Half of You Are Watching!

ABI Research has published a new study that finds that almost half of all U.S. consumers watch video on their PCs. (Actually, I expect that since you read HDTV Almanac , you are probably ahead of the curve and among the half that watches video on your PC.)

What are they watching? About 72% are watching video with their Web browser. This is hardly surprising, given the popularity of YouTube and other sites. (And I find the video search features on Google and Yahoo! are great for finding niche topics such as woodworking or sailing.) Nearly two thirds of people who watch video on their PCs watch DVD movies. This also is no surprise; why do you think computer companies are selling all those widescreen monitors? It’s certainly not because the extra 20% or so pixels offer some tremendous productivity gain!

Only about a quarter who watch on their PC view video that they created themselves with a camcorder. Again, I’m not surprised; the siren’s song of becoming a home Felini is often more appealing in theory than it is in the actual practice of editing. Two areas are relatively small, but I expect them to start growing rapidly; 14% watch video purchased over the Internet, and 7% watch cable or satellite content. Online movie rentals have strong potential, and both NetFlix and Blockbuster are backing this the delivery mode of the future. And people are beginning to realize that a computer monitor is all they need to watch cable or satellite feeds, given the correct inputs and cables. There are lots of settings where a personal television screen is appropriate, and there’s good reason to save space and money by using one screen for both television and computer functions, both at home and at work.

The lines between computers and televisions are going to continue to blur as the content we watch and where we get that content changes. Stay tuned.