The iPad has changed my media consumption behavior; but then again, so did my iPhone. For each platform, my use of my previous technology has changed. Where I once used the laptop for social media, gaming, email, and online viewing, I now prefer the iPad or iPhone. For me, the iPad tablet has been the second screen that has overshadowed the traditional TV; but it only replaced the laptop before it. That the study is suggesting that tablets are "an alternative to television and to other devices for users to watch full-length TV episodes" is true. It is lighter than the laptop, easier to hold, and possesses a great screen for personal consumption. The TV set continues to retain its hold for family or group settings with multiple eyes watching. A tablet won't ever replace that experience.
The iPad is a game changer because it does an enable a more personalized, individual experience. Great screen for game-playing both in size and clarity, touch screen for a different type of control that a mouse can't offer, and a jaw dropping amount of content, from apps to web browser, that provides what can only be described as an infinite number of opportunities. And yet more continue to be developed every day.
Sure, it can work for full length episodes if that is what you are seeking; for others, it may just be You Tube clips or a downloadable game. For me, it is a perfect way to watch my out of market games on MLB. And yes, the big screen TV may still be on and occupying a space as background noise and the occasional look up from the iPad to see what was just said.
Are iPads and other tablets a threat to the TV platform; yes and no. Yes, if your content is only available in one form on the TV, and No if your content is accessible across multiple platforms and in multiple forms. The synergy of a full length show with previous seasons online and social networking and gaming connected to the video can make for a more valuable experience. But for those that occupy their space in one platform as a one trick pony, online is a threat. But it has been a threat long before tablets came along to overtake the laptop. If this study has just discovered this trend now, then they are frankly too late.