Digital-video recorders (DVRs) were a thing for awhile. People used them to record live TV and keep up with all their cable channels. In the age of cord-cutting, it’s no longer as much of a thing.
For the first time, more US households have access to Netflix than DVRs, according to Leichtman Research Group’s 15th annual study of on-demand video. The research firm surveyed 1,200 US adults who lived in households with a TV set during January 2017.
Roughly 54% of US adults said they had Netflix in their homes during the month, including those who shared accounts, compared to 53% that said they had a DVR, it said. That’s a reversal from 2011, when 44% of TV households had a DVR and 28% had Netflix.
Viewers, it seems, had less of a need to record live-TV programming when they could access many of the same movies and TV shows at their leisure through streaming on-demand-services like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Video.
According to the Leichtman survey, 64% of households had a subscription-video service through Netflix, Amazon Prime, and/or Hulu, and about half of US adults streamed any of these services on a monthly basis. The survey also found that 23% of adults streamed Netflix daily, up from 6% in 2011. (At the end of 2016, Netflix had more than 90 million subscribers worldwide, with about 49 million in the US.)
DVRs have long enjoyed a lead over streaming video because they’ve been around longer. One of the first DVRs was reportedly launched by TiVo in 1999, eight years before Netflix began streaming video.
DVRs are also usually associated with pay-TV providers, which have been losing reach. (That could change as new internet-TV entrants like YouTube TV offer unlimited DVR recording.) DVRs are still popular among pay-TV subscribers, the study found. About 64% of pay-TV customers surveyed said they had a DVR, compared to 49% in 2011.