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Broadband users watch less TV

North American Internet users with broadcast connections watch two fewer hours of television per week than those without Internet access. Those using a dial-up connection watch 1.5 fewer hours of TV, according to a new report from Forrester Research.

The data counted nearly 69,000 people in the United States and Canada as participants, according to Reuters.

Broadband Internet users watch 12 hours of TV per week, compared with 14 hours for those who are offline. The researchers also predicts that the number of broadband households in the U.S., which already climbed to 31 million at the end of last year from 2.6 million in 1999, will expand to 71.4 million by 2010.

While its conclusion that Internet usage detracts from other media is not new, the study delves deeper than others, separating consumers into various categories, including technology optimists and pessimists, and tenured nomadic networkers.

Users making up the latter category have had Internet access in their networked homes for at least five years and own a laptop computer. These nomads watch 10.8 hours of TV each week.

While newspapers and magazines also suffer a bit from Internet competition, radio and video games do not, the study concluded. It defines a tech optimist as believing technology will make life more enjoyable, while pessimists are indifferent or even hostile toward technology. Pessimists outnumber optimists 51 to 49 percent.

Online media attracts technology optimists in droves, the report found, noting that they are three times more likely to use streaming media and peer-to-peer file sharing and read blogs.

Optimists play video games, read magazines and listen to the radio more than pessimists. Pessimists watch more television. Newspaper reading, according to the study, is identical between the two groups.

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