People would rather watch Internet-delivered content on their TVs than on their PC screens. That makes sense. With larger screens and new display technology, the HDTV offers a better viewing experience at 50 inches or 60 inches than a 17-inch PC screen does. With those factors in mind, the preference on the part of the consumer still appears to come as a surprise.
The research firm NPD reports, as if it were a shocking development, that:
over the past year, the number of consumers reporting that the TV is their primary screen for viewing paid and free video streamed from the Web has risen from 33 percent to 45 percent. During the same period, consumers who used a PC as the primary screen for viewing over-the-top (OTT) streamed-video content declined from 48 percent to 31 percent. This shift not only reflects a strong consumer preference for watching TV and movies on big screen TVs, but also coincides with the rapid adoption of Internet-connectible TVs.
YouTube can look nearly as good as NFL games do, if the screen is good enough. Hulu, Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) TV and the Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) video streaming product can look even better because they are designed to be shown in high definition.
The NPD report focuses on the better quality of the TV screen. What is lost in the analysis is the ongoing sunset of the PC. Most of what remains in the machines that offers advantages to the consumer are powerful processors and graphics chips. Analysts already have pointed out the futures of chip companies Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) and Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) are no longer bright. Nor are the prospects of PC manufacturer Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) or the PC operations of Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ). The major argument in favor of their downfalls is that their offerings are being replaced by smartphones and tablets. Add to that the fact that their displays, once prized for their resolutions and clear pictures, are no longer an advantage when a widescreen TV costs just a few hundred dollars.
The number of nails in the PC’s coffin continues to grow.
Methodology: NPD’s “Digital Video Outlook” report is based on data collected from multiple sources, including two electronic surveys. The quarterly survey includes approximately 1,200 U.S. broadband households.
Douglas A. McIntyre