Most tablet owners use their device while watching TV, but mostly what they’re doing is checking email. The next most popular activity is checking out something related to what they’re watching, however, a promising trend for social TV – and advertisers.

According to new Nielsen research, 88 percent of U.S. tablet owners and 86 percent of U.S. smartphone owners said they used their device while watching TV at least once during a 30-day period. And many of those people (45 percent) used two screens simultaneously at least once every day, with 26 percent doing so even more frequently.

Checking email while watching TV wasn’t limited to during commercials. But when people did something other than email, it usually was to look up information related to the show or to further investigate products that were advertised during the show.

In general, those findings also held true for the United Kingdom, with 24 percent reporting device use while watching TV.

Italians and Germans were the least likely Europeans to use a device while watching TV. In both countries, 29 percent of users said they never use a tablet and TV together and 34 of Italians and 35 percent of Germans said they don’t use their smartphone while watching TV.

Related links:

Nielsen – media summary