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Less Television in Online Homes 142

Shaheen writes "USA Today has an interesting report about how homes that have an Internet connection watch an average of %13 (about an hour) less television than other homes each day. You can read about it here. " What about those of us who forget to turn the TV off while we read our email? The scariest thing to me is that 13% is an hour. Who is watching 10 hours of TV a day?
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Less Television in Online Homes

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  • They (/.) article says "13% less (or about an hour)". You apparently interpreted this as "13% less" == "down to an hour now". I interpreted this to mean that "an hour" == "13%". So 100% would be 7.7 hours and the online homes, clocking in at 87% are watching 6.7. Makes more sense my way, I think.
    Put Hemos through English 101!
  • by Izaak ( 31329 ) on Tuesday July 20, 1999 @10:58AM (#1793612) Homepage Journal
    ... which brings up an interesting question. I have taken up video production as a hobby, and would like to build a non-linear video editing system around a Linux system. I need pointers toward a linux compatible video capture card, decent digital video camera, etc. I've submitted this question as an Ask SlashDot, but it was rejected. :-( I'm even willing to write software and release it as open-source if thats what it takes to build my studio around Linux, but I need some pointers to get started. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.


  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Tuesday July 20, 1999 @10:59AM (#1793613)
    Now ask yourself, if you were a TV producer, wouldn't you be interested in which shows people tuned into if they only tuned into one show? Who cares about people who change to a program just because the previous one went to a commercial break.

    You've just hit the nail squarely on the head. The Nielsen Group doesn't want a representative sample of all TV viewers - only the ones that advertisers can sell stuff to. People who watch TV for content aren't part of that group.

    More to the point - the purpose of the Neilsen ratings isn't to tell TV producers what they need to get the eyeballs of the die-hard fans who watch one or two programs religiously - it's to tell advertisers where their dollars will be best-spent. Better to ignore the Babylon 5 fanatic who makes $80K/year and ignores the advertising in order to get the family of four making $30K and spending all their disposable income on the crap that Bratleigh and Snotley see during the commercials (er, the 30-second ones between the 30-minute ones!) every Saturday morning.

    The TV viewer who changes channels when the commercials come on, or who only watches a few hours a week, is like the web surfer who turns off images and/or blocks banner ads. He or she who ignores the marketing is, perforce, not worth marketing to. By contrast, the people who sit, slack-jawed, through every commercial displayed, and who spend several hours a day doing it, regardless of whether the programming is worth watching or not, are a very sought-after market.

    What this has done to the quality of programming is left as an exercise to the reader. Which, of course, is why many of us have abandoned television for the 'net.

    Speaking of which - I loved being able to read a few articles about the 30th anniversary of the moon landing without having to sit through six hours of unending coverage about an inexperienced pilot [slashdot.org] who Darwinned himself out of the gene pool by being too stupid to trust his instruments instead of his vertigo-addled inner ears.

    But back to your Nielsen experience - it's clear that TV advertisers are just as happy to not have to put up with people like us as we are not to have to put up with people like them. They go where the money is, we go where the content is. 10 years ago, I'd have been worried about this - after all, where do you go for content once all media have been dumbed-down for the slack-jaw set? Thankfully, the answer is right in front of us - we just make and distribute our own damn content, and to hell with anyone who tries to get in our way.

  • I think about the best that can be done (cheaply) is a plain ol' TV card - then running the coax out from the VCR to the card's coax input.

    Now, for more money, you can probably get composite inputs (perhaps outputs as well, for recording the screen, or for a projector). Just get a deck without a tuner...

    The problem with having a "drive" is that the mechanical components won't fit in a normal size bay (open up you VCR to see what I mean). Now, what they might be able to do is an 8mm or VHS-C drive, but you can't get any movies in those formats (that I know of)...
  • This probably sounds like a blantant microsoft advocacy post, but they have tricked me into using their software claiming the betas are at no cost (theres actually a integrity cost).

    That new win98 second edition thing comes with 'internet connection sharing' which for all intents and purposes is IP masq with a dns server, although it wants to use the subnet w/ a netmask of but with some creative registry editing it can work for other configurations
  • While you might think that because of the huge amounts of money thrown at ad houses, I don't think that's true of watching while muted especially. Most commercial directors aren't good enough to get their message across without both spoken words and images. Those that are that good are a danger to humanity if they continue to work in advertising. :)
  • He was referring, I believe, to the power cable. If he doesn't watch TV, why would he throw money away on cable?

  • This is way OT, but James Burke already writes a Connections [sciam.com] column for Scientific American. Back issues and even the current issue are on the Web.
  • I think that only serves to suplement there "real" data colection, just to make sure there on the right track.

    They must have some sort of tech back there, beacuse there able to give companys *per minute* ratings on shows and other things, even local "news"
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • By my (albeit limited) observation, the people who use computers and Internet heavily tend to be more intelligent than average, and... quite frankly, television generally insults the public's intelligence.
  • In full context, we have:

    Wired homes watch an average of 13% less TV -- about one hour daily -- than others...

    The article further states:

    Gary Gabelhouse of Fairfield Research sees an information-hungry consumer evolving. The Lincoln, Neb., firm found TV viewing down from 4 1/2 hours daily in 1995 to about two hours in a June survey of 1,000 U.S. adults.

    Two hours, while not the same as 70 minutes, is closer than 7.7 minutes, which fits the statement Additionally, from a purely grammatical viewpoint, the first comment would normally be interpreted as being equivalent to "Wired homes watch an average of about one hour daily, or 13% less TV, than others..." Admittedly, none of this is as clear as it could be.

