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People like to stream video on their mobiles, but not when they're mobile

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Netflix and other streaming apps are used frequently on mobile devices, but more often at home than anywhere else.

A new study shows that people use and like streaming video sites both on the big screen and mobile devices, but don't really do so on the go. With mobile networks as spotty as they are, who can blame them?

The ForeSee Mobile Satisfaction Index looks at when and how people use mobile apps for media and news purposes, and, as the title implies, whether they are satisfied or not.

Whether because of ForeSee's methods or just because people are generally satisfied with things, most categories and services got a score of between 75 and 80 on the study's 100-point scale. This doesn't give much insight as to how people really are with the online apps under consideration, but it does suggest that no one area is ahead of the others or, for that matter, lagging behind.

In the video-streaming world, HBO Go and Netflix both garnered scores of 79, overtaking Amazon Instant Video's lowly 78 and towering over the abject Crackle and Hulu Plus, tied at 75. (Sports apps had a similarly tight grouping, while news apps showed a wider spread.)

Foresee
Charts from ForeSee showing ratings of popular streaming services, and the locations most used, along with associated satisfaction ratings.

More interesting was the discovery that many users of these streaming services, even on mobile phones and tablets, are watching at home on their own Wi-Fi network, and not on a high-speed cellular connection. 

Of the 5,500 people surveyed in June, only 8 percent used these apps solely while on the go, while 32 percent split their app time between home and mobile use.

It's no surprise, though, when you take a closer look. ForeSee found (and many readers will concur) that the most important part of a streaming service is not necessarily design or selection, but performance. Even the most beautiful app with the largest catalog is deemed useless if it buffers forever, or you have to wait for ads to load when your show is ready.

For this reason, it seems, people stick with the reliable home connection and take their "mobile" device to the bedroom, the bathroom, and even the living room, where presumably they are using the device while sitting in front of the TV!

It seems that there's still a ways to go when it comes to rich media on mobile phones and tablets — until someone on the move is getting the same reliable experience they get at home, they'll prefer the latter.

Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.