More than a quarter of households have more TVs than people.

But it doesn't mean Kiwis aren't selective about what they watch - 77 per cent of viewers skip ads and 31 per cent use MY SKY to fast-forward through them, a Canstar Blue survey on our viewing habits has revealed.

The survey shows how new technology - such as downloading shows and pausing live TV - is behind the change in our habits. And it has prompted a warning that we may be "missing out on life" in favour of watching talent shows.

Canstar New Zealand national manager Derek Bonnar was not surprised nearly half of households surveyed had at least three TVs in their homes because TVs were cheap. He said people were watching about the same amount, but in different ways.


Mitchener and Gillman Communications advertising consultant Martin Gillman and his wife have four TVs in their home despite just the two of them living there.

"You've got to have two TVs each so you can watch it if you're in a different location," he said.

"If you want to have breakfast in the kitchen or the living room or in the bedroom then it's something you can consume anywhere. So that's always going to drive more and more viewing."

But TVs weren't the only way couch potatoes were getting their fill. The survey revealed that one in five now watch more content online through devices such as their laptops or computers.

Meanwhile, almost a quarter of the Generation Ys switched on their TVs more to play video games than to watch programmes. But ad agency DraftFCB's managing director of media, Derek Lindsay, warned that the figures reflect how people claim to behave - not what they actually do.

"From our point of view we are always concerned if people are not watching or are fast-forwarding ads and there's going to be a growing concern. I don't disagree with that but 77 per cent [avoiding ads] - nah, not correct about what happens."

Their clients often saw immediate sales spikes after ads were on TV, he said.

John Terris, president of Media Watch, which lobbies on TV standards, said the growing number of televisions in households was a concern. He felt people needed to review their viewing habits in favour of healthier alternatives such as reading.

"It can be a bit of an obsessive sort of activity ... Television has been pretty dumbed down of late and people living for shows like New Zealand's Got Talent really are missing out on life."

The Canstar Blue survey interviewed 587 people nationally who had bought a flat-screen TV within the past two years.

Households tuning in
40 per cent have more than three TVs
25 per cent of households have more TVs than people
77 per cent avoid watching ads
31 per cent use MY SKY to view and fast-forward ads
19 per cent watch more content online than on TV
24 per cent of Gen Y use TV more for gaming.