The Underestimated Over-The-Top Device: The PC

TV and Laptop

Attention Google (NSDQ: GOOG) TV, Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) TV, Boxee, Tivo, XBox, Bravia: It’s no use. Make way for an old-fashioned solution to internet-connected TV that may be more prevalent than you might assume: the PC.

A new study from TDG Research found some surprising persistence to consumers who link their laptops or desktops to their TV screens as a means of viewing internet video. It’s a counterintuitive notion to say the least given all the aforementioned players that are attempting more sophisticated, seamless solutions. And when you look at the numbers a little closer, there may not be much to this.

One-third of adult broadband users surveyed used some form of PC-to-TV connection at least once a year, TDG found. What that infrequency may suggest more than anything is that every once in a while there’s a video experience that makes the most sense to take in on a bigger screen, like a high-definition film.

The research further breaks down the PC-to-TV market into four segments, with just 16.8 percent of them using that solution on a daily basis. Again, this is not exactly a surging movement here.

Why this may be most negligible: TDG found this market is no more or less likely to be cord-cutters.

It’s likely that all that TDG is picking up on here is a last gasp from a pre-Boxee era, a behavior that is going out of style but hasn’t completely dropped out of sight yet. It would be wise for TDG to follow up a year from now to see if the PC-TV market has shrunken.

Is it possible that the stubborn existence of PC-TV tells us something about the consumer reception to Google/Apple/Boxee/et al: For all the hype, the abundance of different over-the-top devices is sowing confusion more than anything. Perhaps something as simple as a single wire that runs from PC to TV is still viable because it’s the cheapest alternative to committing to any of the boxes out there.

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