Saying “I don’t own a TV” is a good way to let people know that you’re a pretentious asshole. But even though more and more people are eager to tell you they don’t “have TV,” don’t be fooled! You better believe that they are still “watching TV.”


According to a new Nielsen report out today, Americans watch about 4.5 hours of television a day. That sounds like a lot! But that’s only live TV. If you add in DVR time, that’s over five hours a day.


If you look at the way the data has been trending since 2014, technically the time the US has spent “watching TV” on an actual television broadcasting content is going down, slightly. But the time devoted to “watching TV” on every other platform like a tablet or a smartphone is going up—way up.

Look at the chunk of time spent on tablets and smartphones, it’s more than double what it was in 2015. That’s an hour more of total media time just since last year. So for some Americans that’s a grand TV total of SIX HOURS PER DAY.


Another big milestone noted by the survey: For the first time, more than half of American households have some kind of streaming subscription like Netflix or Hulu (a category called Subscription Video on Demand or SVOD). DVR services are plateauing or declining. Which means people will probably start to spend even more time watching TV.

Surely millennials aren’t watching TV, though, right? Because they’re so busy doing other things like not driving and being poor? Nope. Millennials watch slightly less television (it varies depending on their living situation) but they are still watching about two-and-a-half hours per day.



Yes, the way we consume content is changing. But television remains our primary way to consume it. And anyone who says they don’t watch TV is lying.