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Streaming Back to the TV

Earlier this month, Sony rolled out its new PlayStation Vue over-the-top pay TV service, the latest in a spate of over-the-top streaming- video platforms looking to compete with traditional cable and broadcast networks for consumer eyeballs.

The PlayStation Vue service can only be accessed through Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Play- Station 4 consoles connected to TVs, joining other media players like Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV available through Internet-enabled devices connected to the boob tube.

As these connected devices continue to offer consumers the ability to watch both cable-network programming and original content from OTT services like Hulu and Netflix without a cable subscription, another interesting trend is developing. With all the talk of consumers watching more and more content on smartphones, tablets and computers, it seems that viewing on big-screen TVs is also on the rise.

A recent Reality Mine report on digital video trends found that heavy Internet-video users spent 35% of their TV-viewing time watching streaming shows and movies on smart TVs and connected game consoles or other devices hooked up to their TV sets last year. That’s up from about 20% in 2013.

That figure compares favorably to about 17% of consumers who watched streaming content on computers — down from nearly 30% in 2013 — and less than 5% of users who view streaming content on mobile devices, tablets and eReaders, which was also down significantly from the year prior, according to the survey.

While video viewing on mobile phones, iPads and other devices provides convenience for people on the go — and is particularly prevalent among millennials — for many others, the ideal and easiest way to experience quality, high-definition streaming video is on a big-screen television set through Internet-ready smart TVs and connected devices. Digital media research firm eMarketer estimated that nearly 55% of all Internet users will stream video content and conduct other Web-based activities through a connected TV at least once a month this year — up from 45% in 2014.

Dish Network and Sling TV interactive and advanced TV general manager Adam Lowy said as much during a panel at last week’s Horowitz Cultural Insights Forum in New York, when he was asked which trends would emerge in the video space over the next year.

“I personally think we’ll see a lot more viewing on the big screen, as smart TVs continue to come down in price and as more [digital] services evolve,” Lowy said.