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Changing the Face of TV: Video Streaming Gains Ground in U.S.

Streaming video is more popular than ever.

Do you stream? The popularity of video streaming is growing rapidly in the United States, as consumers snap up single-use media devices, such as Roku and Apple TV, and use them to watch movies and TV shows via the Internet.

A recent survey by research firm Parks Associates shows that nearly one-third of broadband-equipped American households regularly stream video entertainment from Internet-based services such as Amazon Instant Video and Netflix.

The findings, however, don't necessarily mean that a cord-cutting revolution is underway--at least not yet.

"While this trend does not yet frequently equate to canceling pay-TV services, it can mean shaving some premium channels for a set of households," said Parks Associates analyst Kurt Scherf, in a statement. "That is a risk that pay-TV providers must address and a trend that both manufacturers and content providers are following with eagle eyes and plans for defensive actions."

Unlike many tech trends that are spearheaded by younger consumers, the video-streaming phenomenon appears to appeal to a wider demographic. Nearly 20 percent of U.S. consumers who bought a media-streaming device in the 2011 holiday season were over 45 years of age, the survey shows.

Obviously, the streaming trend is bad news for cable providers. Even if most consumers aren't cutting the cord, they're most likely canceling premium services and opting instead for Internet-based alternatives.

I canceled my cable service nearly two years ago, and I haven't looked back. I've replaced it with a Roku box, a Netflix subscription, the occasional Amazon Instant Video movie rental, and free over-the-air TV.

Life is good, Time Warner Cable. I don't miss you.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci at Today@PCWorld, Twitter (@jbertolucci) or jbertolucci.blogspot.com.

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