TV watching at all-time high

The amount of time Americans spent in front of their TV sets reached an all-time high in the 2008-2009 season, according to Nielsen Co.

On average, we spent four hours and 49 minutes a day glued to the TV, up four minutes from last year and up 20 percent from a decade ago. The average household watched eight hours and 21 minutes a day, which is also an all-time high level of zoning out in front of the screen.

Nielsen attributed the rise in part to the fact that households have more TV sets in the home these days and more channels to choose from.

Apparently the government-mandated switch to digital TV over the summer didn't cause people to miss out on their favorite shows, as was feared by some.

Another possible reason for the rise in TV viewing could be the recession. More people are unemployed and spending their days at home, which presents ample time to catch up on time-sucking talk shows and soap operas.

The trend also suggests that Americans still rely on their TV sets for the bulk of their entertainment and that the move to watching shows via the Web on computers still lags behind traditional TV watching.