Toilets Top TVs in U.S.

By , Editor
The Great American Sanitation-vs-Entertainment dichotomy has long concerned me. It has always seemed decadent and debauched that more Americans have a TV set than have a flushable indoor toilet and running water. As of the 2000 census, 98.8 percent of American households had "complete indoor plumbing," but now the figure stands at around 99.3 percent, which means more people are finally pooping indoors than are watching TV on TV sets.

This is a great leap forward.

Today Nielsen released a report stating that TV ownership will drop to 96.7 percent of U.S. households in 2012, down from 98.9 percent in 2011. While the decline in TV ownership has some interesting causes and ramifications, I am more interested in the fact that Americans, at least statistically, now value sanitation -- running water coming in, toilets flushing out -- more than they value the joys of the Great Pacifier, television, at least on TV sets.

This speaks well for the priorities of the American people: hygiene and hydration simply ARE more important than televised entertainment, although some might make note of the cozy relationship between TV and crap.

Now, as to the Nielsen TV report. There are three main reasons for the first downturn in TV set ownership in 20 years: the recession, which has forced many low-income people to make difficult choices; the government mandated shift away from analog to all-digital broadcast signals in 2009, rendering many older sets obsolete; and the trend, especially among younger viewers, toward watching TV and movies on computers and tablet devices. The latter are the "cord-cutters," those who have opted out of the cable TV ecosystem.

The next burning question: do more people have TVs in their bathrooms or do more watch TV from the throne on Internet-enabled devices?

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Eric Olsen is a career media professional and serial entrepreneur who has written influentially on a vast array of topics for periodicals, books, TV, radio, and the Internet. Olsen founded and published award winning online magazine and oversaw creation of the original content organization…

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