Monday, September 6, 2010

Televisions. So 20th century.

The Pew Research Center just published a survey of "luxuries" and "necessities". I still marvel at how small a minority I am. They listed the top 12 necessities, as reported in a telephone survey of 3000 adults. The list included a landline telephone (62%), microwave (45%), TV set (42%), and flatscreen TV (10%). The percentages refer to the number of people who consider these items a necessity. I don't own any of them, either on-island or on the mainland.

A car was considered the most essential (86%) necessity. However, of my five children, nephews and niece over age 20, none of them have a car or consider it a necessity.

A decade ago ago I had a TV, microwave and a landline. I don't miss them.

The New York Times write up is about the decline in interest in televisions, but also noted that 54% of Americans have three or more televisions; zero percent have zero televisions, according to Nielsen. I love being part of the zero minority.


  1. Ahhh, but you have a land line for your computer which provides your phone and your capacity to entertain yourself with video (on a flat panel) to your heart's content (see video on prior blog entry). You cannot consider yourself above the common man when you are merely ahead of him by technology terminology.

    Am I a television owner if my flat panel is connected to my computer on its way to my cable connection? And what constitutes a "necessity"?

    Chosing your entertainment directly from the internet without the use of network programming my well set you apart from 99% of Americans, however, I'll bet that 1% of Americans who own TV's never use them.

    City dwellers were never car owners, but were and are car users when departure from the city is required or desired.

  2. "Television" can be considered a piece of hardware (which may blend into computer-monitordom) or can be considered a push video technology, where programming is received at a fixed time determined by the broadcaster.

    While I freely confess that I have a computer monitor, I have no "TV", i.e. no over-the-air, cable, or sat dish programming, nor any large device (other than my 15" laptop) to watch such stuff. Does that make me "pure" or better: of course not.

    As far as the definition of necessities, see the original articles. How can any of these items be considered necessities, when most of these didn't exist for our grandparents, is perhaps another reflection on decadent American society. Somehow I always thought food, temperature-controlled housing, clean air, and good water were necessities, none of which were on the survey.

  3. Don't get me wrong, I truly applaud the simplification of life that comes from leaving the main land an hour behind and "snipping-the-cord" from gasoline stations, network TV, a phone that can ring. The appreciation gained from cutting the wood, that heats the stove, that warms the floor, that's under the house that jack built is an appreciation that we've lost as the years distance us from our grand parents by the passing years.