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Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Over 50s would rather chuck out their TVs than their PCs

While technology might be more often associated with youthful users, in fact it has won some firm fans among the older generation, as a recent survey revealed. It found that nearly two-thirds of so-called silver surfers would rather live without a TV than a PC.

The study, conducted by internet consultancy MCC, in association with Seniority.co.uk, a website dedicated to those over 50, found that 64 percent of the 1,000 users questioned would rather give up watching TV than using their computer.

"The internet offers a greater degree of interaction," said Michael Cheney a spokesman at MCC. "Many older people are now becoming more adventurous and are looking to develop new relationships, not just see new places on TV".

The most commonly used application for the over 50s age group is email.

"We have heard from many of our community members who use art packages, family tree software and the like, but I would say email and browsing the internet remain firm favourites," said Cheney.

But we can't take these findings at face value — after all these users are clearly among those older people who are clued up about modern technology, as they already visit the Seniority website. As a recent drive by Age Concern shows, there is still quite some way to go before all of the older generation feel as confident with or dependent upon computers.

Another factor that might influence the older generation's lack of interest in television is that programmes are more often than not angled at a younger audience.

"Most TV content is geared towards younger generations though the main factor here seems to be one of interaction," believes Cheney.

Programme makers are keen to capitalise on this desire for interaction. "I think in the future PC and TV applications will be more closely linked, as with Big Brother, offering people more interaction with what they are watching. We will also see more people watching TV on mobile devices and their PCs, but I don't think the PC will ever replace good old-fashioned television," said a spokesman at the BBC.


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