Average American Home Now Has Three TVs

Posted by: Prashant Gopal on July 21, 2009

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I don’t quite understand why – in this age of digital video recorders and streaming Web sites such as Hulu.com — people pack so many televisions into their homes.

The average American home now has 2.86 televisions and just 2.5 people, according to a new survey by Nielsen. The number of TVs jumped from 1.57 in 1975 to 2.43 in 2000 as the Internet gained popularity. The number of units per home continued to grow through the 2000s, but more slowly.

I’m part of the 2% of Americans that doesn’t own a TV. I haven’t had one for 7 months now and I don’t miss it. It turns out that the computer is quite an efficient television. No more surfing channels, and spending hours watching cable news channels waiting for some actual news to happen. Now I watch what I want when I want and don’t have to suffer through as many commercials.

Reader Comments

Keval

July 22, 2009 02:49 AM

I think the increase in the number of televisions in a household is probably due to the fact that there are more tv's in the bedroom. It is guaranteed there is one in the lounge, then one in the parents bedroom and finally one in the kid's bedroom or possibly one in the kitchen. It has become more common for kids to have their on TV's and even wives to watch soapies as they cook dinner.

I wonder if there is a correlation between the increase in the number of televisions people have in their homes and the amount of tv they watch?

I also wonder how do those that do not watch tv know what is new and good to watch (online of course)? Do billboards or internet banner ads get one to watch a new show?

The television is still the best medium to watch a show, especially when others are around. It is not that comfortable watching a show at ones desk on a 17" screen.

mr dave

July 22, 2009 09:06 AM

because watching on line is not as convenient as watching on a TV. The next step (that's just rolling out) is internet ready TV's!!!

DanTe

July 22, 2009 11:41 AM

First response: WOW! Welfare payments increased.

Second response: This is so passe. The stats should now read the average American home has 3 PC's.

Hulu Is Not Yet King

July 22, 2009 04:27 PM

I think you don't know why because you cannot think beyond your own situation. Not everyone has the internet, whether by choice or geographical or economical circumstance.

Of those that do, not everyone has DSL or better, and I'm assuming that DSL would allow Hulu to stream efficiently.

Next, though I don't see this as a positive, many couples/families use TV as their quality time. It's difficult to do that squeezed around a monitor.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Hulu and other streaming websites don't carry the volume of programming that TV has to offer. Perhaps in the future this will change, but today Hulu is a very nice niche product.

However, if you are an occasional TV watcher, take in most of your TV alone, have an adequate internet connection as well as a computer with enough power (3 years old or less) to properly stream video, and can find most of what you watched on TV on Hulu, it's the place to be.

Hulu Is Not Yet King

July 22, 2009 04:27 PM

I think you don't know why because you cannot think beyond your own situation. Not everyone has the internet, whether by choice or geographical or economical circumstance.

Of those that do, not everyone has DSL or better, and I'm assuming that DSL would allow Hulu to stream efficiently.

Next, though I don't see this as a positive, many couples/families use TV as their quality time. It's difficult to do that squeezed around a monitor.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Hulu and other streaming websites don't carry the volume of programming that TV has to offer. Perhaps in the future this will change, but today Hulu is a very nice niche product.

However, if you are an occasional TV watcher, take in most of your TV alone, have an adequate internet connection as well as a computer with enough power (3 years old or less) to properly stream video, and can find most of what you watched on TV on Hulu, it's the place to be.

George A Guajardo

July 22, 2009 05:42 PM

I recently switched from TV to web-based TV (Hulu). It is great because I get to watch on my own schedule and only watch what I really want to watch.

Of course, I still have a TV. It is hard to snuggle with someone while you watch TV in front of a laptop

NV Mom

July 23, 2009 03:15 PM

We are a family of 6 (4 kids under 9) - we have 1 TV - and watch it less than 6 hours a week (including the news, American Idol, sports and movies). When the house is quiet, and I want to zone out - I agree Hulu is king - and our next "TV" purchase will be a big-screen to connect the computer too. Between Hulu and Netflix - why pay for cable or satellite? I'd rather pay for a faster internet connection. (oh and we have 2 computers - so I guess we're not keeping up with the average family - but I'd say we probably own more than our fair share of skateboards, barbies, bath toys, scooters and legos!)

Andy

October 30, 2009 11:14 AM

I live with just my wife, and we have 3 TV's. We actually don't watch that much TV.

I think a driving factor is just older TV's hanging around. We have one in the bedroom that is 10 years old, one in the office that is 5 or 6 years old (and it really never gets turned on), and our one nice one in the living room.

Bailee

March 31, 2010 01:31 PM

I think the average american home has 4 t.vs because most familys are a mom dad and 2 kids

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About

BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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