The way we watch television has changed. Even the tools we use to catch our favorite shows have changed, expanding from TV sets and cable boxes to include mobile devices and streaming services.
While customers have for years been able to stream their favorite shows after they’ve aired, cable networks are starting to come around to the idea of streaming their shows live. TNT and TBS recently announced that they will be the first national entertainment networks to live-stream their content 24/7, beginning this summer. ABC Television Group’s Watch ABC already offers videos on demand, and will now be live-streaming its network TV in some cities. Beyond individual networks, new low-cost services like Aereo can stream and record live TV over the Internet to computers and mobile devices.
The number of no-TV-set households hit five million this year, up 67 percent from 2007; however, consumers with TVs are expanding the way they use them with services like Netflix, which is the most popular service for streaming video in the home and is now increasingly integrated on Internet-connected HDTVs and connected TV devices. In fact, 40 percent of people using Netflix Instant in the U.S. are doing so on HDTVs, while just 14 percent are using computers.
Ultimately, the influence of streaming video is here to stay. Nielsen announced in February that it will expand its definition of television to include broadband, Xbox and tablets, in an effort to capture all forms of TV viewing. Publications like Time and All Things D predict streaming video will reach farther into new verticals such as original shows and children’s programming.