    Can anyone dig up the AOL/Nielsen study itself? That would eliminate any and all ambiguity.
  • I suppose that's not saying much for the Future of Our Country, is it?

    You forgot the little Trademark (TM) sign next the "Future of Our Country" phrase :) I'm sure that some U.S. Representative some where registered for his trademark already.
  • That could be read: 13% less than 1.14 hours = 1 hour. Anyway;

    I really haven't watched much TV at all since the early 80's - always feel like I'm being slyly programmed and subliminally manipulated by some evil psychologist planting subtle subconscious ideas against my will. I give a lot of attention to Old Time Radio [yesterdayusa.com] via RealAudio, some 70's Saturday Night [70ps.com] (too much disco, actually, bletch), reading Linux Journal (on dead trees) or old magazines.

  • you can, even with just one phone line (although you'd need two computers). it would suck for downloads, but two web surfers on a 56k shouldn't be to bad.

    the you and your husband can have Cyber-sex! :P
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • Do they even use canned (prerecorded) laughter on sitcoms any more? I thought all current sitcoms are taped in front of a studio audience, and so the laughter is real.

    Or are you still watching "Bewitched" and "M.A.S.H."?
  • Frankly, I'm kind of surprised that it's not MORE than 13%. I know that personally, I'd rather read web pages and learn things than watch TV, usually. I used to really like PBS, Discovery Channel, and TLC, but lately the latter two have been showing "TRAUMA! LIFE IN THE ER" about fifteen times a day, along with "wedding" and "baby story". And the PBS station here is mostly kids' programming and only has interesting science-y stuff 2 or 3 times a week.
    Why would I put up with having to follow someone else's schedule when I can find all the information I would get from TV and more whenever I want it?
    Yay, fast connections!
  • by InstantCool ( 19982 ) on Tuesday July 20, 1999 @10:19AM (#1793629) Homepage
    Who is watching 10 hours of TV a day?

    Sounds like a Slashdot Poll to me.

  • Makes me wonder if that is total man-time (24 hours for each person) - if so my rating at home would be considerably lowered since I got unlimited access, since I watch maybe 5 hours a week
  • If there are 2-3 persons in a house, all of whom watch a couple hours of TV a day -- counting morning shows, evening news, prime time, late night talk, VH-1 while cleaning, etc., etc. -- you can easily get to 8 person-hours of TV per day. (Two people watching TV for one hour = two "person-hours.")

    13% of eight person-hours is "about an hour."

  • Well, I believe they're talking about how much television is watched in the home...Which, in a family of five (like mine) would average 2 hours each. And I know lots of people who watch 2 hours of tv a day.
  • Why would I put up with having to follow someone else's schedule when I can find all the information I would get from TV and more whenever I want it?

    Because the average viewer likes the feeling of his/her brain turning into mush.

  • by Doug Loss ( 3517 ) on Tuesday July 20, 1999 @10:23AM (#1793635)

    If 13% is about an hour, 100% is about 8 hours, not ten.

    Doug Loss

  • One possibility is that they watch less news on TV, using the Web to get their news instead. Also, on the Web, I can pick and choose which stories to read rather than watching/listening to a linear broadcast. I almost never watch the news anymore, except sometimes in the morning. I also haven't received the newspaper in many years.
  • "Who is watching 10 hours of TV a day?"

    Who is on the internet 24 hours a day ;)
  • Interesting thing is, is that the laugh tracks were put in to make the TV viewing experience more /human/. It seems that noone would laugh at tv shows unless people were laughing with them. Shows that have not used a laugh track have almost all perished because noone could find them funny.

    It seems that most people need someone to laugh with them.

    Oh well... i like the net better anyway... tv entertainment pretty much gears towards the lowest common denominator. The shows offer no real life situations, real value, or challenge people to think in any way.

    They also serve to promote the "right" issues. Don't have sex, dont use drugs, smoking is bad, act like everyone else, and you'll be popular.

    Like we need more robots around here.

    Reminds me of a local newspaper article that asked kids what the most important thing they learned in school was this year, and one of them said that, knowing how to say NO to Drugs was the most important thing that they learned.

    Really? Reading, basic math, Science, Real History, all took a back seat to the Anti-Drug message. There's your tax dollars at work!

  • Seems to me that the reason households with the internet watch less television has more to do with affluency and education of the household's members, rather than the fact that they have the internet. People with higher education and high incomes tend to watch less television than the rest of the public--and are also more likely to have access to the internet at home.

  • by cpeterso ( 19082 ) on Tuesday July 20, 1999 @11:32AM (#1793640) Homepage
    If the decrease in viewing time of 13% is 1 hour, then 1 hour / 0.13 = ~7.69 hours total. That is, 13% of 8 hours is 1.04 hours.

  • It's true that TV news shows tend to speak to a 'lowest common denominator' sort of audience. From their perspective, the more people there are who can understand what they say, the more people will watch their news show. I would think that the loss of viewers at the high end of the scale (i.e., people insulted by the low content level) is probably far outweighed by the gain of viewers in the lower levels.

    In a similar vein, I think that news shows are becoming more and more entertainment-oriented and less informational. Shows like "Hard Copy" have already crossed the line; I hardly count them as 'news shows'. Again, it seems to be a ploy by the networks to attract more viewers, by presenting what they think will be a more enjoyable broadcast. This is also responsible for the high number of 'local interest' news stories, like "Child Athlete of the Week" or somesuch.

