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Streaming habits vary across Europe, but PC still rules

Streaming via a PC is more popular than connected TVs and other devices across Europe’s major markets, with subscription services being more popular than à la carte rental or purchase, according to a survey carried out by technology company Rovi, which provides the DivX video format widely used in consumer devices.

Rovi surveyed 13,700 DivX users in the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy via an opt-in survey. Some 48% had streamed a movie or TV show, with the PC the preferred device of 68% of users, followed by connected TVs and Blu-ray players, preferred by 20%. Only 4% preferred to stream to a tablet, with games consoles and smartphones trailing with 3% and 2% respectively.

Some 53% of respondents said they primarily used subscription services, with à la carte rental preferred by 29% and à la carte purchase by 18%.

Asked to rank which parts of the streaming experience were most important to them, 44% of users cited video quality and 21% cited convenience. The selection on offer was cited by 20%, with price cited by 15%. Some 51% named smooth fast-forward and rewind as the function they would most like to see offered as part of the streaming experience. Some 64% said they had experiences buffering or stuttering when attempting to stream a movie, with 48% suffering the movie crashing or stopping playing. Some 45% said they had experienced poor picture quality and 25% said they had experienced login failure. Cost was the factor cited by the majority of those who had yet to purchase a movie online, followed by concerns over permanency of ownership, quality and lack of features.

Overall, Blu-ray discs were the video consumption format preferred by 41% of respondents, followed by DVD with 32%, web video with 15% and streaming to connected devices with 12%.

Results varied considerably between countries. Streaming was more popular than average in the UK, with 53% of DivX users having streamed a movie or show, with connected devices being more popular compared with PCs than the European average. A much higher than average proportion – 83% – said they had experienced buffering or stuttering when streaming. In Germany, only 45% of users had streamed a movie or TV show, compared with 56% in France and only 24% in Spain. Italy was the country with the highest proportion of those who had streamed a movie, at 60%.

Separately, Rovi has entered into an agreement with Panasonic’s semiconductor business unit to integrate its DivX Plus adaptive streaming technology into the UniPhier series of digital TV and Blu-ray chipsets.

“The agreement with Panasonic SoC is evidence of the momentum of DivX Plus Streaming and will help quickly fuel expansion of the ecosystem of digital entertainment products that support this next-generation technology,” said Matt Milne, executive vice-president, worldwide sales and marketing, Rovi. “DivX Plus Streaming offers an end-to-end solution for retailers, and CE and IC manufacturers that is lightweight and easy to integrate yet provides the benefits of a flexible DRM framework for the secure encoding, delivery and consumption of streamed video content.”