Some Confuse TVs with Audio Systems
Now hear this, speaker brand reference not necessarily intended: A TV is not an audio system.
The survey also found that about a third listen on portable music players, present company included. I'm reading these numbers off a graph, so the following is a rough approximation, but mobile-phone listeners number just over 10 percent, game consoles account for less than 10 percent, and portable game consoles perhaps five percent.
Here's how Parks' director of research spins his findings: "iPods are sexy, but not everybody has one. TVs are ubiquitous and increasingly capable of delivering a range of content, especially with new features like digital music delivery and place-shifting services. This is just the tip of the iceberg for TV applications."
Here's my spin: TVs are ubiquitous but are no substitute for a decent audio system, whether 7.1, 5.1, or 2.0 channels. We've all watched video music channels on our TVs in a quasi-vegetative state, and considering how viciously equalized and compressed they are, there's nothing alarming about that. And if you don't feel like turning on your audio system to enjoy the musical segments of Saturday Night Live, you're missing only a few minutes of something possibly very nice.
But for extended foreground listening--whether to your favorite music in any decent format, or to a movie with a surround soundtrack--you're really missing the boat if you depend on your TV's built-in speakers. Sure, some are better than others, but if you've taken the plunge into flat-panel TV and haven't added a surround receiver and a decent sat/sub set at the very least, then you should take that crucial next step. And the audio industry should work harder to reach you and change your mind about soul-nurturing pleasures of a good audio-for-music or audio-for-video system.