Or are they just down on PCs?
Video downloads may not replace physical DVDs anytime soon, judging by US consumers' opinion of download quality.
Parks Associates' "Global Digital Living II" found that those who had downloaded videos generally had a negative experience. Only 16% of US consumers thought that there was a good selection of downloadable videos available online. Just 13% said video downloads were sold at a reasonable price. Less than one-fifth said they planned to download videos again in the future.
"People don't see a reason to use video downloading services," John Barrett, director of research at Parks, said in a statement. "Sure, it saves a trip to the video store, but it takes longer, looks worse, and you end up watching it on a 17-inch screen. No wonder consumers are dissatisfied with the experience."
But is PC viewing really to blame for download dissatisfaction? After all, AppleTV is promoted as a way to view downloaded movies on a TV. Do consumers truly have a preference?
The available data so far point in diametrically opposed directions when it comes to settling the "TV vs. PC" debate.
A May 2007 ABI Research study indicated an overwhelming predilection for the computer, with 71% of respondents saying they preferred it to the TV for viewing paid online video content.
At the other end of the spectrum, Ipsos Insight found that 75% of respondents chose the TV as their primary device for streaming and downloading video vs. 11% for PC. An earlier study by the Points North Group and Horowitz Associates also cited a preference for the TV over the PC.
"Anyone looking for consensus on the preferred viewing device among US Internet video watchers will need to look elsewhere—or wait until such a convergence of opinion materializes," said eMarketer senior analyst Paul Verna.
Just as online music still represents a small fraction of total music sales, so too are movie downloads tiny compared to DVDs. And until the buying and viewing experience measures up, downloads will likely remain a niche market.
Learn how viewers get their video. Please read eMarketer's Online Video: Making Content Pay report.