Record level of consumers view TV as a luxury

New Pew research has found that just more than half of those polled see TV as a necessity, the lowest level since the researcher began polling consumers about what they judge luxuries and necessities to be in 1973

Televisions — whether they are HD or SD — no longer appear to occupy “must-have” status for a substantial percentage of Americans, according to the results of a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends project.

Rather than a necessity, TV sets, along with a variety of other consumer electronics, including microwave ovens and home air conditioning, are viewed as luxuries.

According to Pew, 52 percent say television is a necessity, down 12 percentage points from 2006. Even more glaringly bad for television is that the percentage of people viewing television as a necessity is at the lowest level since the research organization began asking consumers about what they regard as luxuries and necessities in 1973.

These shifting attitudes toward luxuries and necessities appear to be one of the fallouts of the ongoing recession.

The Pew study also found that about 25 percent say they have reduced how much money they spend on or cancelled entirely subscriptions to cable or satellite television.

The survey was conducted via cell and landline telephone April 2-8. Pew sampled 10,003 adults 18 years and older.