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updated 4/24/2012 3:48:53 PM ET 2012-04-24T19:48:53

Barely in existence four years ago, Internet-connected TVs are now the favorite way for Americans to watch Web video, according to a new survey by consulting firm Accenture.

Most Internet video still plays on a computer, but the small screen is losing its appeal in the U.S., according to the approximately 1,000 Americans who participated in the poll. That trend might explain the boom in sales of so-called " smart TVs " with an Internet connection built in. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, 27 percent of all TVs this year will be Internet-connected.

Right behind in U.S. popularity are regular TVs plugged into an Internet set-top box such as Roku or a game console like the Xbox 360. Together they make up 41 percent of preferred viewing in the U.S., while just 12 percent of people prefer laptops. (A measly 5 percent favor tablets and smartphones.)

The survey showed how people in the Americas and Europe watch online. But Accenture broke out the results of the American polling exclusively for TechNewsDaily.

Video quality matters when the pixels are spread across a big screen, based on the 38 percent of American respondents who said they were frustrated by low-res pictures. But in the land of fast food, speed apparently matters even more: About half of the U.S. respondents complained about slow downloads or waiting through commercials.

Ads are so frustrating, in fact, that about a third of those surveyed said they would feel "encouraged" to pay for content with fewer commercials. Equal numbers also said they would pay to get a wider selection of videos and "premium content," such as new movie releases.

They wouldn't pay much, though. The sweet spot for most people is just $5 to $10 per month. That would fit the popular Netflix streaming and the growing Hulu Plus service, which are $8 per month each. (Hulu Plus still has commercials.)

In contrast, according to the latest Federal Communications Commission data, typical cable-TV bills in the U.S. run about $55 per month. 

© 2012 TechNewsDaily

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