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So, That Explains the Headache

Eagles fans

Data everywhere. Eagles fans watch January's NFC Championship game between the Cardinals and Eagles at a Philadelphia sports bar.

Credit: Associated Press

A new University of California, San Diego (UCSD) study found that the average U.S. citizen consumes 34 gigabytes of information per day outside of the workplace, and overall U.S. households consumed approximately 3.6 trillion gigabytes of information in 2008. "It's a snapshot of the information revolution," says UCSD report co-author Roger Bohn.

The study focused on information people come in contact with through TV, radio, computers, phones, print media, music, and theatrical movies — all outside the workplace. Even with the Internet boom of the last 20 years, the study found that TV still accounts for more than 42 percent of time spent receiving information, the most of any medium. However, when measured in bytes, computers and video games account for 54.6 percent of total data entering the home, largely due to game consoles that create huge streams of graphics data. TVs accounted for 34.7 percent of bytes delivered. Bohn says the personal computer industry has done more to take advantage of processing power advancements than the TV industry.

The study also found that about 70 percent of U.S. residents play some kind of computer or video game, a number that surprised researchers. Bohn predicts that data consumption will only increase in the future, thanks in part to the growing distribution of high-definition TVs and smartphones.

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Abstracts Copyright © 2009 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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