A survey in the United States indicates that more than half of Americans have heard of internet protocol television and a quarter are interested in adopting the technology, although they would prefer to receive it from a cable company than a telephony or internet service provider.

The survey defined internet TV or IPTV as “a method of distributing television content over the internet” using a broadband connection to view content on a computer or on a standard television using a set-top box.

According to the survey, 56% of respondents have heard of this technology. When prompted, 42% believed that it would be less costly than cable or satellite, while 33% were interested in the ability to watch a programme on demand and 24% were interested in receiving a broader array of programming, although only 12% wanted to view international programming.

Of those surveyed, 19% expressed interest in adopting it for their PC, while 26% were interested if it were available for their TV. If available for their PC at a very reasonable price, 12% said that they would sign up immediately, while 18% said they would sign up if it were also available to their TV. Of those that were likely to use an IPTV service, 17% said they would cancel their existing cable or satellite service, while 66% said they would initially keep their existing service.

When asked which type of service provider they would feel most comfortable with, 33% said a cable company, 25% said a new company, 15% a technology provider like Cisco or Microsoft, 13% a telephone provider like Verizon or SBC (AT&T), 11% an internet service provider like AOL, and just 4% a content company like Disney.

The results are found in an online survey of a representative sample of over a thousand adults in the United States conducted by Harris Interactive in December 2005.

“It’s no surprise to find that consumers want to save money on their cable or satellite bill, but the survey results also show that many consumers are quite interested in having access to a broad range of content to watch, at a time they determine,” said Milt Ellis of Harris Interactive.

“When consumers are able to watch their favourite shows at a time of their own choosing, ‘prime time’ may need redefining, network program schedules may have little meaning, and TV ad rates will have to be recalculated. If and when IPTV becomes a mainstream reality, it could be the best of times for consumers and IPTV providers and challenging times for the networks, as well as cable and satellite providers.”