updated 04:55 pm EDT, Sun June 15, 2014
Internet only viewing U.S. households expected to surpass antenna only next year
A study from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) finds that the number of Internet-only viewers of television programming will soon number higher than antenna-only viewers. Television viewers in the United States have been embracing Internet viewing habits at a rapid pace, with a climbing number of households watching exclusively on wireless devices. While device saturation for Internet viewing has increased, the television still remains the most watched device in the US.
The study finds that the number of Internet-only television viewers has risen to five percent. For antenna viewers, the percentage of viewers has been in decline, according to data collected by the CEA since 2005. Currently, antenna only households make up six percent of US viewers.
"We are at a pivotal point in consumer behavior, as fewer and fewer American homes are now using only antennas to watch their favorite television programs, and more and more households turn to the Internet as a source of TV content," said CEA CEO Gary Shapiro.
Studies dating back to 1986 found that more than half the households in the country had relied on free over-the-air signals they picked up with antennas to watch television shows. The number of antenna viewers is now at an all-time low, as is expected to drop even further as Internet viewing habits grow.
Thanks to the on-demand aspect of programming on the Internet and the expansion of connected devices, growth has almost doubled for delivery of Internet viewing. The CEA found that 45 percent of the households in the country have seen programming from the Internet in the last year.
"In the next year, we expect the number of US households relying exclusively on the Internet for TV programming to equal or surpass the total of those relying only on antennas," said Shapiro. "As consumers continue to turn to other devices and services for TV programming -- devices that need wireless spectrum to deliver the content we want anytime, anywhere -- it's clear that the free, public spectrum given to broadcasters could be put to much better use."
Televisions still remain the device of choice for consumption of video, at 93 percent saturation. However, the growth for Internet viewing continues to expand among these homes. Laptop and notebook viewing is done in 36 percent of households, while desktop viewing grew to 34 percent. Smartphones and tablets both saw growth as well in Internet household viewership, at 43 and 35 percent respectively.