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Zero TV Households

Some people have had it with TV. They’ve had enough of the 100-plus channel universe and they’re tired of $100-plus monthly bills.

A growing number of them have stopped paying for cable and satellite TV service, and these people are watching shows and movies on the Internet, sometimes via their cellphone. The Nielsen Co. started labeling people in this group “Zero TV” households, because they fall outside the traditional definition of a TV home.

FYI: There are 5 million of these residences in the U.S., up from 2 million in 2007.

In a recent survey:

Cynthia, a 43-year-old maker of mental health apps in San Antonio, Texas, said “there’s nothing that will bring her back to traditional TV. She’s watched TV in the past, of course, but for most of the last 10 years she’s done without it.

She finds a lot of programs online to watch on her laptop for free — like the talks educational series — and every few months she gets together with friends to watch older TV shows on DVD, usually “something totally geeky,” like “Chuck.”

She then added, The 24-hour news channels make her anxious or depressed, and buzz about the latest hot TV shows like doesn’t make her feel like she’s missing out. She didn’t know who the Kardashian family was until she looked them up a few years ago.

The TV industry has a host of buzz words to describe these non-traditionalist viewers. There are “cord-cutters,” who stop paying for TV completely, and make do with online video and sometimes an antenna. There are “cord-shavers,” who reduce the number of channels they subscribe to, or the number of rooms pay TV is in, to save money.

Then there are the “cord-nevers,” young people who move out on their own and never set up a landline phone connection or a TV subscription. They usually make do with a broadband Internet connection, a computer, a cellphone and possibly a TV set that is not hooked up the traditional way.

That’s the label given to the group by Richard Schneider, the president and founder of the online retailer Antennas Direct. The site is doing great business selling antennas capable of accepting free digital signals since the nation’s transition to digital over-the-air broadcasts in 2009, and is on pace to sell nearly 600,000 units this year, up from a few dozen when it started in 2003.

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