    Is this because more people are turning to other sources for their news? Possibly. Personally I find 20 minutes of NPR on the way to work in the morning to be significantly more informative than watching the morning news. Otherwise, if I want headlines, I can find the wire services on several web sites which will also offer basic (or sometimes detailed) analysis. If I want sports news, I can turn to ESPN or their web site. NWS weather is available on many different web sites, usually in more detail than a 20-second weather forecast. It seems that perhaps network television (and newspapers) is becoming outdated as a source of 'hard' news. The only interesting information left for local news shows to cover is local news, which is only of interest to the community.

    Alas, television is still the most commonly available source of information that can be updated instantly, and therefore it remains important. However, we are rapidly reaching the point where as many people have televisions as have Internet connections. I suggest that once we reach that point -- or even before! -- the need for news shows on television drops to near zero.

    As I think I've made clear here, anything that you can get from a television news broadcast, you can get on the web, and usually in a more timely fashion. Network television needs to stop trying to do everything, because they do it all, but they do it all poorly. Stop broadcasting news, because there are plenty of other, better sources. Instead, let's try paying network executives to come up with some actual entertainment.
  • by Jburkholder ( 28127 ) on Tuesday July 20, 1999 @11:38AM (#1793643)
    No, I read it this way:

    Wired homes watch an hour a day, which is 13% less than non-wired homes.

    "Wired homes watch an average of 13% less TV -- about one hour daily -- than others, says the study"

    So... (dusts off calculator) one hour a day being 87% of the 'others' total viewing,

    (lessee 60/x = (100-13)/100 ... x = 68.96 minutes)

    an hour a day is 13% less than 70 minutes a day?
    I find that a lot easier to swallow than people are watching 8-10 hours of tv a day on average!

  • Me being the avid internet user I am, can honestly say I watch virtually NO television. The only show I watch is Frasier, and I catch 2 back to back episodes every weekday morning. THe rest of the time, I'm on the internet or at work. It's not that I have no time for TV, it's just that I direct my time to other activities. Television is, and never has been an important factor in my life (Unlike my mother who goes ballistic if she misses her soap operas), and I'm happy it's not. People say "did you see X last night?" or "I missed X the other day, did you happen to catch it?" And when I tell them "I don't watch TV" they look at me as if to say "Well, What do you watch?"

    Oh well. :)

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • From your response, it's hard to tell whether you had trouble with the math, the reading, or the writing. Doug's message looked fine to me, and argues the same point you yourself argue later as "Try again". Alongside it, your post seems a bit of a non sequitur. So, what's up?
  • It should boost the value of on-line advertising
    if the Advertising Agencies take this to heart.
    Should make it easier to turn a profit out of
    your site just using ads...the study is probably
    a good thing.
  • I feel the same way, friend. I feel the same way.
  • I still have the TV on for a good amount of the day, but it rarely has my full attention. I usually am on the computer and the TV is on in the backround. I usually have it on The Discovery/TLC/A&E/History Channels, along with ZDTV. I also use it to watch movies, since the selection for DVD is still very limited. My N64 is also on it, and since I have friends over almost every day I play alot of Goldeneye and Smash Brothers. While it isnt as intellectually stimulating as programming on my computer, what is more fun than watching an episode of The Simpsons, seeing Monty Python's The Holy Grail, or uppercutting Donkey Kong with Yoshi?
  • by John Campbell ( 559 ) on Tuesday July 20, 1999 @11:44AM (#1793649) Homepage

    lynn:~$ less television

    television: No such file or directory

    lynn:~$ _

    Methinks I need to get out more...
  • Television is a one-way hypnosis machine turning out nation into yuppie zombies. Television shows are just a way get people to watch commercials. The medium is owned by advertisers, looking out for their best interests, not your kids'. Check out Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television for elaboration.

    Commercials and Advertisements are only for unnecessary items. If you need the item, you would go out and find it. Advertisers must create an artificial desire or need for something that you have no need for. Do you see more TV commercials for Coke or for water? You need water to live, you don't need Coke to live. Do you see more TV commercials for Doublemint gum or for vegetables? You need vegetables to live, you don't need Doublemint gum to live.
  • nononono

    It's the thing you watch DVD's on


    I watch an hour or so a week - usually the X-Files or to surf around before I get bored and do something else.
  • And when I tell them "I don't watch TV" they look at me as if to say "Well, What do you watch?"

    You should see the what happens when you tell them you don't own one. It's like you told them you're dying of cancer "well we have an old one we don't use anymore, you could maybe use that..." I have had people give me this reaction almost verbatim. If I told them I didn't have money for food what would they do? Probably shrug, act embarassed and change the topic of conversation. God Bless America.
  • Evidently you've spent no time on IRC.

    Using computers and the net doesn't make you any more intelligent unfortunately. Someone who spends 12 hours a day in IRC and Quake isn't someone I'd rate higher than a TLC/History Channel junkie.

    The tool makes no difference. It's what you use it for.
  • Nothing wrong with TV as a hardware device, other than being a little low res. I find them very useful for watching movies occasionally.

    So I would recommend tossing the antenna and the cable connection and all that miserable content they provide -- and keeping the TV.

  • A few points...

    - I can listen to CDs while I'm online. I can't listen to CDs while I'm watching TV. I'm very passionate about my music.

