THE traditional television set in the corner of a room will be replaced by tablets or mobile phones as the most popular viewing device within five years, a study has claimed.
The increase in portable devices, including laptops, smart-phones and tablets, has already seen a decline in traditional viewing habits.
The study showed a third of the 2,000 people polled (33 per cent) would rather watch programmes on internet-enabled devices than on a traditional TV set in their living room.
The research, by broadbandchoices.co.uk, also found more than one in four of those polled (26 per cent) watches less television through a standard television set than they did ten years ago.
The rise in catch-up viewing of on-demand television has been a major factor in the shift away from static viewing, with an increasing number of viewers choosing to watch later online and not adhering to a broadcast TV schedule.
Some 37 per cent of UK adults with home internet now watch online catch-up TV – a leap of 14 percentage points compared with just three years ago, while one in five adults claims to watch catch-up TV at least once a week.
The report came as the BBC announced that its TV and radio services had been accessed via its iPlayer 2.32 billion times, with viewers watching 36.5 billion minutes of BBC programmes that way.
The corporation also reported a 177 per cent increase year-on-year of requests from smart phones and tablets, making up more than a quarter of total iPlayer requests.
Viewers used the downloading programme service to make their daily commute less tiresome, with the majority of viewers downloading programmes at 10pm and watching them on the way to and from work at 7:30am and 5:30pm.
The findings reflect a wider generational shift in habits, according to the report, as younger viewers become more mobile and are less inclined to sit in front of a static TV.
This is echoed by the fact that traditional television viewing among 25-34 year-olds fell from an average of 3.5 hours to 3.3 hours per day from 2005 to 2011, according to recent Ofcom statistics.
Media experts claim the recent collapse of high street entertainment giants HMV and Blockbuster could lead to an increase in the online streaming of content.
With fewer places available to buy hard copies of DVDs and Blu-Rays, services such as Netflix and LoveFilm – where viewers are able to download and stream film and TV content straight to their laptop, games console or smartphone on subscription – are expected to increase in popularity this year.
Dominic Baliszewski, telecoms expert at broadbandchoices.co.uk, said the variety offered from modern streaming services and new platforms had made the shift from the traditional living-room viewing habits inevitable.
“It’s not surprising that the old-fashioned television is losing its crown as king of the living room,” he said. “With so many different ways for people to view films and programmes over a broadband connection, modern devices such as tablets allow viewers far more flexibility to choose where and when they watch their favourite shows.”
Mr Baliszewski added: “We could see the ordinary TV set replaced in most homes as the primary viewing device in less than five years.”