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Tablets and TV go hand-in-hand

A new report shows that 85 percent of U.S. tablet owners are using their tablets as their "couch computer" instead of laptops or smartphones while watching TV.

Eric Franklin/CNET

What is TV's new best friend? The tablet.

Eighty-five percent of U.S. tablet owners fiddle around on their tablet while watching TV, according to a new report by marketing research company Forrester.

"Analysts and press have paid much attention to the cannibalistic relationship of tablets and PCs," one of the report's authors, Sarah Rotman, wrote in a blog post today, "but there's another screen whose relationship to the TV is worth considering."

According to the report, tablets, like the iPad, Kindle Fire, and Nook, are taking over both laptops and smartphones as the "couch computer," while also turning the TV into a "dumb" device.

"As much as Samsung and others have promoted 'Smart TVs,'" Rotman writes, "the reality is that consumers with tablets think their tablets are even smarter."

In some cases, tablets are even taking over TVs. In what Rotman calls "new place scenarios," people are using tablets for online TV watching in locations such as the kitchen, bathroom, and in bed. Instead of buying a smaller TV for these places, users are instead opting to stream on their tablets.

Thirty-two percent of tablet owners say they won't buy a small TV even though they're watching more online video overall. "Consumers are using tablets as personal TVs where they had none before," Rotman writes.

A similar report by Nielsen came out last week, which showed 30 percent of users total tablet time is spent while watching TV.