TV set ownership declines for first time since 1992

Blame the digital transition--or digital revolution, if you will--for the fact that the number of Americans owning television sets has declined for the first time in nearly 20 years. The Nielsen Co., which keeps track of how many televisions there are in the U.S., reports that only 96.7 percent of American households own sets. The last time Nielsen looked, that number was 98.9 percent.

The reasons for the decline can be traced directly back to digital. Low income households no longer own TVs because they cannot afford digital sets or antennas--or possibly because they can't receive over-the-air digital signals. And young, tech savvy viewers see no need for the devices when they can watch TV on their laptops, tablets and cell phones.

The trend is leading Nielsen to consider redefining the term television households to include Internet viewers--which would probably make cable operators happy since their basic video subscribers are sliding faster than television ownership.

The last time the number of sets declined was 1992, also at the tail end of a long recession.

For more:
- the New York Times has this story

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