If you’re like most people, you probably have a tablet – or a smartphone at least – within arm’s reach day and night. Even if we’re meant to be watching TV, our eyes can be glued to the ‘second screen’ of an internet-connected device. But, in a world that’s increasingly mobile, could the second screen soon be king of the living room?
The rise of ‘second screening’
A recent study of UK viewing habits, by the broadband comparison site broadbandchoices.co.uk, found over two-thirds of us look at a second screen whilst watching TV on a standard set.
The survey of 2,000 adults revealed, unsurprisingly, that laptops (36%), smartphones (31%) and tablets (15%) are the three most common distractions. In fact, only 30% of British TV viewers are giving the box their undivided attention.
You could argue that sometimes we use a second screen to enrich our experience of live TV, maybe tweeting along with a favourite show. But the research suggests this kind of activity accounts for less than 13% of second screening.
Most second screens are actually being used for email (63%), social networking (44%), reading the news (44%) and playing games (36%), so the old-fashioned telly’s got a lot of competition.
Are tablets going to kill the TV?
The experts at broadbandchoices predict that by 2017 the ordinary television set will be replaced as the primary viewing device in most British households.
Interestingly, a third of those polled said they’d rather stream programmes on a tablet, smartphone or laptop than watch on a traditional TV set. More than a quarter said they watch less television now than they would have 10 years ago.
Dominic Baliszewski, telecoms expert at broadbandchoices, said: “It’s not surprising that the old-fashioned telly is losing its crown as king of the living room.”
With so many ways of enjoying films and TV on the internet, a broadband-connected tablet or smartphone brings more flexibility to choose where and when you watch.
Still, four years isn’t enough time for TVs to be ousted altogether. Or is it?