    - ... but that's kind of a moot point, since I don't have a TV. I'm vaguely thinking about getting a tuner card, though... the line between being online and dealing with passive media is starting to get fuzzier. As it is, I hardly ever listen to true radio, but I do regularly listen to RealAudio broadcasts.

    - Lots of people have already made this point, but 8 hours of TV watched per home, with an average of 2.5 people/home (guess) is somewhat over 3 hours per person. I'd buy that.

  • What about us dual-tasking TV/Net users? I think I watch *more* TV because I need to have it on as background noise. My computer usually receives 90%, while TV receives 10%.

    Perhaps the survey needs to measure the attention percentages between both mediums..
  • My friend works for KPFK, a public news radio station in LA. I hung out at their station last week and I actually wrote a few of their on-air stories! :-) They asked me to just rewrite some Reuters stories that came off the wire. I was supposed to rewrite every sentence so it was simply: . We couldn't assume the audience could follow anything more complicated. (BTW, the Reuters writers must be really rushed because their writing SUX.)
  • I find them very useful for watching movies occasionally.

    I bought an old commie-64 monitor for $50 a while back. It has a composite video in jack (RCA cable from the VCR). So I can watch movies without a television. Once I get my TV card working in Linux, I can ditch the commie monitor.
  • Wired homes watch an average of 13% less TV -- about one hour daily -- than others, says the study, commissioned by America Online.

    To me, at first, that meant that Wired homes watch 1 hour of television. Non-wired homes on average watch 13% more? Sure, that's 68 minutes of TV instead of 60, but it makes a bit more sense to me. :) (or not)

  • Posted by Lord Kano-The Gangst:

    Check your math Rob.

    1 hour being 13% of the daily tv watched in a home, means that 7.6923076923 hours of TV is watched in that home per day.

    With my job I get hom from work at between 6:30-7:30 pm, I turn the TV on when I get home and turn it off when I go to sleep at approximately 2:00am. That's 7 hours and 30 minutes of the TV being on, granted I only watch 2-3 hours actively, but the TV is on for that time.

    That's not unrealistic.

  • Accually the reason that the 6th grade reading level is used is that with english you don't really gain anything with higher levels. By 6th grade you can read. Granted you couldn't read a medical text book intended for grad students, but then again those students can't understand computer text books like I can. A lawyer deals with complex language all day, but he can't read either the above, and neither the med student nor I can deal with legalise. (I can wade through it and figgure out, but it isn't easy)

    Byond 6th grade you specialise as needed. Your vocabulary is good enough that you can read.

    Interestly enough, in Japan the news appers are written at the 9th grade level, and despite the 20 hour a day study habbits less japanise are equiped to handle newspapers. This is not becuase the japanise are stupid, but because the written language there is so much more difficult.

  • Even though they're taped before a live audience, they're still laugh-tracked. It's just added in post production or played right there in the studio.

    It's hard to find enough people to laugh in front of some current shows.
  • by Jburkholder ( 28127 ) on Tuesday July 20, 1999 @12:09PM (#1793667)
    >I hope this clears things up for you

    Heh, not in the least. You are going by Rob's synopsis of the article, and not what the article actually said, for one.

    >From this we know that there is a 13% decrease in viewing time, and that this 13% decrease is equal to 1h.

    Nope, the wired family watches an hour a day, which is 13% less than everyone else.

    At least that's the way I read the article.
  • There are various proxy apps for Windows now, ones that can use either a dialup connection or a second net card (i.e. ADSL, cable modem, etc.) Sygate [sygate.com] is a good example. I don't particularly recommend it, I just use it and it works fine.

    I've known about remote host for a while, and I don't find it to be a particularly good solution for me. Quake doesn't run nearly as well :)

    But yes, if it's just web browsing/mail, that's fine. You could use Unix or Windows (with an X server, there are free ones here and there) on the second PC.

    Windows CAN do this, try X-WinPRO for example. It works beautifully. No offense, but that was just plain bad research.
  • (just kidding ;-)

    True, just because we do not need computers or the Internet does not make them bad. We just don't need them to physically survive. That is why we see advertisements for them. That was my main point. The difference between a TV and Web advertising is tricky. Yahoo does exist to show us banner ads or to help us search the web? Both, but whether Yahoo's services are better or more useful than TV's "services" is probably a personal value judgment. I find the Web is more educational and mentally engaging than TV, and and physically less hypnotic.

    Here's the raw URL. Slashdot seems to be eating embedded HREFs.

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/068808274 2/o/qid=932502842/sr=8-1/002-4863845-62408 34

    BTW, I never said drugs were bad. ;-)
  • We have an old (17 years!) RCA color set that probably wouldn't ever get turned on if it wasn't for our rugrats... thank God for PBS's Children's Programming. I haven't watched Prime Time TV since... since...oh, yah! Netscape 1.0... ;-) Commercial TV is utter twaddle...
  • I recall learning in TV production class that the Nielsen uses two methods to measure ratings. One group of homes gets a box that tells how long the TV has been turned on, and another group fills out the survey saying what they watched and when. These two measures are combined to give the ratings numbers.
  • However, we are rapidly reaching the point where as many people have televisions as have Internet connections...

    I don't think this is accurate. I believe more homes have TV's than have telephones. (I saw something somewhere that said 96% of homes have phone service and 97% have a television, or something like that.)
  • If you thought the vegetarians were fun, just wait until you meet the TV-phobes.

    I know quite a few vegetarians. They arn't weirdos or anything, at least not the ones I know. Personally, however, I would never be able to be one.

    Anyway, I don't watch much TV. I'd rather be...

