Home Theater Owners Not Streaming Media, Study Says

Home theater owners need to get with it. That's the bottom line from a survey conducted by ABI Research about U.S. TV viewing habits.

It should come as no surprise that home theater-owners are still in the minority in the U.S.: About 40% of ABI's survey respondents said they had home theater set-ups, and the same number have video game consoles and digital video recorders.

The embarrassing part (ABI tactfully calls it "baffling" behavior) is that while 40% of homes have those relatively high-tech components sitting near the tube, only 7% have a networked media device (anything that delivers audio, video or other content from the PC to the TV). 

That means that even most home theater-enthusiasts aren't ponying up for devices that pipe tunes and flicks into the living room. Somebody should tell TiVo and Xbox 360 owners that their devices can function as rudimentary networked media boxes. ABI says consumers are figuring out how to "time-shift" but not how to "place-shift."

What's even worse than this apparent late-adopter behavior among home theater owners is ABI's finding that while 40% of homes contain at least one HDTV, fewer than half of those get high-def premium service packages (those folks should take a trip over to Best Buy - the people there can't stand to see a beautiful HD panel go to waste.

ABI's statement about the study concludes, "Consumers also revealed a surprising ignorance about their systems. Many were unaware of what their equipment can actually do."

Come on, people: RTFM (Google it). -Rachel Rosmarin

ABI Research