TV viewers who use a gadget to surf the Web or chat on Facebook while watching TV are migrating away from the laptop and toward the tablet as the preferred personal device. At least, that’s what new research from the Strategy Analytics Digital Home Observatory says.

A new report from the group finds that, for those who own a laptop or a tablet, smartphone use while watching TV is limited to “alert” functions like text or voice messages, rather than as a TV companion, according to users in the United States and in the U.K. who were surveyed.

“The tablet is clearly becoming the primary TV companion device for advanced users,” says Caroline Park, senior analyst and the report’s author. “Designers wishing to engage consumers while in the home/TV-watching environment should, therefore, focus on the tablet as the device with the greatest opportunity to provide a relevant, enhanced TV experience.”

Study participants who own a tablet indicated this device now has nearly completely replaced the laptop PC as a TV companion device. They only use a laptop for certain tasks, particularly those involving typing. Comfort and convenience were cited as the major drivers of tablet usage, including device weight, heat generation and fast boot times.

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