It sounds paradoxical that we now have fewer televisions on average than we did a decade ago – 1.8 per household as opposed to 2.3 – yet we still end up watching more television: half an hour more a day since 2006 alone.
On one level, the trend is alarming. As we are only awake for about 16 hours a day, ceding another half-hour of that to the TV in just six years, taking the figure over the four-hour mark, seems a lot. Should we spend a quarter of our waking lives in front of the telly?
On the bright side, we are probably becoming more discriminating, as the paradox of watching more TV on fewer TVs is explained by the rise of computers, which at least oblige users to seek out the programmes they want.
The box as a background noise, or as a large object in front of which the whole family sat slumped and semi-comatose, is becoming ancient history. For that, we should be grateful.