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20th Century Technology On The Decline Amongst Americans

by Sean P. Aune | August 21, 2010August 21, 2010 11:00 am PDT

It would seem that Americans aren’t quite as in love with remnants of 20th century technology as much as they even were last year according to a new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center.  Entitled “The Fading Glory of the Television and Telephone” , the study surveyed 2,967 people — 1,893 by landline phone, 1,074 by cellphone — and the numbers shouldn’t be all that surprising that, as the headline suggested, TVs and landline phones are not as much in favor as they once were.

While the overall survey isn’t as shocking as the headline, when you break down the demographics to the 18 to 29-year-olds, older technology starts dropping like a rock. Surprisingly, 46 percent said that landline phones were a necessity of life, which is surprising since this is a group of kids raised in the era of the cell phone.  You would think that the idea of a phone confined to their house would seem down right archaic to them, but for some reason almost half of them want to hold on to it.

televisionThe number that really blows your mind in this younger demographic is that only 29 percent of them could say the same about a television set.  Now, for some odd reason Pew separated out televisions and flat panel televisions in the overall survey, so we’re not sure if this younger demographic number is combined or not, but either way, that is a surprising number.  If it truly a sign that digital downloads and streaming video or really taking over?  Even with that in mind, you would think they would still want a television set to watch it on as opposed to their iPhone or laptop.  Sure I love my Netflix Watch Instantly subscription, but I only really fell in love with it once I could get it on my TV and watch it full sized.

Obviously the priorities are changing somewhat amongst that nation, but not as radically as the name of the study would suggest, and it certainly isn’t all 20th century technology is going out the window.  The most essential item on the list of those surveyed?  A car.  And, oddly, microwave ovens went up from last year, but VCRs appeared no where on the list, funny that.

As technology progresses, more of the old will go out the window, it’s just the nature of the beast.  And while I put very little stock in surveys to be honest (they can be too easily manipulated just by the tone of your voice on a question), this 29 percent number for televisions is going to puzzle me for some time I think.  Perhaps it is I’m outside of this demographic and I was raised in an age where you only had eleven channels, I’m still mystified by the hundreds I have access to now.

What say you?  Is the ownership of a TV less important to you now?


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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