The devices end users really want

And why it might be cheaper to give it to them

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A study from market-researchers In-Stat on a completely unrelated topic raises an interesting question about telecommuters, bring-your-own-device advocates and smartphone users within major corporations: how much of the data and which applications do they really want on all of the three, four or five devices some studies show they use?

In-stat's study on multi-screen use of multimedia shows a proliferation in the availability and popularity of "multi-screen services" such as Netflix, which can be viewed on PCs, tablets or TVs, or smart TV services like the Verizon FiOS' ability to show the same movie on any TV in any room in the house.

It also shows most consumers keep the bulk of their multimedia content, and watch most of that content, on only one or two devices.

It's not like it's difficult. Netflix is dead simple to see on almost any device that has enough bandwidth to make the video run smoothly. Verizon just introduced a feature called FlexView, which is designed to do the same thing, just as easily.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Samsung demo'd a feature that that automatically connects a tablet or other device with a TV – using a proprietary app and wireless link – to run movies stored on a tablet on the TV or vice versa.

Still, 64 percent of consumers keep and consume multimedia content on one device – usually a PC – compared to 14 percent of households that view content on several screens. The other one-fifth don't want to acquire online video at all, the report said.

And In-stat isn't sure why.

  • Our initial research indicates that traditional demographics, such as age, income, or education are not useful in predicting multi-screen behavior.  Even psychographics, such as In-Stat’s Internet Usage Behavior segmentation (power, social, and passive Internet users), which more accurately predict technology adoption and content consumption fall short. 

My guess would be location and form factor. You don't want to watch a full length movie on a tiny phone screen, or probably even a tablet screen, if there's something bigger and higher-def available, especially if it's something you don't have to hold the device in your hand the whole time.

Unless you're stuck in an airport – in which case you might have time to watch on a PC screen – you don't typically use phones or tablets in situations where you're sitting long enough to watch much video, anyway.

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