Viewers are also experiencing fewer issues and better streaming quality (bitrate) – with Apple TV leading the pack. Amazon Fire TV has gained significant share, whereas Chromecast has stagnated. That is according to a report by Conviva.
The TV screen rules
Just a few years ago, some members of TV industry predicted that the handheld nature of devices such as smartphones and tablets would make viewers gravitate away from TVs and towards these screens that offer greater flexibility.
So is this actually happening? While it is true that new types of devices allow viewers to watch more content, the TV screen is actually increasing its share of streaming viewing hours. Viewers now spend more time streaming video on TVs than on smartphones, tablets, PCs, and all other types of screens combined, according to the latest data from Conviva who has a “global footprint of 50 billion streams per year” (but not Netflix).
The Q3 2018 report shows that TV devices (Smart TVs and media boxes) now hold a 56% share (of viewing hours). Smartphone/tablets have a 25% share and PCs have a 14% share, while other types of screens make up 5%. The TV screen has increased its share considerably compared to Q3 2017.
Streaming viewing hours have increased 63% over last year, the report claimed. In absolute terms, smartphone and tablet viewing is increasing but TV viewing is growing quicker. Viewers are actually streaming less video on PC, despite the market for streaming video growing rapidly.
- ”Connected TVs deliver the best streaming experience of all devices, and as a result saw a 145% increase in plays while PCs declined by 18%,” said Conviva. “The thirst for a high-quality viewing experience is one of the drivers behind the significant shift to connected TVs.”
The first graph also shows that Roku remains the most popular TV platform. Amazon Fire TV is gaining significant share, while Apple TV, Xbox, and PlayStation 4 are now roughly equally popular. The “others” category includes Android TV, Samsung Tizen, and LG webOS; neither of these has a meaningful share. Chromecast has stagnated.
Fewer problems with TVs
The report also shared insights into “quality by device”, showing that viewers are experiencing fewer problems when using a TV device to stream video. Specifically, viewers are seeing fewer video start failures and less buffering. However, video playback tends to start a bit faster on smartphones and tablets.
It is not surprising either that viewers are generally seeing better streaming quality on TV devices compared to other devices. With a TV device, you are getting an average 5.4 Mb/s bitrate, which is a good indicator for picture quality. The PC averages at just 2.4 Mb/s.
So which platform delivers the highest average bitrate? Apple TV, according to Conviva. Viewers are getting 7.0 Mb/s bitrate on average with Apple TV compared to 5.1-5.5 Mb/s for other popular TV platforms. One possible explanation is that iTunes is helping increase the average. iTunes delivers one of the highest streaming bitrates out there.
Conviva also noted that streaming quality appears to be going up across the broad. In one year, video start failures have decreased by 33%, videos start playing 7% faster, and bitrate is up by 25%. Buffering has decreased by 41%. One possible explanation is that more and more people use a TV device for streaming (and fewer use PCs).