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Half of Netflix users tune in with video game machines

Nielsen

Where do you get your Netflix fix?

A new Nielsen survey has found that half of all Netflix users tune into the streaming video service using a video game console.

Netflix is now available via PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360 and, as of earlier this month, through the Nintendo 3DS portable gaming machine.

But which game console wins the Netflix streaming competition? The Wii, hands down.


According to the Nielsen survey, 25 percent of Netflix users reported streaming the service through Nintendo's console while 13 percent reported streaming it through their PlayStation 3 machine and 12 percent reported using an Xbox 360 to view Netflix videos.

Neilsen found that 42 percent of Netflix subscribers still view the service directly on their computer. But the researchers point out that, if you combine the number of people who use game machines, an internet-enabled TV, Roku box, etc., then the vast majority of Netflix users actually watch the service a TV screen.

Nielsen came to these conclusions after completing more than 12,000 online interviews in March 2011 focusing on usage and attitudes about online streaming video, particularly Netflix and Hulu. Respondents were able to select more than one viewing method to best reflect their viewing habits.

But the research company didn't just look at Netflix. They also took a look at where people were tuning into the competing Hulu service. Hulu is still largely viewed directly on computers, which got 89 percent of the share. Only three percent or less of game machines owners reported watching Hulu on Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360.

Still, the study is further evidence that, more and more, video game consoles are becoming multi-faceted home entertainment centers rather than just game machines. In May, Microsoft corporate vice president Frank X. Shaw revealed that 40 percent of Xbox Live activity is not gaming related.

"We're seeing an average of 30 hours of video consumption per month per Xbox, a number that is growing fast," he wrote. "And people are expecting more — more options, more games, more videos, more entertainment."

Meanwhile, on a related note, the Neilsen study also found that Hulu users watch more TV than Netflix members. See our related story here.

And for the full report, check out the Nielsen blog here.

For more Netflix and video game news, check out:

Winda Benedetti writes about games for msnbc.com. You can follow her tweets about games and other things right here on Twitter or join her in the stream right here on Google+. You can check out the In-Game Facebook page right here.