12% of Americans stream video through PS3, Xbox 360

A stunning 15 million households in the US stream online content to their TV by way of a game console, according to a new report from Strategy Analytics.

The group notes that this accounts for 12% of all households in the country, making it the most popular form of online media streaming to a TV.

And as to be expected, the numbers only rise as you segment the audience and look to the younger demographics. For example, 65% of those surveyed who were under 25 and use an Xbox 360 on a weekly basis said their console was their most used platform for online video.

That means a majority of young gamers are watching more online video through a game console than their computer.

“Device-led digital content services are proliferating in the modern entertainment ecosystem. Both manufacturers and service providers are scrambling to optimize their strategies. Xbox Live content expansion addresses the desires of an increasingly demanding customer base and offers more reasons than ever to use the Microsoft box as opposed to its myriad alternatives,” said Strategy Analytics director of digital media strategies Ed Barton.

The study comes just as Microsoft is gearing to launch what is effectively its own TV service, allowing customers with an existing cable subscription to watch live TV without ever leaving the confines of the Xbox 360.

That service is sure to make a profound mark on the traditional media industry, and could be a gateway to a future threat against cable and satellite companies. For now, Microsoft is not acting as its own provider, but rather as a conduit for existing providers. Who knows if in the future, though, that might change?