Internet delivered TV to surpass OTA in US this year

June 16, 2014 | By More

Televisions remain the go-to screen for most Americans, a new report says, but the percentage of U.S. households relying exclusively on an antenna for television programming reception is about to be eclipsed for the first time ever by the percentage of households relying only on the Internet for TV programming.

tv antenna

The report, “The Market for U.S. Household Television Services,” from the Consumer Electronics Association, also found that viewership of video programming on connected devices continues to grow, with nearly half of TV-user households reporting they watched video on either a portable computer or Smartphone in the last year. And, said CEA, more than a third watched on either a tablet or desktop computer.

“The television remains the most commonly owned video viewing device and our primary means of watching video content,” said Brian Markwalter, SVP of research and standards for CEA. “But significantly more households that use televisions to watch TV programming are now also turning to alternative video devices at home. The explosive growth of Internet programming means consumers now have better options to watch video content on different types of screens they may own.”

Additionally, the study shows the percentage of U.S. TV households consuming at least some TV programming via the Internet has nearly doubled. Almost half of U.S. TV households received at least some television programming from the Internet in the last year, up from 28% a year ago.

In addition:

  • 46%of U.S. TV user households watched video on either a laptop, notebook or netbook (up from 38% in 2013)
  • 43% watched video on a smartphone (up from 33% in 2013)
  • 35% watched video on a tablet (up from 26% in 2013)
  • 34% watched video on a desktop computer (up from 30% in 2013)

CEA reported that the number of households relying exclusively on antennas had dropped to 6%, while those getting their video entertainment exclusively online had increased to 5% in the past year.

In 1986, more than half of American homes with a TV relied solely on free, over-the-air broadcasting.

“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 Gary Shapiro, CEA’s president and CEO. “In the next year, we expect the number of U.S. households relying exclusively on the Internet for TV programming to equal or surpass the total of those relying only on antennas.”

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Category: COLUMNS

Jim ONeill

About the Author ()

Jim O’Neill has been a business journalist since 1992, and has been writing about the digital media industry since 2007. He formerly was the editor of industry journals FierceIPTV and FierceOnlineVideo, and has worked as an industry analyst for international research firm Parks Associates. He currently is CEO and Editor of, a newsletter that takes a deeper look at the trends and happenings in the digital media industry, and continues writing research and white papers on a variety of topics in the sector. He can be reached at

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