About 62% of U.S. consumers said they would likely watch live TV online on laptops, tablets and smartphones, if their cable or satellite TV provider offered the service for no extra charge, according to a new survey.
Of the remaining respondents, 31% said they would be unlikely to use such a service and 7% were unsure. The survey was commissioned by Broadcom, a supplier of set-top box chips and other communications silicon solutions.
Among those in households with three or more people, 55% said a multiscreen TV service would help when they have to "compete for control of the remote." The survey of 1,025 consumers 18 and older was conducted in November 2011 on behalf of Broadcom by JZ Analytics.
In recent months, pay-TV operators including Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Cablevision Systems, DirecTV and Dish Network have rolled out apps for iPads and other devices to let subscribers watch live TV channels.
Some programmers -- notably Viacom -- have complained that distributing their networks to tablets and other devices isn't covered under existing agreements. One of their concerns is that Nielsen currently doesn't track that usage, although the measurement firm is working with live TV online providers to figure out how to incorporate multidevice viewing into overall TV metrics. Nielsen does plan to rate viewing on Xbox 360 game consoles, through which Verizon FiOS TV subscribers will be able to watch a lineup of 26 channels sometime this month.
Meanwhile, the Broadcom survey found most Americans want connected TVs, with 67% saying they are more likely to purchase a new HDTV that can easily connect directly to wireless devices such as smartphones, tablets or laptop PCs and the Internet versus one that can't.
According to the survey, 22% of consumers have six or more wireless devices in their homes, including PCs, smartphones and tablets, compared with 6% who had that many three years ago. About 28% of respondents said they've had to wirelessly configure and connect a device in the last month -- and only 46% were happy with the experience, indicating much room for improvement.
The Broadcom survey also asked about mobile-device usage. About 35% of respondents said they've experienced "connectivity withdrawal" -- the feeling of stress or anticipation of not being able to get online with a mobile phone, laptop or tablet. Of those who own an advanced mobile device, 51% said they consume more than five hours of digital content a week while on the go and 32% said they consume more than 10 hours.