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Xbox 360 Slim Console

Game consoles have become the most popular device in the U.S. for watching online content on a TV screen, according to a new report from market research service Strategy Analytics.

While the PC remains the dominant screen for viewing online content overall, delivering content to the big screen is becoming increasingly popular, according to Strategy Analytics’ new report, “Multiscreen Connected TV: Assessing Device Usage and Ownership.” Twelve percent of U.S. households (about 15 million) use gaming consoles to watch content online, which is more than the percentage of households that connect a PC to a TV via HDMI.

The report also found that 65 percent of U.S.-based weekly Xbox 360 users under the age of 25 watch more TV shows and movies online through the console than their desktop or notebook PCs. Strategy Analytics Senior Analyst Jia Wu says these findings indicate significant levels of consumer demand for such services.

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“The upcoming Xbox TV launch for the holiday season will demonstrate an expansion of the partnership between the games consoles and the online TV and video industries,” he said. “Games consoles have already become the key media hub in U.S. households.”

Last month, Microsoft announced plans to bring nearly 40 TV and entertainment providers to its Xbox Live service, including Bravo, Comcast, HBO GO and Syfy in the U.S.; BBC in the U.K.; Telefónica in Spain; Rogers On Demand in Canada; Televisa in Mexico; ZDF in Germany; and MediaSet in Italy. Xbox Live TV is scheduled to launch this holiday season in more than 20 countries and Ed Barton, the director of Digital Media Strategies at Strategy Analytics, says it will give consumers more reasons than ever to use Microsoft’s console over alternatives from Sony and Nintendo.

“Device-led digital content services are proliferating in the modern entertainment ecosystem. Both manufacturers and service providers are scrambling to optimize their strategies,” he said. “Competition will intensify through 2012 as rival opportunities are brought to market.”

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