TV & Entertainment

I Still Prefer Watching TV on a TV. How About You?

When you’re watching TV, what kind of screen are you looking at? There used to be only one answer.

I’m old enough to remember a time when watching TV meant sitting in your living room and staring at the box around which your furniture was placed. When someone tells me they don’t even own a television, I’m old enough to honestly wonder how they arrange their living room furniture!

Watching TV when I grew up, you see, meant looking at an actual television.

My, how times have changed.

A survey of 2,200 people back in November asked questions, including which screens people now use:

And about a third of all viewers — as well as about half of Millennials, those born between 1983 and 2001 — watch TV shows and movies on a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

What’s also interesting is that when asked to rank the digital devices people value the most, television, the so-called “electronic fireplace” we all thought was the thing we’d never live without in the 1970s, drops to fourth place behind other devices which happen to give you the option to experience “television” on something else.

First place, which probably comes as a surprise to no one, is the smartphone, mentioned by 76%, Deadline reported. They’re followed by laptops and then desktops.

As I type this on a laptop, incidentally, I’m watching CBS This Morning on an actual television. I typed my last blog post two days ago on a desktop computer while watching television on a television. The other day, I wrote a blog post on my desktop in one tab of a browser while I was listening to an episode of the classic Twilight Zone playing from Netflix in another tab of the same browser.

Yes, I generally do have a “second screen” going when I’m watching television. But whenever possible and practical, I prefer the television be on a television set.

Which “screen” do you most often watch television programs on: a TV, smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop? What percentage of time spent watching TV involves watching an actual television set?


  1. My apartment building has an antenna of course, but I haven’t had my television set hooked up to it for about 4 years. So when I say I watch television, I refer to watching Netflix and other content _on_ the television, but I don’t watch actual channel broadcasts. I have an Apple TV and a Chromecast which stream from Netflix as well as from the Plex library on my desktop.

    I watch on the desktop too, occasionally.

    I also watch some content, particularly YouTube content, on my iPad, and sometimes on my iPhone (I have a 6S Plus so the screen real estate is just about enough to actually enjoy watching something).

    Still, nothing beats a bigger screen for me.

  2. I have to be honest, I haven’t turned on our television for years, except to rip discs. That’s it. I watch films all the time, but I have really turned my back on television and those shows I used to watch. I had a small line up of things, but over time, I realised how incredibly formulaic television had become – everything the is the same! It’s really too bad.
    My husband, by way of contrast, is so much a television junkie that the bloody thing doesn’t get a rest almost all night. I forbid the playing of it in the bedroom when I’m sleeping…for the same reason most of us usually do. It mysteriously becomes exponentially louder!
    I don’t really know for certain why I’m so indifferent to the telly. It truly is indifference – I don’t dislike or hate it, I don’t feel good about it, I just don’t think about it. I usual tell people I’m off it so that as a retired person I don’t turn into a total couch potato. It is a concern, true enough, but I just am going through a phase of not having any thing invested in the numerous junkie shows.
    I used to like some of the one-hour shows, like “Person of Interest”, “CSI – Crime Scene Investigation”, etc., but never, ever, under almost any circumstances, would I watch any sit-com. These are utterly purile, stupid shows have no moral standing (much more so now than when I as a kid – but then the telly was so completely different then, we’d need a good many posts to cover that…)
    Maybe you should do a series on this…
    Anyway, yes, I don’t watch the telly. I watch films on my iPad.

  3. patricksplace havertyj I still remember the brown box that had a bar that would move back and forth to change the channel. I think channel 30 was the one to watch HBO. Now HBO has multiple channels… crazy!

  4. DianaCT We do that with a projector in our living room to watch movies sometimes. Or, sometimes connect to a laptop and project on our garage to watch baseball games in the summer. That sounds nice with it connected to your stereo on the 9′ screen. 🙂

  5. I watch most of my TV programs on a TV through satellite. We have two Apple TVs and use that to watch Netflix or Amazon on the TV. Rarely watch movies on my computer or iPhone unless I am out of the house. We have regular TVs in family room, kitchen, basement, and bedroom.

    I remember my grandpa having a remote that had four, maybe five, buttons on it that he would call the clicker. I recall my dad recalling having to go outside to turn the antenna until they picked up signal. Me, I remember getting a maximum of 30 channels and still not being able to find anything to watch.

  6. I watch most of my television on a TV. and I have them in my kitchen and bedroom.
    But when I watch movies on Netflix or Amazon I have a LED projector that I use. I project it on a wall in my living and the picture is 9 feet diagonal and it is connected to my stereo.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.