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Mobile Devices Find A Home On The Couch

Santa Clara, Calif. – A wide-ranging study by NPD DisplaySearch has found the majority of smartphone and tablet owners watch TV on the devices, but this habit is not crimping TV sales.

The Quarterly Multi-Screen Usage Study noted that 85 percent of tablet and 65 percent of smartphone users view online content via their device, instead of their TV, at least some of the time. However, this trend is not having a negative impact on larger-screen TV sales.

“There is a commonly held belief that the increasing popularity of tablet PCs and smartphones will cannibalize or otherwise adversely affect sales of other devices. While we see that tablet PC ownership affects the purchase of smaller-sized TVs, there has not been much impact on purchases of TVs larger than 30-inches. Owning smartphones has little or no effect on TV purchases,” said to Riddhi Patel, research director at NPD DisplaySearch.

Those mobile device owners who eschew this trend cite screen size. Patil said 15 percent of tablet and 35 percent of smartphone owners said the screens are too small and sound quality too poor. In addition, smartphone users said it is hard to hold the device in a comfortable position for long periods while watching video.

NPD DisplaySearch also found that tablets and smartphones are more likely to be used in this manner in emerging markets. About 60 percent of connected TV owners in the U.S., France and Italy use their mobile device to watch content, but in Brazil, China and India the figure jumps to 72 percent.

The report also stated that mobile devices are finding their way into viewer’s hands when they are watching a television. About 88 percent said they use a tablet or smartphone to check email, browse the web, text, or check Facebook and the weather while also watching TV.

The survey had 15,000 respondents in 15 countries, and focused on people who own a connected, smart flat-panel TV, smartphone or tablet.