The most popular method of streaming Netflix content is through a video game console, says a new survey by ABI Research, which also finds console owners spend seven to eight hours a week watching online video with their devices.
"Companies such as Microsoft and Sony in particular are pushing to make the consoles more central to the digital living room,” says ABI digital home senior analyst Michael Inouye, who notes that while Nintendo is behind, it may be expected to make a bigger push into digital video content with its Wii U.
However, the prevalence of connected consoles varies significantly across different global regions; the Asia-Pacific region has a particularly low rate of console connectivity, due in part to the fact consoles are mostly banned in China (the connect rate is only 13.1 percent there) and that PC gaming dominates in spots like South Korea (6.3 percent connect rate).
By contrast, 38.7 percent of consoles in the U.S. are online, followed by 37.3 percent in the UK, 31.8 percent in France, and 20.6 percent in Germany.
ABI emphasizes the relevance of game consoles to the home entertainment experience. Many industry watchers have begun to speculate about the diminishing market for living room hardware as mobile devices and digital streaming services garner increasing interest. However, the home console market "still has plenty of life," says the firm's Jason Blackwell.
A recent survey of Netflix subscribers
found that half of them streamed the service through a game console.
"While mobile devices might soon match the processing power of game consoles, there are a number of issues such as storage and portability that could hinder the transition to mobile," he says. "The game console has a higher degree of persistence in the living room, giving more household members access to the device at any time of the day, whereas most mobile devices are designed for portability and a more personal experience."