The Fading Glory of the Television and Telephone [telecom]

The Fading Glory of the Television and Telephone

by Paul Taylor and Wendy Wang, Pew Research Center August 19, 2010

One day you're the brightest star in the galaxy. Then something new comes along -- and suddenly you're a relic. It's a turn of fate that awaits sports heroes, movie stars, political leaders. And, yes, even household appliances.

After occupying center stage in the American household for much of the 20th century, two of the grand old luminaries of consumer technology -- the television set and the landline telephone -- are suffering from a sharp decline in public perception that they are necessities of life.

Just 42% of Americans say they consider the television set to be a necessity, according to a new nationwide survey from the Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends project. Last year, this figure was 52%. In 2006, it was 64%.

The drop-off has been less severe for the landline telephone: Some

62% of Americans say it's a necessity of life, down from 68% last year.

But there's a related trend that's more perilous for the landline: Fully 47% of the public say that its younger, smarter and more nimble cousin -- the cell phone -- is a necessity of life.

Even more worrisome for both 20th-century household fixtures are the oh-so-very-21st-century attitudes of today's young adults. Fewer than half (46%) of 18- to 29-year-old survey respondents consider the landline phone a necessity of life. Fewer than three-in-ten (29%) say the same about the television set.


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Reply to
Monty Solomon
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My Great Grandfather died in 1978 at the age of 93. He never had a telephone. He did have a phone like intercom system with a wire strung between his home and his sisters home across the alley. My Mother likes to remind me that my grandparents did not have a telephone until my Grandmother considered her "dating age". This would have been mid 1950's. Both locations were in the New York City borough of Queens, not back woods by any means.

Reply to
Steve Stone

One is a radio and the other is a telephone. Most people don't have a clue.

Also, the difference between wireline E911 and cellular 911 can be precious moments that may make the difference between life and death. This is even more so in a medical emergency where the caller perhaps can only mumble. The wireline is seized on an operator-type trunk and the address is displayed.

Using cellular service, or for that matter Voip, as the primary service at a residence is a risky deal in the event of an emergency.

Reply to
Sam Spade

It is interesting to note that my daughter, prior to the birth of my granddaughter, attended a "new mother" class where it was made very clear that a land-line phone at home was very important, particularly if a hired careperson was watching the baby. The 911 issue was the reason and they really drove the point home, to the extent that my daughter actually put in a landline to supplement her cellphone.

Cellphones are convenient, but landlines still have some advantages...


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Reply to
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