Study Shows More U.S. Households Will Rely on Web TV Than Terrestrial Television

For the first time in history, more U.S. households are on the brink of getting their television programming exclusively from the Internet instead of terrestrial antennas.

According to a new report commissioned by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), currently 6 percent of U.S. households rely solely on an antenna, compared to 5 percent that rely solely on the Internet.

“We’re 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, president and CEO of CEA.

According to Shapiro, in 1986, more than half of U.S. households relied solely on over-the-air broadcasting. That number has been steadily declining for the past nine years, presumably because consumers are increasingly turning toward content from over-the-top (OTT) providers and TV Everywhere.

While these figures might lead one to believe that consumers are abandoning traditional television viewing in front of a TV set, that’s not the case. Households are still consuming a majority of their content on the boxes, though they are turning toward other devices to consume content as well. According to the research:

  • 46 percent of households watched video on a laptop (up from 38 percent last year)
  • 43 percent watched video on a smartphone (up from 33 percent last year)
  • 35 percent watched video on a tablet (up from 26 percent last year)
  • 34 percent watched video on a desktop computer (up from 30 percent last year)

We expect that consumers will continue to enjoy lounging on their couches in their living rooms to watch television for the foreseeable future. But we can also expect to see the above percentages increase as technology evolves and OTT and TV Everywhere services advance.