Study Shows Why Tablets Could Become The New Center Of Living Room Entertainment

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A new report from Flurry Analytics released today details some of the key differences between smartphone and tablet usage. The study finds that tablets are used overwhelmingly during the evening, prime-time hours, and that users spend more time per-session on tablet devices compared to smartphones. Also, users tend to game heavily on tablets, and use them for entertainment much more proportionally than they do on smartphones.

The upshot of the study is that Flurry sees consumers spending more and more time with tablets during times when they’d been exclusively glued to their TVs in the past. And that puts companies like Apple and Google on a collision course with others already operating in that space, like Microsoft and Sony, both of which have taken a number of measures in recent years to expand the feature set of their Xbox and PlayStation home consoles to include plenty of home entertainment options beyond just gaming.

Both Apple and Google recognize that content from tablets stands to gain by appearing on televisions, too. hence the introduction of AirPlay content mirroring on iOS and the Nexus Q from Google, which the company took back to the drawing board after a somewhat confusing launch. In a blog post detailing the results of the study, Flurry’s Peter Farago explains the stakes:

[T]his would indicate that as Apple and Google enter the living room with connected TV initiatives, game consoles made by Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo would experience the greatest competition.  The distribution of content into the living room may also significantly change for network and cable television content providers.

Tablets and smartphones snuck into the living room as secondary or tertiary devices, and were embraced by networks as a way to deliver supplemental information for primary programming delivery via traditional methods. But before long, we could see that relationship reverse, especially now that hardware makers are looking for ways to bring content designed for and running on tablets easily to bigger screen throughout the home.

Where once the set-top box seemed poised to become the new nadir of the living room, and then the smart TV looked likely to inherit the crown, now it seems mobile devices, and tablets in particular, might do an end-around and change the way we spend our evenings. And if tablet makers like Apple control the content delivery vehicle, it stands to reason that they’ll have a growing influence in the nature and mix of that content, too – which could significantly change the way TV networks and other media production sources operate.