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Channel turfing: TVs off for good

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Switching off the box doesn't necessarily mean a blank screen - though some do prefer it that way, writes Katie Cincotta.

Catch-up TV.

Catch-up TV.

MIDWAY through the nation's digital TV switch-over, a small band of viewers has chosen to abandon the medium altogether.

The government's quarterly Digital Tracker report shows that 2 per cent, or 141,000 households, of the 7.9 million Australian households still to switch over to digital say they don't have a working television set that has been used in the past six months.

Parenting blogger Amber Greene of Brunswick Heads says she hasn't had a telly for six years and would not go back to one.

The 38-year-old mother of a toddler and a teen watched only one program last year - The Amazing Race - and streamed it on her Mac through Seven's catch-up TV service after each episode aired.

She says she likes the flexibility of being able to access and stream broadcast television online.

''Now with the internet, it's great because you've got a choice of what to watch, rather than just sitting there for hours and hours,'' she says. ''I can't believe how many people I know whose lives are completely directed by the telly.''

Her husband Mike misses the sport but now heads up to the nearest pub to watch the big matches on pay TV, while her two-year-old son tunes into Bob the Builder at grandma's house.

''We only had a television for about two years, when my daughter was eight,'' Greene says. ''I don't miss it. I cook, craft, write and take photographs. Who has the time when you're too busy living?''

Nielsen's latest Australian Multi-Screen Report shows that with 77 per cent of households now connected to the internet, the trend in viewership beyond the conventional television to video consumption on computers, tablets and smartphones is rising. Between 2010 and last year, playback TV viewing almost doubled, up from 7.3 hours of viewing a month to 12 hours a month.

Software developer Mick Devine says that after a big storm damaged his household's antenna, they never bothered to get it repaired.

''When we do want to watch TV shows, it's easier to watch them online. [We] just hook up the projector to the computer and find iView.''

The Nielsen report shows digital technology on all TVs in homes has jumped from 48 per cent to 70 per cent in the past year but people such as Sydney personal trainer Larissa Zimmerman can't be convinced to upgrade. ''I've never bought a TV in my 40 years of life,'' she says. ''[I] figure I'll watch it when I'm too old to move.''

Cookbook author Cynthia Mayne, 62, who lives on the Darling Downs in Queensland, made a decision not to upgrade to digital TV and says she now feels more at peace without broadcast television.

''I'm finding being without TV is invigorating,'' she says. ''I have more time, I feel more relaxed, the house is peaceful and I enjoy the lack of drama and doom and gloom pushed onto me. I feel that I am slowly reclaiming myself and my own opinions.''