Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Tipping Point? We’re Watching More Web Video on TVs Than on PCs.

Getting Web video off your PC and onto your plasma screen used to be a niche activity. No more: Consumer-tracking service NPD says TV sets are now the most popular way to watch streaming video.

NPD says 45 percent of consumers report that TV is now their primary Web video screen, up from 33 percent last year. It basically swapped places with the PC, which used to account for 48 percent of viewing but now represents 31 percent.*

This is a story about devices: NPD figures that 10 percent of homes now have at least one Internet-enabled TV (though I bet that only a minority of them are actually plugged into the Web), and we’re seeing a steady increase in the use of Web-video peripherals, like Blu-ray players, Apple TVs and Microsoft Xbox 360s.

And it’s also about content: NPD says the most popular service for viewing Web content on TV is Netflix, with 40 percent of connected TV watchers using the service.

Here’s NPD’s general screen breakdown by device. Curious that “mobile” doesn’t show up as a category; then again, maybe mobile is always a third choice compared to bigger screens. Also odd that the iPad and other tablets don’t break 1 percent.

And here’s NPD’s summary of how Web-to-TV viewers get their stuff on the big screen:

Percentage of device owners that use the device to acquire online content (video, music, games)

  • 43 percent connected TVs
  • 47 percent VG consoles (Wii, Xbox 360, PS3)
  • 62 percent streaming media players (Roku, Boxee, Apple TV)
  • 38 percent computers with direct wired connection to TV
  • 21 percent of BD players

* I’m assuming that mobile accounts for most everything else, but am waiting for confirmation. Update: Nope! See above.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus