The vast majority (90.4 percent) of U.S. TV households pay for a TV subscription of some type (cable, telephone company or satellite), while 75.3 percent buy broadband Internet.

Changes are brewing, however, as consumers seek out the subscription service that makes the most sense for them, NIelsen says.

Some of the changes involve simple shifts of market share. The number of homes subscribing to wired cable has decreased 4.1 percent in the past year at the same time that telephone company-provided and satellite TV have seen increases of 21.1 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively.

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But nearly a million more homes are subscribing to broadband while skipping a traditional paid TV subscription, a fact that might lead some to argue that users are using their broadband connections to watch streaming video as an alternative to buying a TV subscription.

There are also are 5.1 million broadcast-TV-only homes that buy broadband, another potential sign that people are substituting streaming video for a subscription.

But most of the market buys both video and broadband. Some 80.8 million homes are in that category, while 22.3 million homes subscribe to cable TV but do not buy broadband.

Though broadcast only, but broadband-buying homes comprise the smallest subscriber group, the number of these homes has increased by 22.8 percent since the third quarter of 2010.

The increase in broadcast-only/broadband homes is not necessarily an indication of downgrading services, though.

Though less than five percent of the television households, U.S. consumers in homes with broadband Internet access and free, broadcast TV stream video twice as much as the general cross-platform population . They also watch half as much TV. You might conclude that evidence of change in TV consumption is most clear in this segment of the market.

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