Survey Says: 6 Out of 10 Americans Now Own a DVR

The majority of U.S. viewers now use time-shifting technology to watch their TV, according to a new survey conducted on behalf of Comcast. (s CMCSK) The AP reports today that Comcast had market researchers poll 1000 consumers — not all of whom were Comcast customers — and 62 percent of the respondents said that they’re using some sort of time-shifting, including online catch-up, DVRs and VOD. Six out of ten said that they own a DVR. 84 percent of the time shifters say they use it significantly more than three years ago.

I was very tempted to pull a Chris Anderson and declare linear TV to be dead, but TV By The Numbers reminds us that Nielsen tends to publish much lower numbers, estimating that only about 37 percent of all homes have DVRs.

So what is it? The truth may be somewhere in the middle, with Nielsen being much more conservative in its estimates, but the AP report also shows that there is some evidence for a significant shift: HBO’s  (s TWX) Entourage show is now watched by an average of 1.78 million viewers when it first airs on Sunday night, but an additional 1.87 million viewers watch it time-shifted via their DVR.

Also encouraging for Hulu and Co: 17 percent of the survey’s respondents said that they’re going to watch at least some of this fall’s TV programing online.

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