    • sleeping
    • eating
    • skiing
    • on the net
    I used to watch Trek, until DS9 ended, now the only TV I watch is when I catch Seaquest or B5, or the weather channel to see if that snowstorm is going to hit so I can go skiing.

    And doesn't "TV-phobe" imply a fear of TV? I don't fear TV, I just find little reason to watch it.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I mean, really. Who actually gives a damn about those soap opera lives, the dramatic story telling of the nightly newscaster, or `The Funniest Hurricane Attacks Part Three'? It's all really mindless drivel, made for those who drivel mindlessly.
    When I moved away from home, I made it a point to move in with people who didn't own a television, and who didn't want to. It was very nice. On evenings with friends, we would talk around a good Led Zeppelin CD instead of gaping at a box of lights. I learned so much about those people. I think they are some of the best friends I have made, and they know me better than my own family.
    Then, when I moved again, the apartments had free cable hookup, and most of the roommates had their own TV. This was very annoying. With it on all the time, it was all I could do to remember their names, much less learn anything about them. The semester ended, they went to a new place, I went to a new place (in the same free-cable complex), and I've never spoken to any of them since.
    During this summer semester, the same thing is happening. This time, however, I have a person in my room who owns a television. It's programmable, so he has it set to go off at eight every morning. I dread the weekends now, because (using this last one as an example) I wake up to a journalist trying to be all dramatic and informative about a man I never personally knew, and about an accident I didn't particularly care to hear about. Of course, sometimes it's the Home Shopping Network selling things to hapless buyers across the country, but more often than not, it's the "news".
    I don't know why I'm against television in such a bad way. Maybe it's because I read Farenheight 451. That book really wakes you up, especially the part about the television going blank, and all the lady had to stare at was her own blank, ruined reflection in the vast emptiness of her world. I don't remember it exactly, but it sent chills down my spine.
    And now I'm off to endure the torments of my television afflicted roommates, while I try to concentrate on a good book.


    iad (the man who 'misplaced' his password, again...)
  • I haven't even turned on my TV in over 3 months. I'm not even sure if the cable's plugged in. I don't use the VCR cause I have a DVD-ROM drive. I can get my news through cnn.com and slashdot, and most shows these days suck. Sifl N Olly isn't airing any new episodes, and the new Simpsons suck. The only TV I've actually watched recently is one episode of Futurama on the TV at the hotel in Vegas during DefCon.
  • Amazingly, not less than 2 minutes after I wrote my comment, a co-worker asked me "Do you watch Save by the Bell?" And of course, I told him "I don't watch TV." Needless to say, I received "The Look." Absolutely Incredible.

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • I have not really watched any TV in about 2.5 years. Once in a while I catch a Futurama or When Crazed Chickens Attack but I find my time is better spent coding, chatting with others or reading something. Even reading fiction is better than watching it. At least you have to excercise your brain a bit.
  • The phrase should be "Television is the opiate of the masses." I gave up on TV in the 80's. I keep track of news via CNN Headline News (when I have cable) or the net (the rest of the time).
    Seriously, who cares? S*itcoms are pandered to the lowest of mental classes. The overworked woman-in-distress movie gets the female part in. Guys (in theory) watch Sports. (Granted, I gave up Monday Night Football years ago.) At least we have the net, where we can interact in places.
  • From the hourse's mouth [aol.com]:

    The new study indicates that households with Internet access
    watch, on average, 13% less television than those households that
    are not online. That works out to an estimated 32 hours less of
    television viewing monthly per household.

    So, yes, it is one hour less per day.

  • Saying you don't have a TV set is also a good way of getting rid of pesky people trying to sell you Cable TV (door to door or on the phone).

    My only TV set right now is a little one with a 2-1/2" Active Matrix LCD display. (there's also a 19" black and white portable wrapped in plastic out in the garage, though) I call it "The TV set built into a remote control." Still, it would be fun to have a cable TV installer come out and plug a set top box into it. The set would sit on top of the box.
  • And that would boost the distraction-value (and the bandwidth consumption) of on-line advertising. No thanks.
  • Nope... here [aol.com]'s a clearer version.

    The new study indicates that households with Internet access
    watch, on average, 13% less television than those households that
    are not online. That works out to an estimated 32 hours less of
    television viewing monthly per household.

  • This is my question as well. I have seen this statistic before (briefly did intranet work for a market research company that was doing a fair amount of research on internet users), but it was never expressed in the context of "before" and "after". That is, they had stats showing that net users watched less TV than genpop (general population), but they couldn't demonstrate that they were watching less TV after starting to use the net.

    It could be that there is a skew resulting from income and education level among net users. Busy professionals who do not have time to watch Seinfeld reruns possibly find it more convenient to get information from the net. It could also be that there are TV people and there are net people, regardless of education or income.

    Personally, I am glued to net, print and TV about equally during my waking hours.
  • by cpeterso ( 19082 ) on Tuesday July 20, 1999 @12:28PM (#1793686) Homepage
    Jakob Nielsen has a great column about web usability. He has a number of convincing arguments that web ads do not work. Check out Why Advertising Doesn't Work on the Web [useit.com] and Web Research: Believe the Data [useit.com].
    • eye-tracking studies find that users never even see the ads
    • click-through rates dropping from 2% to 0.5% in a few years
    • sales data from many sites showing that they usually don't sell a lot to those few users who do click through - paying customers usually arrive in other ways

  • Who could watch 7.69 hours of TV per day?!? Now maybe I could be online that long, but to watch a non-interactive set top box?!? The web offers so many benefits over TV and everybody I know who has Internet access (which is about everybody I know) watches almost no TV or TV == null.

