A few decades ago, the TV was the undisputed hub of entertainment in virtually all US households. A new study from the government’s Energy Information Agency (EIA) shows that Americans own fewer TVs on average than they did just a few years ago. In fact, the number of households with no TVs has doubled since 2009. The agency blames it on — you guessed it — those darn kids and their smartphones.
This new survey was actually conducted in 2015 and asked 5,600 US residents how many TVs they had in their home. The EIA does this survey periodically because TV usage is a sizable component of energy usage in many homes (it’s estimated to be 6% of all energy usage). As the size of screens and resolution increases, so too does the amount of power they consume.
A set might be running for hours per day, possibly more than one of them if family members can’t come together and agree on what to watch. Interestingly, the number of homes with three or more TVs has increased every time the survey was done in 1997, 2001, 2005, and 2009. The newly released 2015 survey is the first time that metric has gone down. It was 44% in 2009 and just 39% in 2015.
In addition to the drop in homes with three or more TVs, the number of homes with only one or two televisions went up. That had been on a steady decline in all past surveys. This may indicate that people who used to have TVs in every room have downsized to only have one or two nicer TVs in common areas. Then there are homes with no TVs at all. That figure has been hovering around 1.3% in all previous years, but it jumped to 2.6% this time.