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Tablet ownership continues to surge in Canada; iPad tops: tech trends report

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TORONTO - Tablet ownership continues to surge in Canada and online and mobile TV viewing is on the rise, according to a new report on tech trends in Canada.

Based on 2,000 surveys of anglophone Canadians conducted in March and April, CBC/Radio-Canada's Media Technology Monitor found that the rapid adoption of tablets continues, with about 21 per cent of those surveyed reporting they owned one of the pricey devices. That figure is up 3.5 times compared to last spring, when only six per cent of anglophone Canadians had a tablet.

Apple's iPad was far and away the most popular tablet with about 62 per cent of the market in Canada, while Research in Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook had a share of almost 20 per cent, according to the survey results.

The viewing of online video, on mobiles devices, computers and TV sets, also continues to grow.

About 71 per cent said they watched some type of online video in the past month, which was up two percentage points in the last six months. About one in five said they had watched a full-length TV episode in the past month, and 19 per cent said they'd watched a feature film online. About 15 per cent said they were Netflix subscribers, which was more than double the seven per cent that said they signed up for the service last spring.

About 19 per cent said they had a TV connected to the Internet, either to watch streaming video on a platform like Netflix or to access other digital content. That figure was more than double the nine per cent that answered similarly in the spring of 2011, and up about 50 per cent since last fall.

More Canadians also said they're using their mobile devices to watch TV. About 21 per cent of tablet owners said they are now watching TV shows on their device, which represents about five per cent of the total anglophone population. Only about two per cent of anglophones were watching TV shows on tablets in the spring of 2011. A similar number of anglophones, about five per cent, said they watched TV on their smartphones.

Although physical media formats are falling out of favour with some consumers, and movie rental stores are disappearing, Blu-ray players are increasingly finding a place in Canadian homes. About 34 per cent reported having a Blu-ray player, which was up about 20 per cent in the last six months.

One home entertainment technology that's not on the rise is 3D TV. Only four per cent said they owned a high-tech 3D-compatible set, and only three per cent said they had the special glasses to go with their TV.

Another much-hyped trend that doesn't appear to be panning out yet — in Canada at least — is social media interaction with live TV viewing. While some in the TV industry have hoped Twitter and Facebook chatting would revive live viewing — and discourage PVRing — few seem to be doing it in Canada. Only seven per cent of Canadians said they chatted online while watching a show, although that was up two percentage points since the fall.

The survey results are considered accurate within plus or minus 2.2 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

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