The average American watches nearly five hours of video each day, 98 percent of which they watch on a traditional TV set, according to the Nielsen Cross-Platform Report, released today. Although this ratio is less than it was just a few years ago, and continues to change, the fact remains that Americans are not turning off. They are shifting to new technologies and devices that make it easier for them to watch the video they want, whenever and wherever they want.
TV is Still the Center of Viewing
In the past year, the number of homes with an HDTV grew by more than 8 million to 80.2 million, leaving little doubt that the TV screen remains the dominant platform on which to consume video content. But the means by which the content is delivered appear to be shifting.
Traditional—live and timeshifted—TV viewing remains the primary role of the TV, accounting for more than 33 hours per week despite a decline one half of one percent in time spent compared to Q4 2010. To fill the gap, consumers are finding new ways to use their TVs.
Game Consoles Now in Nearly Half of TV Homes
Consoles have become strategically positioned as a secondary gateway to TV content, and can now be found in 45 percent of TV homes, an increase of three percent over last year. With Netflix and other streaming apps, Blu-ray players, social gaming and point of purchase seamlessly integrated into game consoles, it is no surprise that consumers are relying on their consoles to perform double (and triple) duty. These new activities are adding up and contributing to the growth of content consumption. Interestingly, households without children are leading the way in new game console adoption, demonstrating that game consoles are appealing to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes.
Mobile Viewership Small but Growing
With improving screens, Internet connectivity and the advantage of being “the best screen available” while on the go, smartphones are increasingly becoming portable TVs. In fact, 33.5 million mobile phone owners now watch video on their phones—an increase of 35.7 percent since last year. While mobile phones won’t replace other screens anytime soon, they are part of the ever-increasing number of ways in which consumers consume content.
The iPad’s a great tool for editing and sharing video, and the new model even has an excellent camera, but without multiple lenses, or a tripod mount it’s not as usable or versatile as dedicated video cameras. The Padcaster aims to change that: it’s a sturdy case that lets you connect your tablet to a tripod and a lens, and turn it into a one-step solution for recording, editing, and sharing video. The $199 device was just announced this week at NAB, and we got a chance to test out one of the prototypes.
The case is big, to be sure, with a soft red inside and a hard aluminum shell — you’re not going to want to leave your iPad in the Padcaster all the time. It’s strong, though, and held the iPad in securely. Around the edges of the camera are a handful of thread holes and openings, so you can attach the device to a tripod, add a flash or an accessory, or connect an external mic. Using the also-new $79.99 Lenscaster mount, Padcaster creator Josh Apter mounted a Carl Zeiss lens on the camera so he could get film-like focusing range and depth of field.
All said and done, it makes for a pretty great solution for shooting quick video. You can record video, edit in your favorite app (Apter mentioned iMovie and Filmic Pro are his favorites), and then quickly share and upload the final product. We didn’t get to test the prototype much ourselves, but the video we saw from the Padcaster rig was impressive — maybe not DSLR-quality, but still far better than we expected.
The Padcaster is on sale now, but get in quickly if you’re interested: Apter told us that one day after announcing the product, it’s already back-ordered for eight weeks. The company will also be making Padcaster models for iPhones, as well as other tablets.
Thanks to our friends at the Vergve.