According to the latest stats from Pew Research Center, only 42% of Americans consider a television as a necessity. Just four years ago, the number was at 64%. Are you a part of the group that doesn’t consider it a must-have in your home?
I have my favorite shows that I watch and I love to have the TV on as background noise when I’m getting ready in the morning or even when I’m on the computer. But if it came down to it, advances in technology make it easier for me to say that I wouldn’t need a television.
Hulu or the networks’ sites make it easy to watch episodes of shows on-demand. You can pop a DVD into your laptop and watch it there. Why watch broadcast news when you can catch up on only the stories that interest you on a website? There are very few instances anymore where I think a television is necessary (the real benefit is for screen size, especially for watching movies).
Also on the decline is respondents’ need for landline telephones – down to 62% saying it was a necessity, a decrease of 6% from last year. I’m actually surprised it’s that high; I haven’t had a landline since I left home for college and almost everyone I know is cell phone-only. For better or worse, I think the culture now is heavily based on communicating with friends on social media sites or texting, instead of phone conversations. I know I’d rather get a to-the-point text from someone than a call! Also, services like Skype making it easier to connect to loved ones far away (with visuals!).
Most of these trends are more evident when you look at younger generations: only 29% of people 18-29 said a television set was a necessity and only 46% of the same group consider a landline phone a necessity. As technology and consumer behavior continue to evolve, what do you think the next revolution will be? We’ve accepted the fact that laptops would overtake traditional desktop PCs but it’s looking like tablets are going to quickly overtake netbooks, a hot segment just a year or so ago. Technology has changed the publishing industry; last month it was reported that Amazon.com is selling more e-books than hardcover books at a rate of 1.8 Kindle books for every hardcover book sold. I’m thinking that single-use electronics, like an mp3 player or small digital camera, might be next in line if mobile technology continues to advance to make our phones more capable of things like holding and playing music or taking quality pictures. I’m still calling my iPod a “necessity” for now.