FORTUNE -- We can examine the strategies of Netflix (NFLX) and Comcast (CMCSA) all we like, but the speed at which television moves off of cable and onto the Internet will be determined largely by what people decide to do in their living rooms. Now that they have the hardware and software tools to access TV online -- and, of course, lots of videos to watch -- all eyes are on home viewers.
More than half of them -- 56% of all households with broadband Internet access -- now have at least one TV set connected to the Internet, according to a report from Diffusion Group, "Defining the In-Home CE and Network Ecosystem 2013." About two-thirds of the nation's homes have broadband.
While viewers use a variety of means to get Internet video from Netflix and other services onto their TV screens, it appears that smart TVs are increasingly in favor, though most people are still porting video content through game consoles like the Xbox 360 (MSFT), the Sony PS3 (SNE), and the Nintendo Wii (NTDOY). About 62% of households own such a device, which are used about a quarter of the time for TV viewing, on average.
But smart TVs are coming on strong, growing faster than dedicated Internet-to-TV devices like Roku or Apple TV (AAPL). About 14% of broadband households own a dedicated device, while about 25% own a smart TV. Ownership of smart TVs has doubled over the past year, while ownership of dedicated devices grew by only two percentage points. But only about two-thirds of smart TVs are actually connected to the Internet, according to the report.
Another report, this one from NPD Group, found that by next year, all of these means of connecting the Internet to TVs will eclipse connections via Blu-ray players. For now, more people are connected through Blu-rays than through smart TVs, but that's swiftly changing -- another sign of people moving away from movies on discs. The NPD Group report, "Connected Home," also found that 40% of households with Internet-connected TVs watch videos from Netflix, 17% watch YouTube (GOOG) videos, and 11% watch movies and TV shows via Hulu.
Just what is Hulu supposed to be? Its squabbling, wishy-washy, half-in-half-out owners keep it from making the kinds of bold moves it needs to thrive.
By Kevin Kelleher, contributor
FORTUNE – These days, it's not enough to host digital TV programs. Companies that stream programs like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu are moving into producing original content to win new subscribers. Lately, Hulu has been doing its rivals one better by living out a MOREApr 22, 2013 5:00 AM ET
The streaming TV service works. Consumers love it. And CEO Jason Kilar is a star. The networks that own it should be trumpeting their success. Instead, Hulu risks stalling.
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FORTUNE -- Hulu is killing it.
Surprised? You shouldn't be. Since Hulu first helped broadcast programming escape the prison of the TV set five years ago, the Los Angeles-based venture has been on a tear. In fact, it's managed MOREAug 20, 2012 5:00 AM ET
Outfits like NimbleTV and Aereo want to finally fulfill the promise of web TV. But disrupting the massive home-entertainment industry won't be easy.
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* The Verge gives at a long look at Research in Motion's rise and decline: how it was built and how former co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie lost their way. Also, the company's ailing BlackBerry PlayBook tablet received a software update that finally brought native apps to access email, calendar, MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Feb 22, 2012 3:30 AM ET
Can so-called Super Wi-Fi bring high speeds and low costs to rural Americans? xG Technologies thinks so.
NB: This is the second story in a two part series about rural broadband access in America. To read the first part, please click here.
FORTUNE -- Engineers have long dreamed of using cheap wireless networks to do an end-run around the companies that now provide Internet access and cell phone service. Those dreams have MOREOct 18, 2011 10:59 AM ET
ESPN's deal to pay $15 billion for Monday Night Football could incite a revolt against the cable industry's basic business model.
FORTUNE -- The idea that American television viewers should be free to buy just the TV channels they want has always proven a pipe dream. It's a silly idea, cable and satellite operators have convinced politicians and regulators: selling channels in packages funds a wider variety of programming, actually leaving MORESep 12, 2011 9:53 AM ET
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The TV networks that invested big to create the online video service don't seem to like what it's maturing into.
FORTUNE -- It must be immensely frustrating to either own or manage Hulu. The viewing public is moving away from cable and satellite toward Internet viewing, but so slowly and uncertainly that programmers can't simply port all their shows online and be done with it. They have to keep the cable MOREDan Mitchell, contributor - Jun 23, 2011 4:26 PM ET
The cable company CEO previewed a next-gen user interface, but can Comcast really compete with Apple, not to mention Netflix?
FORTUNE -- Comcast (CMCSA) CEO Brian Roberts wants you to know the company is adapting to the times, and that the perception of the cable company as a stodgy provider of bulky cable set top boxes is a thing of the past.
"We recognize that the business is changing and has changed, MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Jun 21, 2011 4:45 PM ET
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