For pretty much an entire generation, televisions have been more important to Americans than the living room  sofa — but according to a recent report this could be changing.

For the first time in 40 years, the number of households with TV sets has actually dropped, despite the fact that the number of US households has continued to grow.

A report from Nielsen Media Research revealed that three percent of households currently don’t have TVs, the highest level since 1975. The group also predicts that in 2012, this number will grow by one percent.

Why is this happening? Technology is one answer as many people have turned to websites, mobile devices, and other video outlets to watch their favorite shows. Nielsen says that transition from analog to digital broadcasting in 2009 made some people forego their TVs altogether instead of buying a converter box or subscribing to cable. The downturn in the economy has left rural or lower-income households unable to afford a TV.

But cable companies, take heart. Experts say that more than half of households with TVs own at least three of the so-called “electronic babysitters” — so die-hard boobtube worshipers haven’t exactly become extinct.