    That's my 1/50 of $1.00 US
    The GNU is coming, are you ready?

    That's my 1/50 of $1.00 US
    Big Brother is watching, vote Libertarian!!
  • We moved about a month ago, and have not even bothered getting our TV reconnected with cable yet, and probably wont for awhile. We just don't watch it enough, particularly during the summer... all repeats of ST:VOY, and no more ST:DS9... the series on the SF channel arent bad... but that's really it. I get weather, news and everything else I need online. And I don't even have a cable modem or DSL connection! ;)

    Long life the NET!

  • by schon ( 31600 )
    Go to comp.sys.amiga.marketplace, find someone selling a Video Toaster/Flyer, and be done with it..

    This is the best NLE you're going to find for the money.. consumer-level PC stuff just doesn't cut it (unless all you're going to do is editing footage of your Kid's little league games.)

    If you want to be a video hacker, then use Linux, if you want to be a videographer, use something else; someone has already invented that wheel.
  • My girlfriend moved out and took the TV two months ago.

    I might be driving down the average.
  • "It says here that "religion is the opiate of the masses". What do you suppose that means?"

    "It means that Karl Marx hadn't seen anything yet."

  • Amazingly, not less than 2 minutes after I wrote my comment, a co-worker asked me "Do you watch Save by the Bell?" And of course, I told him "I don't watch TV." Needless to say, I received "The Look." Absolutely Incredible.

    I get the same look. Mind you, saying "I don't watch TV" to your workmates maybe seems a little odder when you work for a TV station, like I do. :-)

    Nah, one or two rented videos a week, and maybe one movie at the cinema, that's enough to satiate my passive entertainment desires..

  • Well, I can't argue with that, I guess. Man that thing was worded totally bass-ackwards.

    Thank you for clearing that up.
  • ...spread between Mom, Dad, and their 2.4 children. At least, that's my guess. The Neilson ratings are funny that way.
  • by Arandir ( 19206 ) on Tuesday July 20, 1999 @10:26AM (#1793698) Homepage Journal
    Those folks watching 10 hours of TV a day are the Nielson Homes. For those that don't know, Nielson does the TV ratings. Not just anybody can get a Nielson box to put on top of their set. You have to be a TV junky to get one. It's the average Nielson Home that has the TV one ten hours a day. Half of them have it on longer!

    I was once part of the Nielson "family" for about a week. They kicked me out of the program since I wasn't the "typical television viewer". (Anyone who's ever studied statistics reread that last sentence :-) ) I only watched about six hours of TV a week, so it wasn't enough for them. (About as stupid as Gallop cutting their poll short when they found out I was writing in "none of the above")

    Now ask yourself, if you were a TV producer, wouldn't you be interested in which shows people tuned into if they only tuned into one show? Who cares about people who change to a program just because the previous one went to a commercial break.

    I no longer own a TV. I suddenly realized that I hadn't turned the thing on in six weeks, so I sold it.
  • Yeah seriously. A report like this does not surprise me. Sometimes I don't watch tv at all during a day. And the only things I do watch are 120 Minutes, some cartoons here and there, and some other stuff when I'm bored.
    On another note, yes, I can say I know people who watch 10 hours of tv a day : ) Most of them are my age (high school kids), so I suppose that's not saying much for the Future of Our Country, is it?

  • turning on TV and doing something else is not really watching TV to me.

    if you want to reduce your "watching" time just do like me : put the TV set in another room and buyb no tuner card or by one not usable under linux (like me)

    well... music is better than junk shows on TV :-)
  • This doesn't surprise me at all really. Before I went to college, I watched tons of TV and only used my parents computer to program an hour or so a day. Once in college, I only turned the TV on for certain good shows (Simpsons, Homicide, Charlie Rose, etc) but I was on my personal computer all the time. Now, I usually have the TV on behind me while I'm on my computer so I have something to listen to. How would that rate on the poll? I'm not really watching the TV but it's on.
  • What does this say about TV news? I think that it's a waste of time. I can spend 5 minutes on the web and get more news than in an entire 1 hour news program. Same thing goes for newspapers.

    My wife and I watch 2 or three hours of TV a night. We watch while making and eating dinner, maybe a primetime show, and M*A*S*H in bed. We do not get our news from television. I'd rather spend some time online than wait for the news to give me something interesting.

  • What interesting stuff is there on TV, anyway? I haven't felt the urge to own a TV for more than 15 years, and I can't say I feel I am missing something essential nor does anyone else in the family.

    However, I spend hours on the net every day, and so do my wife and kids. More power to the people! We can make our own programming, and mostly prefer information over 'shows'.

    For movies we go to the big screen and pay a few bucks.
  • Of course, it does remain that for all the trash talk about net junkies having no life, at least they have some semblance of a life on IRC, /., usenet, etc. When you're sitting in front of the TV for ten hours a day, you don't even have that much human contact. Net junkies interact. Boob tubers don't. When you've seen the same Geiko commercial a dozen times in an hour and the same shows on Discovery/History Channel/A & E that were on last year, or the year before that, or the year before that ...., and the other new programming is mindless drivel, your mind seeks an escape to something less difficult than being productive but more stimulating than the jello-mold-cum-TV set. I think that's why so many people are delving into linux...they are sick of the same old stuff and want to try something a little more interesting. Welcome to the net. Here you don't have to watch rip-fests! Here you can join in them ;)

    Who am I?
    Why am here?
    Where is the chocolate?
  • Televison News.


