UK's TV habits revealed: we're watching more than we think

Doctor Who claims most time-shifted viewing

How much TV is too much TV

It's easy to while away the hours in front of the goggle box, but new research from TV Licensing suggests that we're watching more than we think.

Adults in Britain told the researchers that they watch less than 20 hours of television a week, on average.

However, the Broadcaster's Audience Research Board bit their thumbs at the UK's adults, whipping out cold hard stats that show the actual figure is more than 30 hours a week.

What this means it that we're watching more than one full day of non-stop TV in a week – that's a whole lot of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding action and perhaps something to be a little ashamed of.

Stat clash

The new stats clash somewhat with similar research conducted by on-demand service SeeSaw.

With the same sample size, SeeSaw found that 23 per cent of people now use the PC as their main source of evening entertainment instead of the television.

SeeSaw also found that 60 per cent of us eat dinner in front of the computer, while TV Licensing found that 72 per cent eat their main meal in front of the box.

Okay, own up: who's using the computer and watching TV and eating dinner all at the same time?


Some of our TV-watching time is spent catching up on recorded shows; with the rise of services like Sky+ and digital television recorders, it's no surprise that recording programmes to watch later - or 'time-shifting' viewing – is increasing.

Last year, the most time-shifted programme was Matt Smith's debut as Doctor Who with 2.2 million saving it for later, of which the good time-travelling doctor would no doubt approve.

iPlayer, meanwhile, averages around 2.9 million online requests per day.

Cinema rooms on the rise

A rather optimistic 8% of UK adults say they are expecting to have a dedicated cinema room in their homes by 2020, while a further 8% reckon they'll have a TV in the bathroom by then.

The latest craze is for 3D TVs, however; 125,000 3D-enabled televisions were sold last year and the rate of growth suggests that half a million of us will have 3D TVs in our living rooms by the end of 2011.

Although whether or not there'll be anything actually worth watching on them by then remains to be seen.

Infographic fans may enjoy perusing the findings laid out in graphical form below:

TV habits infographic

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