Nearly a third (31 percent) of U.S. broadband households regularly watch over-the-top content – TV programs or movies accessed from the Internet – on their TVs, according to a new report from Parks Associates.

As part of this trend, the firm forecasts sales of over 14 million digital media receivers, like units from Apple TV, Roku and Boxee. Parks Associates found market penetration of more than 12 percent of U.S. broadband households for these consumer electronics products.

These numbers shouldn’t be directly equated with cord cutting, however, cautioned Kurt Scherf, Parks Associates vice president and principal analyst. “While this trend does not yet frequently equate to canceling pay-TV services, it can mean shaving some premium channels for a set of households,” he said. “That is a risk that pay-TV providers must address and a trend that both manufacturers and content providers are following with eagle eyes and plans for defensive actions.”

During the 2011 holiday season, 4 percent of households bought an over-the-top (OTT) device, the study found. “Nearly 20 percent of these holiday-season buyers are over 45 years of age, so these devices have achieved relatively broad appeal among multiple consumer segments,” Scherf said.

Apple reported 2.8 million unit sales of Apple TV in its fiscal 2011 and another 1.4 million in the holiday quarter. Roku similarly showed a solid performance in 2011, with sales of 1.5 million units.

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