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The Technologies Americans Can and Can't Live Without The Technologies Americans Can and Can't Live Without

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The Technologies Americans Can and Can't Live Without

Increasingly, we can part with our TVs.

(B Rosen / Flickr)

photo of Brian Resnick
February 27, 2014

Television, Internet, or cell phone. You have to choose one, and only one. The rest will forever be gone from your life. Which of these ubiquitous modern technologies could you least easily live without?

Increasing, Americans are saying the Internet.

(Pew Research)In a recent poll, the Pew Research Center found that the Internet was the technology people would find hardest to part with, followed by cell phones, email, and then, television. While 53 percent of respondents said the Internet would be "very hard" to part with, just 34 percent said the same of television.

 

While this doesn't spell the death of television outright—97 percent of households still own at least one, at least as reported in 2011; snd consumers are not faced with an either/or choice on the technologies; most of us have both)—it does suggest that a future with a traditional television in every home is not a given. Especially because the young are some of the most tuned-out television watchers.

"Millennials make up 50 percent of No-TV households relying instead on their smartphones and laptops to watch content," Nielsen reported in a recent paper on millennials. That could be because millennials are less wealthy than their parents and opt out of paying cable bills. But it also could be that young people don't value television as they once did. They're much more likely than their older counterparts to watch TV and video content on YouTube (index of 179; with the average household having an index of 100), Hulu (155) and Netflix (145)."

Another reason the Internet is so essential is because it works itself into all aspects of life. Sixty one percent of those who said the Web would be hard to give up said it was essential to their work. Plus, "67% of Internet users say their online communication with family and friends has generally strengthened those relationships, while 18% say it generally weakens those relationships," the report states.

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