No channel surfing here


By Sue Curtis



Last night, an advertisement was on television several times during the few hours we were watching. This particular commercial was for a device that allows people to watch different shows on any television in their home. The advertisement shows mom, dad, and two different children, each in separate rooms watching totally different things. It always annoys me when they suggest that families typically behave in that way.

I guess I’m old-fashioned. When I was growing up, we had the one gigantic black and white television console with a 12-inch television screen, and we got three channels, each of which signed off the air at 1 a.m. Occasionally, if weather conditions permitted and the rabbit ears had enough aluminum foil, we could get a fourth channel. There was no second or third set in another room to worry about and there was no discussion of what to watch — dad picked the shows.

Maybe that’s why that “hopper” thing rubs me the wrong way. There are currently several devices being sold by different companies that allow families to enjoy entertainment totally separately from one another.

Television seems to play a pretty big role in our lives. According to Wikipedia, there are 823 televisions per 1,000 people in the United States. The average American family size is 2.6, which means that we have more than one television per family member in many homes.

The United States actually has the most televisions per 1,000 people of any country in the world. You may think, as I did, that that’s because we have the most people in a family, but that’s not really the case. Nepal, for example, has only six televisions for every 1,000 people.

Now I chose Nepal because it’s my “go-to” country for any geographic question. When we watch Jeopardy!, for example, and there’s a question about our planet that I don’t know, I always guess Nepal. To find out that they have so few televisions surprised me. I figured that’s because they must not have very many people. While that may be true, it’s also a fact that the average family size there is 4.7. So, I guess they don’t have to worry about having more than one television or who picks the program to watch in Nepal.

India has even more household members than either the USA or Nepal. They average 4.8, but still only have 65 televisions per household.

Nepal and India both have more television sets than Bosnia or Rwanda. In those countries, they have less than about a quarter of a television set for each 1,000 people. I’m not sure a partial set does much good, so it makes more sense to me to say they have one television set for every three to four thousand people. Goodness. My guess is they have a lot more to worry about in those places than annoying commercials or advertisements they can’t understand.

But in our household? One television and we take turns picking the program. I feel pretty good about that!

Email me at suecurtis9@gmail.com.

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By Sue Curtis

Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at the Hospice store (For All Seasons) in Troy and teaches part-time at Urbana University. She keeps busy taking care of husband, house, and pets. She and her husband have an adult son who lives in Troy.

Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at the Hospice store (For All Seasons) in Troy and teaches part-time at Urbana University. She keeps busy taking care of husband, house, and pets. She and her husband have an adult son who lives in Troy.