Smartphone penetration in U.S. homes is now more than 50%, but tablet adoption is rising fast. Within a two-year period, nearly 20% of U.S. homes have become home to at least one tablet — and both devices increasingly are being used while watching TV, according to the latest Nielsen Cross Platform Report.

Contrasting smartphone and tablet owners, the latter tend to be older and more affluent, only proving “that the adoption and use of new technologies are not reserved for the young…Tablets have forded the oft-treacherous age gap,” Nielsen says.

Nielsen found that 36% of people ages 35-54 and 44% ages 55-64 use their tablets while watching TV to add to their viewing experience. And nearly one-third of tablet users ages 25-64 check sports scores while watching games. Across the board, a majority of tablet owners use apps while watching TV, including more than 40% who do so one or more times a day and nearly 80% who do so several times a month or more, Nielsen said. Fewer than 20% of tablet owners said they “never” use them while watching TV.

There’s a digital divide forming between the sexes with smartphones, Nielsen found. More than 40% of female smartphone owners use their smartphones at least once a day while watching TV, as compared to about 35% of men who said they use their smartphones while channel surfing.

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