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Computers haven’t overtaken TVs for video viewing — yet

More U.S. households are watching online video and on a wider variety of devices now than two years ago, but we’re not sacrificing our TV viewing to do so, according to international research firm Parks Associates ( At least not just yet.

The firm’s “Digital Media Evolution II” study found 40% of all U.S. broadband homes now regularly watch long-form video on a computer. However, service providers can allay their fears of cord cutting for now as high use of computer video doesn’t yet correlate with decreased TV viewing. “Yet” may be the key word here.

“People are using online video to fill in the gaps,” says Kurt Scherf, vice president, principal analyst, Parks Associates. “When it comes to watching TV shows and movies, nobody’s first choice is the computer. People will watch this content on a computer when it is not convenient or feasible to watch on a TV.”

Of course, if we had a set-up in which the Mac could easily stream video to a TV set, that might be different. And a Mac that comes with a built-in TV tuner (or, perhaps, with Elgato or equinux hardware/software offered as an optional bundle.”

Also, Parks Associates found households with a high incidence for viewing computer video are also heavy DVD and Blu-ray users.

“Both DVDs and the Internet are non-linear video sources,” Scherf says. “That makes them somewhat similar from the consumer’s perspective. They don’t care about the distribution method so much as the experience, which will be enhanced through the ability to view premium content on a variety of devices. Service providers and other video retailers that offer high-quality, consistent multiplatform viewing experiences will come out ahead in the battle for consumers’ eyeballs.”

So, Apple, if you’re considering that Mac with a built-in TV tuner as I suggested, go all the way and add support for Blu-ray playback.

— Dennis Sellers

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