Technology Science - Internet TV used by 1 in 10 Canadians

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Only about one in 10 plugged-in Canadians are viewing internet content on their televisions but the trend could soon "grow rapidly" since it's finally becoming easy to do, suggests a new report.

Early adopters who are already using their TVs to get online are enthusiastic users of the technology, suggests survey results from March parsed by the Media Technology Monitor, a product of CBC/Radio-Canada.

Those who can get the web on their TVs are averaging more than four hours a week accessing Internet content on their big screen, according to the MTM report entitled "Internet TV is Changing: The Rise of Netflix."

"It's pretty amazing the way that the Internet is moving right to the television set and it's primarily to watch video," said Mark Allen, CBC's director of strategic analysis, adding that about a third of Canadian households already have the ability to connect a TV to the Internet.

While it was once complicated to push video and audio signals from a computer onto a TV, there are now a number of options that allow it to be done easily. Some newer TVs have internet capabilities built right in, while video game consoles and a growing number of standalone products â€Â" such as Apple TV and Boxee â€Â" also make it easy for a TV to find online content.

Given that Canada already watches more online video than any other nation â€Â" comScore estimates the average Canadian user watched about 251 videos and 17.2 hours overall in March â€Â" it's not hard to imagine that viewing web video on TV could become very popular.

Netflix's launch has pushed many consumers to figure out how to get the Internet on their TVs and the MTM report suggests large numbers are now hooked.

Netflix subscribers watched about four hours less of broadcast TV in March compared to the average Canadian, and of the 25.4 hours the average Netflix user spent online about six hours was through their TV.

Most Netflix streaming through TV

Most Netflix streaming (65 per cent) is being done through TVs, compared to just 23 per cent on computers and nine per cent on tablets, the MTM estimates.

Thirty per cent of Netflix users said they were streaming through the site daily, 40 per cent said they logged on weekly and 14 per cent used the site monthly.

The MTM survey suggests 60 per cent of the Canadians who have tried Netflix stayed on as paying customers and 30 per cent eventually cancelled. The other 10 per cent of the surveyed Netflix users were still using a free trial account.

But there's still little evidence that Netflix could be causing so-called cord cutting, or cancelling of cable or satellite TV services.

According to the report, just three per cent of Netflix subscribers did not have a TV plan.

"If there was an online service, Netflix or another operator, offering the same content you get from cable or satellite then consumers would probably be more compelled," Allen said.

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