New Trends in Consuming Video Online – While viewing TV previously meant turning off other channels and viewing multiple clips in one sitting, now consumers are growing accustomed to short snippets of video content and are consuming more media as they navigate between social networks, websites and applications. People in the U.S. watched more than 44 billion online content videos last month, translating to 183 million Americans going to the Net to watch entertaining and education video clips. A separate study showed that during Q1 2013, about 14% of smartphone and tablet users downloaded content applications in order to view streaming clips. Digital native are actively using more than a single screen at a time to watch videos, read articles and stay active on social networks.
FCC Says US Consumers Have More Choice in TVs Than Ever – The FCC cited the deployment of digital technology, sustained consumer demand for video programming anywhere and anytime, more households with at least four video providers as phone companies increase their video system, and more online video producers entering the market as well as developing their original content. The number of multichannel video programming distributors active in the U.S. now includes 1141 cable MSOs, two satellite services, two large IPTV operators (AT&T & Verizon), and many smaller regional telcos offering IPTV. Across all of them, subscribers grew from 100.8 million to 101.0 million households. Cable, though, continues to struggle as their share of subscribers fell from 59.3% at the end of 2011 to 55.7% at end of June 2012. Households relying exclusively on OTA (over-the-air) broadcast service has remained steady at 11.1 million households. (That was the original idea of broadcasting in the U.S., remember…) OTT (over-the-top) video programming is becoming increasingly prevalent too. By the end of last year, the number of Internet-connected TV households grew to about one-third of all TV households. OTT also provides additional viewing options for most Americans, except for those in more rural areas.
Australians Overcharged for IT Goods – An inquiry carried out the Australian House of Representatives Infrastructure and communications Committee supports claims by consumers and the media that Australians are being overcharges for IT goods—on an average, an extra 50%. Consumers are calling it the “Australia Tax.” The committee recommended lifting parallel import restrictions, that consumers be educated as to how they can circumvent geoblocking mechanisms in order to access cheaper legitimate goods.
Consumer Reports Tests Wireless Speakers – Since an increasing number of people are using their smartphones and tablets to listen to music and watch videos, Consumer Reports has finally tested about 20 portable wireless speakers, some heavily advertised. (Keep in mind that wired (such as Ethernet) is always to be preferred to wireless if possible, due to greater reliability and improved quality.) Some of the speakers sounded good, while others failed to perform well, actually delivering distorted audio. They considered controls that work well, and a USB port so you could charge your devices. The TDK Life topped the ratings; it comes with a USB port, can be used as a speakerphone for phone calls, and is about $150.