shows, and everything in between, consumers are increasingly turning to devices that enable them to watch streamed content on their big screen," Nielsen noted in its Cross Platform report. "Two-thirds of game consoles in homes are now connected to the Internet, creating a new conduit for content delivery. In fact, more than half of Netflix users watch on their TV set via a game console or over-the-top streaming device."

Though the TV set is still champ, smartphones are being used more as portable TVs, Nielsen noted. Around 33.5 million mobile phone users now watch video on their devices, a gain of 35.7 percent from last year.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.


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