Fewer TVs Are Being Used These Days (And Some Folks Don't Even Have One)

How many TVs do you regularly use in your home? The answer is likely to be, “Fewer than we used to.”

A new survey released on Tuesday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that the average number of televisions in U.S. homes is declining, going from 2.6 (in 2009) to 2.3.

The percentage of houses with three or more TVs ended a decade-long upswing, slipping from 44 to 39 percent, while those with no TV whatsoever — including, presumably, that head-scratcher of a girl I couldn’t bring myself to date at college — rose from 1.3 to 2.6 percent. (Seriously, she grew up without a TV. I know, right?)

tv-usage-chartSince it unearthed this data merely in the course of measuring energy consumption, the U.S. Energy Information Administration arrives at no conclusion about why the decline in the number of TVs per home. Though obviously one can surmise that people now have other, more portable means to consumer their shows, either via laptop, iPad or 2-way wrist radio.

How many TVs are in regular use at your home right now? Think hard, being sure to consider the den, the living room, your rec room, the rumpus room, the musty guest room, the one you slip away to in the attic to watch E!…

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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49 Comments
  1. KP says:

    I grew up in a house with 6 tvs (4 people). My husband and I have 3 tvs and we do watch on the laptop sometimes but I prefer to cast it onto the big screen TV

    • cccloc says:

      I prefer to watch shows on a wide screen TV or a wide screen computer monitor. I can’t read nor see stuff on hand devices. It’s bad on the eyes, and once people realize it they will revert back to big screens.

  2. Imzadi says:

    Oh yes, people without a tv. Didn’t encounter one in the past 30 years. But I remember being a child mid 80s, and a teacher telling me, she didn’t have a TV. I was telling her how amazing The Fall Guy and The A-Team was and she didn know them! I couldn’t wrap my head around that she didn’t have TV.

    • Imzadi says:

      Oh and growing up we had one TV. And sometimes a TV in our childrens room. It was black and white and portable. Sometimes it worked and somethimes it didn’t. My little sister was the youngest and therefore forced to getup and change the channel. Good times :)

  3. We don’t have a tv in my apartment, we each have laptops and iPads/tablets that we use for TV watching. My roommate also has a Roku project we use for movies sometimes

  4. Sure I can always watch something on my phone, kindle or laptop but I actually prefer to watch live on my television even if I’m not a Nielsen family.

  5. Kay says:

    I watch everything (yes, everything) on my phone, so I have no need for a physical TV.

    • jj says:

      on your phone?! not even on a tablet? don’t you find it quite small?

      • Angela says:

        Heh, my thoughts exactly. I’ll watch things on my laptop, but but I don’t get the appeal of watching a show on a tiny screen.
        .
        To each their own, though, of course. *Shrugs*

      • Eva says:

        I used to watch shows on my phone while commuting to school and each time I was really surprised at how quickly my eyes adjusted to the small screen.

  6. Toni-ann says:

    I have 5 TV’s in my house… main one in the living room, one in the family room that you can see from the kitchen, one in the basement and 1 each in 2 of the 3 bedrooms. And I can honestly say they are all used all the time because my family all watches different shows. And since I got unlimited data on my phone I’ve ramped up watching shows on my phone, but I still prefer watching on a TV at home. My family is the opposite of cord-cutters, I guess. Long live the electronics department!

  7. LAwoman says:

    I prefer the larger screen and better sound system of a TV so that’s what I use the most. While traveling, I watch on my iPad.

  8. Superwoman says:

    We have 1 TV in a household of 4 people. TV is switched on all day on the weekends only mainly for the guys who want to catch up on sport. Weekdays, TV’s off, everyone is on their devices. We watch all our shows on our devices with no ads. Doesn’t really matter I suppose because we are not a Neilsen household so our habits do not really affect anything.

  9. Ben says:

    I only have one tv since I’m the only one that lives in my house, I only use it for video games and movies or prime time tv most of the time, most of the time it’s off.

  10. JC1 says:

    I don’t have a TV. I watch everything on my iPad. Occasionally if I want to watch a DVD I’ll use my laptop.

  11. Candace says:

    There are 4 in my house, but only the sets in my bedroom and living room get any use at all.

  12. shellie hansen says:

    Our one tv is used for xbox when the kids are over and an occasional dvd. All tv shows are watched on our laptops. So different from a few years ago when there was practically a tv in every room.

  13. Kristin says:

    Household of 3 people; 2 TVs. The one in the family room is used the most, while the one in the master bedroom is mainly used to watch local news either first thing in the morning or right before bed.

  14. Angela says:

    We have two in our house. My mom never really got into the whole “watching shows online” thing, so I think an actual TV is going to be one of those “old habits die hard” things with us :D.
    .
    And despite the fact that I’m okay with watching things online, I still like watching shows on an actual TV as well. Heck, I still watch many of my favorite shows live as they air. I like being able to balance old and newer ways of watching various shows, and so long as networks and whatnot are still a thing, it’s a good way to show support for shows I enjoy.
    .
    (And yes, I know Nielsen ratings are the main thing networks look at, and I’m not part of a Nielsen family, but still, never hurts to show support regardless.)