    I hadn't seeen any television for about six months and then I watched some night time news show. It was some national news show, I couldn't even tell you what it was. I felt like a 12 year old, at least that seemed to me to be their target audience's education level. I was mesmerized by just how awful the news was. Also how biased and useless the content was. Does it surprise anyone that the lexical analysis of TV news shows it having a content at about the sixth grade level? Ughh.

    Now I get most of my news from The BBC and various others. I certainly can't depend on the local paper's (very heavily influenced by local business interests[not in a good way]), both of which are owned by the same company. I haven't had a television for about six years now. I really do feel it's good to throw the old telly out the window, kinda like giving yourself a mental enema.
  • I think that question was pretty much covered whed we did the poll about work weeks. I'm never both home and awake for 10 hours each day.

    Gimme a break. 10 hours?!? I'd love that sort of hack time at home.
  • On that note I would agree. However, try spending time with the tv junkies who cannot figure out how to work the whole IRC/chat thing. ir will make you feel stupid...

    As for TV insulting the intelligence of the people... ask an average American viewer how insulted he feels. Chances are the TV is playing right to his IQ not insulting him...
  • by alkali ( 28338 ) on Tuesday July 20, 1999 @12:55PM (#1793708)
    That's funny, I haven't owned a TV in [BIGNUM] years... There's nothing on TV except [favorite show]... I personally prefer to spend my time engaged in [favorite activity]... It's disgusting that people watch TV when they could be [favorite activity]... When I tell people I don't watch TV, they [express shock, throw fish, etc.]... How tragic that others fail to see how wrong they are and cannot be as [intellectual, life-affirming, socially daring] as I am.

    If you thought the vegetarians were fun, just wait until you meet the TV-phobes.

    True confession: Sometimes I like to drink and smoke while eating deep-fried meat in front of the television.

  • Yes, I believe many are misunderstanding this sentence. the "about one hour daily" is referring to the amount that is 13% not the total tv per day. If it were the total tv per day the sentence would read: "Wired homes watch an average of 13% less TV than others, about one hour daily, says the study, commissioned by America Online."

    now the "one hour daily" refers to the total viewing time, not the less time.

  • The fact that you do not "need" something in order to live does not mean that it is bad or that wanting it is wrong. To physically stay alive, you certainly do not need an Internet connection, a computer, or even a high school education. Also, by your argument any website with advertising is evil (and apparently equivalent to drugs) since from the advertiser's perspective it is "just a way to get people to look at banner ads."

    By the way, the link doesn't work.

  • I`m trying to remember whether or not I have a TV at home....

    Yeah. There`s one we use for an anchor for the sail boat. :)
  • >This is not what the article states. Quoting verbatim:

    >Wired homes watch an average of 13% less TV -- about one hour daily -- than others, says the study, commissioned by America Online

    Bullshit. That's exactly what that says. I admit that its worded kinda wierd. Wired homes watch about one hour daily, 13% less than others - would have made more sense.

    Not, Wired homes watch one hour less tv per day than others, 13% less. Makes no sense.

    Only way to know for sure would be to look at the actual study. Anyone have a link?

  • The pseudo-news crap like HardCopy, Dateline NBC etc. have to be about the most annoying shows on television to me these days.

    C'mon! They're always good for a laugh. Their absurd brand of humor is at least as good as the Onion or Segfault.

    Wait -- you're saying they're expecting me to take them seriously? Sorry, I'm not falling for that one, buddy.
  • It's probably true in general for network stations that programming is oriented toward the LCD. Less so for some of the more fringey cable stations which are more likely to target specific audiences. If you're looking for it, higher quality topical information can sometimes be found.

    The pseudo-news crap like HardCopy, Dateline NBC etc. have to be about the most annoying shows on television to me these days. Guaranteed to trigger an instant channel switch when one of those comes on. The false drama in those programs is pretty sickening, and is often exploitative.

    I agree that there are many good news sources, for me the television is rarely where I learn things first. Reading the local newspaper every day has been a touchstone for me since I was little, and is still my most consistent source of world news. I listen to a local AM radio news station for about half an hour each morning getting ready for work. The rest gets filled in by the net and the TV I guess.

    I'm not sure if the trend of TV toward entertainment is all bad. I think it was John Laroquette who really didn't like TV, felt that it was very poorly suited for serious topics and that the best it could really provide was a smile or a laugh.

    For me, the television is on most of the time that I am at home on weeknights. However, the television is not the focus of my activity, it's something there in the background while I work on my computer or work on other things. The only programming that ever gets my full attention is a live sporting event involving a team that I care about a lot. (Read: Broncos Games :) Even then it's hard to just sit still and watch - likely to get sidetracked when a commercial comes on.

    I pay $43 a month for cable service and use at most about five or six of the available stations. My TV is generally on HBO or a sporting event, possibly a network comedy.

    As far as I'm concerned, there is one thing that seriously needs to be done, and that is to divorce the cable wire from the content passed over it. I never liked the AOL sort of model where the connectivity and the content are provided by a single monolithic provider. The exclusive rights to provide content over their wires was given to the cable companies as part of their monopoly status necessary to get the infrastructure built.
    With cable being deregulated and opening up to other avenues of making money from the infrastructure, I think it is well past time to eliminate the monopoly on content provided through cable television. Let me buy my information access by the piece. If I had the ability to tailor the content coming into my TV rather than being forced to swallow (and subsidize) the same least common denominator of pablum as everybody else, the TV might get more of my interest. The cable company can charge me for the line capacity, and even make money as a middleman for content providers as far as I care... just let ME choose what I am buying.

