TV experience superior to online video services © Karel Vandenbroucke

The TV landscape is in full transition: viewers are hopping from one device to the other (place-shifting) and compose their individual viewing schedule (time-shifting). Despite the massive availability of mobile devices and online video services including Netflix, YouTube and Popcorn Time TV viewers continue to prefer the regular TV screen. Our research under the iMinds project ‘SHIFT-TV’ reveals that TV remains the preferred viewing medium for 69.2% of the population; only 2.7% prefer online video over TV. TV thus offers a better quality and user experience than online video services.

Multiscreen is King, long live TV

Our survey with over 1,100 TV viewers (representative for the online population in Flanders) yields new insights into the popularity of time- shifted and place-shifted viewing in Flanders, and the quality of experience that goes with it. The results confirm the popularity of multi-screen viewing (using multiple viewing screens): 61.4% watches the regular TV screen daily, but laptops (33.8%), smartphones (32.4%) and tablets (28.5%) account for a growing proportion  of our TV viewing pattern.

Based on the results, four different viewer types were identified:

  • Multi-Device, On-Demand Mixed / Live Watchers (16.6%) watch both live television and on-demand - and through multiple (4 to 5) screens (especially young highly educated);
  • Dedicated Device, On-Demand Watchers (27.5%) look especially television-on-demand through a limited number (1 or 2) screens (especially older educated);
  • Dedicated Device, Live Watchers (21.6%) watch live television on a limited number (1 or 2) screens (especially older low-skilled);
  • Multi-Device, On-Demand Watchers (34.3%) watch TV on demand via multiple (3 to 4) units (especially young highly educated).

User experience of crucial importance

The results suggest that user experience is largely affected by screen size: TV viewing scores an average of 4.3 on a five-point scale, significantly higher than the user experience on laptop (3.61), tablet (3.58) and smartphone (3.24). Moreover, the way video signals are sent over the network is crucial to the user experience. Regular TV services (cable, IPTV) are sent with higher quality parameters than online video services in the open Internet. People tend to be frustrated by faltering image (4.14/5) and asynchronous image/sound (3.99/5), but also a digital TV decoder that is not working properly (4.13) evokes a lot of frustration. Work to do for TV service providers if you ask us…

© Karel Vandenbroucke

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