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What are Netflix and Hulu users watching, and how?

Netflix viewers watch more movies, while Hulu users catch more TV shows, but both audiences grab most content directly from their PCs, says a new study from Nielsen.

What are all those Netflix and Hulu viewers watching, and how are they accessing that content? A new study out yesterday from Nielsen offers some answers.

Among Netflix subscribers, 53 percent watch movies, 11 percent tune into TV shows, and 36 percent catch a mixture of both. But among Hulu viewers, only 9 percent are streaming movies, 73 percent are watching TV episodes, and 18 percent grab both equally.

Those results aren't surprising since Hulu isn't exactly known for its vast movie library, focusing instead on providing current and past seasons of popular TV series. In contrast, Netflix offers a healthy selection of both films and TV shows.

Where and how are people catching their favorite content?

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Despite the variety of devices on which subscribers can access Netflix and Hulu, a standard, old-fashioned computer is still the most popular--42 percent of those using Netflix and 89 percent of those on Hulu watch shows and movies directly on their PCs. Even further, 14 percent of Netflix subscribers and 20 percent of Hulu users said they connect their computer to a TV to watch content.

Nintendo's Wii was another common way to stream content among 25 percent of Netflix users and 3 percent of Hulu users. Other gaming systems, such as Sony's PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox Live were next in line.

Further down the viewing chain, Internet-connected Blu-Ray players were popular among 11 percent of Netflix viewers, while Internet-connected TVs were popular among 6 percent. Only 2 percent of Hulu users tapped into content using either type of device.

And despite the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets, only 3 percent of Netflix users and 2 percent of Hulu users watch content via their smartphones, while 3 percent of those on Netflix and 1 percent of those on Hulu use an iPad.

To compile the survey results, Nielsen conducted more than 12,000 online interviews this past March, focusing on the use of online video, particularly Netflix and Hulu. Those surveyed were able to select more than one way of viewing content.