  • Does a VHS drive for computers exist? That coupled with a TV card for antenna and an FM card for radio should get rid of the need for the clunkers anyways - and let you take screen shots.
  • Sifl N Olly is still on? WHEN? WHERE?

    I haven't seen it since last summer!

    *pants expectingly*
  • Go to comp.sys.amiga.marketplace, find someone selling a Video Toaster/Flyer, and be done with it..

    Good advice I am sure. I've been a fan of the video toaster for years. And yes, I am probably reinventing the wheel by using linux to do something that has already been done on other systems... but that is kind of my point. I would like to make a killer video editing setup on Linux exactly because it appears to be unexplored territory. Linux has been successful at the number crunching side of some amazing movie affects... why not the visual side? It seems the only thing lacking is a specialized video card, and I would be very suprised if something suitable has not been created. I just have not yet discovered it. My only hope is that the hardware is accessible via an open API of some sort. It is very important to me that I can *lift the hood* on my editing system and customize the software.

    Still hoping for some more hardware pointers...


  • Hmmmm... I wonder if all those silly scare stories in the TV news might be inspired by numbers like these. The TV networks must have known about this long before anyone made the results public.


  • In a similar vein, I think that news shows are becoming more and more entertainment-oriented and less informational. Shows like "Hard Copy" have already crossed the line; I hardly count them as 'news shows'. Again, it seems to be a ploy by the networks to attract more viewers, by presenting what they think will be a more enjoyable broadcast. This is also responsible for the high number of 'local interest' news stories, like "Child Athlete of the Week" or somesuch.

    Once upon a time, TV newscasts showed us things that the networks thought we should hear about. (Granted, their opinions on this weren't always entirely unbiased.) Now, TV newscasts tend to show us things that the networks think we want to hear about.

    It's the path of least resistance. The same thing has happened to the movies -- sequels and remakes galore, and fewer original storylines.

    Heck, it's even happened to dictionaries. Dictionaries used to be prescriptive -- they told you how words should be used. Many current dictionaries are now descriptive -- they tell you how most people are using the words these days (no matter how bizarre said usage may be). "Hey, if most people think that 'impact' is a verb, far be it from us to tell them that they're wrong."

    I don't know if there's any way to change any of this. Probably not. Perhaps someday there will be only one news story, and it will be covered 24 hours a day on every channel. Everyone will find this story irresistably compelling. Legions of people will spend their entire lives glued to their screens, unable to summon the will to do anything else. Aieee.....
  • Even adding together the viewing time of all three people in my household, we would still fall far short of 10 hours in a WEEK. There is way too much fun stuff to do that does not involve a TV set, particularly in the summer.


  • Just passed this to my wife, and she says 8-10 hours is about right for her, while she does other things around the house.
    Christopher A. Bohn
  • by fable2112 ( 46114 ) on Wednesday July 21, 1999 @02:59AM (#1793741) Homepage


    And if you think that's fun, try having to read them for classes. (Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death etc.)

    I'm not a huge fan of the "idiot box" and I also don't eat a whole lot of meat, don't smoke, etc. But that's my thing, that's MY moral code, and I wouldn't impose it on anyone else (except perhaps whatever spouse and children I may or may not end up with).

    Besides, I've got my stumbling-blocks, like net-addiction, and caffeine, and chocolate, and spending too darn much money on Starbucks. ;)

    TV isn't pure evil any more than the net is all-porn-and-hate-speech, all-the-time. The problem is that, like with so many things, the tripe dominates and the good stuff gets pushed aside.

    I didn't have cable until college. I was grateful for being able to veg out in front of *gasp* MTV the semester I broke my leg and wasn't going out much for obvious reasons. (Though I *did* hobble up to the weekly open-mic coffeehouse.) Later, I discovered the Sci-Fi channel and specifically Ray Bradbury Theater.

    But as a kid, I watched: Sesame Street and lots of other PBS shows (any other Square One junkies out there?), the news, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, occasionally certain series (The Wonder Years and I'll Fly Away come to mind) when I happened to be home, and VERY occasionally Saturday morning cartoons on the RARE Saturday mornings I didn't have art classes, swim meets, etc.

    If any single activity is sucking up all your time, there's a problem. And I don't care if it's TV, the Net, good old-fashioned reading, the SCA (guilty!), AD&D or some other roleplaying game, exercising, or working ridiculous amounts of overtime. Or anything else. And TV is particularly problematic because it tends to encourage uncritical acceptance.

    But like I said, TV isn't inherently bad any more than the Net is. Generally speaking, I have better things to do, but if I happen to be home and Star Trek or anything else I like happens to be on, I can veg out with the best of them. :)
  • It has been suggested that our society is making a transition from one that prefers to be entertained passively (e.g. TV, movies) to one that prefers interactive entertainment (e.g. Nintendo and Sega games, using internet resources). So, the article isn't all that surprising. Many web resources provide information that some people might have previously gotten from TV (such as news) in 24/7 availability. I imagine as more households get online, and the opportunities for online entertainment increase, the trend of watching less TV will continue.

    I know, in our household, the number of hours of TV watched would probably be even fewer if my husband and myself could both be online at the same time! ;-)


Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.