I’m not sure why this surprises me. I guess I had assumed that the proliferation of cell phones had reached such a level in the US — and that now households couldn’t possibly need as many TVs as they would phones — that TVs wouldn’t have a prayer against cell phones. I guess I’m wrong.
Around 290 million Americans (114.7 million households) own at least one TV. Only 234 million own cell phones by comparison. That’s a huge difference, which kind of blows my mind. And that’s after TV ownership dropped in 2011. Part of the reason was that people with low incomes can’t afford more expensive digital TVs and antennas. Also a significant number of young people are opting to use their laptops and iPods to consume video instead of the good old television.
TV is Changing
The dominance of TVs as an entertainment portal are probably largely due to the fact that they’ve had such a head-start in our entertainment culture and infrastructure. They’re still the main screens in the house, after all. But they are constantly changing and improving, too.
What used to be a simple receiver box that let you flip through channels and connect a VCR or video game console can now connect to a myriad of devices, including most computers. TVs themselves can now have media-streaming apps and built-in memory. Higher resolutions, voice control and gesture commands are all making their way into the next wave of Smart TVs. And then there are the ever higher resolutions, refresh-rates and picture-quality. Televisions have never been slimmer, clearer or bigger. On top of it all, inch-for-inch, TVs are cheaper than ever as well.
Maybe the dominance of mobile devices is inevitable and TV is destined to take the number-two spot as the most popular of devices. But until then, I will no longer be surprised to hear that the idiot box is still king in the US.
Do you own a TV, or do you watch movies and TV shows on something else?
image by Switched