Sign O' The (TV) Times

Ah, the humble TV. No matter how advanced our phones and PCs and alarm clock radios and Smart Fridges might become, there you'll always be, centre stage, the great reassuring black blob in our living rooms transporting us to another world where people are better looking and more interesting than in our real lives.

Or will you?

It's early days yet, but it's just starting to look as if the rise of the PC and the tablet is finally beginning to impact the prevelance of the TV. The proportion of American households which have a TV has fallen for the first time in 19 years.

Now, OK, it's fallen from 98.9% of the population to 96.7%, so it's not like the TV is a thing of the past. But still, it's a striking stat. The number of households with at least one TV went down, according to ratings gurus Nielsen, from 115.9 million to 114.7 million - a decline of just over a million households. That's a million US families deciding to do without the big black box in the corner.

Are PCs to blame? That's less clear. Nielsen says 'small subset of younger, urban consumers are going without paid TV subscriptions,' which is likely to be because of the prevalence of free TV on the internet. But they reckoned most of the newly TV-free households were in low-income rural areas. Sadly, it seems some people simply couldn't afford to replace their old TV when it packed up.

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