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Brits bingeing on TV box sets

7th April 2014 Print

Three out of four Brits admit to bingeing on box sets of their favourite TV programmes, with thousands missing out on sleep, food and even sex to watch shows in marathon sessions!
In a study of 2,000 people by, 73% of respondents said they had binge-watched over three hours of episodes in one sitting, with nearly half (46%) admitting to sessions over four hours. A square-eyed one in ten said they sometimes sat in front of the shows for over six hours at a time.
A third of Brits (32%) said they found it difficult to stop watching one episode after another, with half missing out on sleep as a result. A quarter said they had abandoned evening plans and 15% have even turned down sex in order to catch the next instalment of their favourite shows.
One in five (19%) Brits confess to having viewed five complete box sets in the last six months alone, with three out of five (59%) watching more TV shows than they ever have before. Nearly half of them (48%) say this is down to having faster broadband at home.
Dominic Baliszewski from explains the shift in viewing habits: “It’s now easier and cheaper to get faster broadband at home, which means it’s easier to stream video and watch on-demand. TV companies recognise this, which is why there are so many great shows with Hollywood talent being made specifically for streaming services.
“But if you’re addicted to these shows and your broadband goes bad - or is simply not up to the task - it can be an incredibly painful experience.”
In the study, 60% of people said programmes had been slow to download or start, while almost as many (57%) reported freezing during streaming - indeed this was the problem viewers found most frustrating. Other issues included difficulties in connecting to video on-demand services (54%) and audio being out of sync (47%).
Dominic continued: “If you experience problems every time you try to catch up on the latest House Of Cards episode, there are some easy steps to improve things:

Connect direct: If you do most of your streaming via Wi-FI, but find it unreliable, remember you can lose a lot of speed wirelessly. Try connecting your viewing device (laptop, games console, etc.) directly to your router using an Ethernet cable - this should give you the best speed possible from your connection.

Download, then watch: If you have the option to download episodes and store them to watch later, take advantage of it. You can download an entire series overnight and watch them the next day, free from buffering or interruptions. This is especially useful if you have slow broadband and limited options for improving it.

Switch to low-def: Some services, such as BBC iPlayer, allow you to stream a lower quality picture than standard or high-definition. The picture clarity is slightly poorer, but it uses less bandwidth, so can eliminate any buffering you may be experiencing.

Take a pause: Frequent buffering can also happen when your programme has not fully downloaded before you start watching it. Try pausing the programme for a minute or two to allow the downloading to catch up with itself, and then continue viewing.

Streamline your streaming: If you are doing other online activities at the same time as watching TV content (e.g. social networking, emailing pictures, downloading documents) they can all cause a drag on your speed. Reduce the pressure on your broadband by making sure only one device is connected and shutdown any online programmes or apps that could be running in the background.

Fibre up: If you experience frequent problems, check your speed using a broadband speed tester. You need a minimum speed of around 2-3Mb to stream comfortably. If your speed consistently falls below this, it is worth upgrading to fibre optic if it is available in your area. The improvement to streaming (better quality picture, no buffering) will be immediate and prices have fallen in recent months - packages start from as little as £4 a month excl. line rental.

Watch your limits: Most home broadband packages these days are unlimited, but it is worth checking your T&Cs just in case. Downloading and streaming video content uses a lot of data and if you go over your monthly limit you could end up having to pay for the extra data you’ve used.
The research from broadbandchoices comes as the latest series of Game of Thrones - one of the most popular TV programmes among Britain’s box set addicts - hits UK screens on 7 April.
Breaking Bad is top of the popularity table among box set addicts, followed closely by Friends, 24, The Big Bang Theory and Game of Thrones.
Surprisingly, women admitted to favouring their own peace and quiet whilst watching their series of choice, whereas men prefer to watch series with their significant other. Luckily, Game of Thrones is equally popular with both genders, making it the perfect series for quality time together.
Top 10 box sets for bingers

1. Breaking Bad
2. Friends
3. 24
4. The Big Bang Theory
5. Game of Thrones
6. Family Guy
7. Doctor Who
8. Sherlock
9. Sex and the City
10. Lost