Half of Netflix users connect via game console

Just how important is Netflix’s expansion in developing special apps for different platforms?

Apparently it’s pretty darn huge. According to research firm Nielsen, less than half of the people who watch TV shows and movies on Netflix are doing it through the company’s original PC, Web-based platform.

And when it comes to other devices, game consoles are king. 50% of Netflix users say they use the dedicated apps on Wii, Xbox 360, and/or PS3 so they can easily watch their instant movies or TV shows on TV.

Netflix was already starting to become the talk of the town before it was brought to the Xbox 360, PS3, or Wii. Back then, users could only stream content through their computers, and if they wanted to watch any of that content on a TV they needed a physical cable connection as well as the technical know-how.

Now, users with an active Netflix account can easily watch the thousands of hours of available content on their Internet-connected TV, Blu-ray player, Android phone, iPhone, tablet, set-top box, or, of course, game console. None of these options costs any sort of extra fee. It’s just all part of attracting as many people to the monthly subscription-based service as possible.

Interestingly, the Nielsen study also looked at Hulu but found far fewer users are taking advantage of that company’s TV and mobile apps. In fact, 89% of users said they watch Hulu on their computer. Although it’s trying to compete with Netflix, Hulu – which has apps for many but not all of the same platforms as Netflix – is largely seen as an option to watch a show you may have missed last night. As a result, it’s far less of an experience than gathering the family around the living room for a Netflix movie.