  15. LK says:

    Why would anyone without a TV frequent a website like TVline?

    • Arabian says:

      Because almost everything on TV can also be watched online.

      • Imzadi says:

        But watching online doesn’t mean you can’t actually watch on TV. I’ve have my MediaPortal Mediacenter hooked to my Tv screen tv. Other than traveling I don’t watch shows on a tablet, laptop or phone.

    • Jamie says:

      I haven’t had a TV in years, but I’m still able to watch all my shows. And on my own timeline! Oh, the beauty of the 21st century.

  16. Because of my impaired hearing, and building noise level rules, I am rarely using it. I am using notebooks, IPad and Kindle instead with ear buds. (TV doesn’t have audio jack for earbuds.)

    • George says:

      I feel you buddy. There are wireless headsets that will work with your tv. They basically have a part that hooks up to the audio out on your tv and sends signal to the headset. You should look into it. I’m sure you’ll find it much more comfortable. Not to mention easier on your eyes.

      • JC1 says:

        Can you recommend any that don’t have issues with visual to audio lag? Most of the headset reviews I look at aren’t geared toward people that use them to watch TV, and so they don’t address the lag issue. But to me it’s distracting when what I’m hearing doesn’t match what I’m seeing onscreen.

  17. Katherine215 says:

    I live alone and have two TVs. My main one in my living room, and a small one for my kitchen so I can watch/listen to live sports while I cook. I watch everything on my main tv, even Netflix, because I can’t stand the smaller screens (and having to hold the tablet or phone while I”m watching – lazy!). And sometimes I like to use my phone or tablet while I’m watching tv.

  18. Ro says:

    I grew up with one TV and the UHF/VHF channel knobs. Oh… and we had to get up, go to the TV and push the on/off button to turn the TV on and off. Tough times.

  19. Cody Drennen says:

    I have 3 tvs, big one is in living room, one in master bed, and one in another bed. The one in the living room is the most used though.

  20. What would be more relevant to me is how many Americans are cutting their cable/satellite services in favor of streaming. I cut the cord a few months ago and so are many of my friends/family. I’m saving a huge amount of money per month and don’t feel like I’m missing anything.

  21. Alan says:

    3 tvs. I still prefer to watch my shows on a tv.. and a couch.

  22. Rayna says:

    To the 3.83% people who don’t have a TV, why are you on this site?

  23. MMD says:

    I have 3 tv’s in my house but only 1 gets used regularly. I also watch a lot of things on my laptop (17″ can’t imagine anything smaller).

    I grew up not being allowed to watch tv during the week. If homework was done, piano practiced, etc. well then read a book. As a result my favourite pastime in life is reading and I mean holding a hardcover. I love the feel and the smell. No kindle for me. Amazon/UPS deliveries are at least a couple times a week.

  24. Coop says:

    4 tvs: living room, 2 bedrooms and basement. If I’m watching multiple games at once, I’ll use my laptop and/or tablet. When the NCAA Tournament starts, I’ll bring an additional tv into the living room. :)

  25. Robin says:

    I grew up with one tv and I only have one tv now. I do watch stuff iPad, but I prefer seeing it on tv. Oh my parents have never owned a flat screen tv.; they still have a tv that’s over 20 years old.

  26. 2 person household and 2 tvs one in the living room ,one in the master bedroom.I have cable and watch my shows on a tv.My hubby prefers watching movies,playing video games or listening to music to watching tv but I’m a tv addict.I have cable cause I don’t to wait months and months for my shows to be on Netflix.

  27. Anna says:

    I’m a 20-something with student loans to pay off, so a tv has always been a luxury I haven’t been willing to shell out for. And why, when I can easily watch all the shows I like on my laptop?

  28. Shara says:

    I HATE to watch TV on my computer, I refuse to do it. Maybe I’m old. We’ve always had 2 TV’s and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

    • E. D. Boddy says:

      Yeah, I like to say I watch TV shows *on TV.* (Although I did watch things on my phone while in a waiting room.)

  29. DJ Doena says:

    I have a 55″ TV in my living room which I rarely ever use. I watch most of my stuff on my 27″ computer monitor while surfing most of the time. And in the bedtime hours I watch from the bed – again on the computer screen

  30. Billy Bob Johnson says:

    You’ll have to pry them from my cold, dead hands. I’m not a millennial, who doesn’t mind watching everything on their smartphones. I love my 55″ screen TV. Smaller ones in the kitchen and bedroom, too.

  31. Collette says:

    I need a big screen TV because I watch a lot of UK shows and some of the accents are incomprehensible so I use cc. That’s just not possible on a phone or tablet.

  32. joseph says:

    Just had a conversation about that this morning. I haven’t watched TV on a TV in 6, maybe 7, years. I haven’t owned a TV in eons.

  33. Soraya E. says:

    At the home I stay the most we have one TV, but no TV connection… so…

  34. E. D. Boddy says:

    For those without a TV… what’s all your furniture pointed at? :)