2010 sees significant decline in American TV owners

Posted May 10, 2011 by Vincent Sobotka
The image of family gathering together to observe news or other media has been symbolic of American culture for decades. First was the radio, then the television, then movie theatres, then movie rentals and more television.
Home cinema setup
Home cinema setup
William Hook
Now, it's not uncommon for members of an American family to be more scattered than ever, with personal contact eluded to such an extent that keeping in touch with one another is more rare than following every bit of individual interest through the media. It is certain that technology changes culture, but is it far fetched to believe that Americans are diverting from owning television sets?
It feels almost taboo to answer that question with a "yes" given the impact television has had on America, but there are two ways to digest the statistical information. In 2010, the number of American households with a television set dropped over 2%, from a previous 98.9% in 2009. Considering there is an estimated 115-million U.S. households, a 2.2% decline in households without TVs may be no worry to the industry. Yet when the decline is viewed under a microscope, that 2.2% is roughly over 2.5-million homes which ditched the product in 2010. Though a trend for such a statistic is fairly difficult to identify, the underlying cause can logically be diagnosed as cost; not particularly the cost of televisions, but the cost of cable or satellite subscriptions opposed to newer alternatives.
Major technology news website IGN recently published a guide to transitioning from expensive subscriptions to services that are far more capable of serving a more direct interest, and are much more affordable. Similar websites, including Engadget and G4, offer a library of information on the same topic.
As popular movie and television media streaming services Netflix and Hulu continue to nab up agreements with film studios and television networks, while offering "on demand" services to almost any media device, including mobile phones and tablets, and at a much cheaper rate than their more traditional rivals, their number of subscribers continues to grow.
Just as well, corporate giants Best Buy, Walmart, Kmart and its parent company Sears have all adopted a streaming video service to combat the decline of physical media sales. Similarly, online tycoon Amazon have developed their own source of film and TV on demand streaming to offer their customers. Computer media center software and torrent downloads have not been forgotten.
Only time will tell whether the greater sufferers will be TV manufacturers or cable and satellite subscription providers.