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Online TV is fast becoming the nation's preferred way of watching television, Microsoft has said.

The computing firm's managing director and vice president of consumer and online Ashley Highfield explained that broadband internet has led to an increase in the number of laptops used in UK homes.

Speaking at this year's Intellect Annual Regent Conference, Mr Highfield said: "The big trend that is new in the last year is rise of multi-fold laptops around the home."

"The PC is becoming a TV screen," he added, suggesting that using laptops and broadband connections to access video content is "cheap" and "simple" for consumers.

Mr Highfield added that there is scope for new developments in the UK over the coming months.

"The UK leads the world in terms of the reach of online television, in terms of the amount of strings per user. That is a great advantage for the UK technology industry in terms of writers, broadcasters, anyone involved in this – the verification that they are actually being watched," he said.

Figures from Hitwise show that traffic to online video websites increased by 178 per cent between February 2007 and March 2008.

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