Couple tv remote

Young black African American couple sitting in living room on couch and arguing over television remote control (Credit: Shutterstock)

LONDON — Call it a “primetime showdown” — the average couple argues over the TV four times a week, a new survey reveals. Fights about what to watch, someone asking too many questions, and how high the volume should be are among the biggest issues couples encounter.

A poll of 2,000 couples, who live together, found the television is actually one of the most divisive topics within the home! Almost one in five people (19%) get frustrated with their partner’s TV habits on a daily basis. This has resulted in 44 percent moving to another room so they can enjoy their favorite programs in peace.

Talking during a show, falling asleep mid-episode, and the height of the TV are also among the top 15 annoyances people encounter. More than a quarter of couples (27%) who have fought over the TV have ended up buying another one as a result. Meanwhile, 26 percent believe increasing the size of their TV would help reduce arguments.

“We now know the typical Brit spends nearly 15 hours a week watching TV – and over half of that is with their partner,” says Sally Nelson, director UK product at streaming service Roku, which commissioned the research, in a statement. “It is a big part of our lives, so no wonder it causes household squabbles.”

When it comes to couples with children, dads (51%) seem more concerns than moms (31%) about having full control over the remote at all times. Another 37 percent of all parents think arguments would be less common if their favorite seat was always left free.

However, 56 percent would rather battle with their partner than their kids when it comes to who has control over the remote and what to watch. One in three would like an extra screen in the house to guarantee argument-free entertainment.

Couple watching show on TV
(© Andrey Popov –

Does size matter?

While one in 10 believe their current TV is too small, five percent actually say their television is too big. For 85 percent of the poll, their entertainment center is “just right.” The survey also found 42 percent have resisted the urge to put a TV in their bedroom – but seven percent caved, under duress from their partner.

When it comes to TV preferences, the study, carried out by OnePoll, found size matters the most for half of Brits, who consider screen size to be one of the most important features, followed by sound quality and price.

“Putting more screens in the house is probably one of the most effective ways to eradicate arguments over the TV,” Nelson adds. “We have seen there is also an appetite for bigger screens – spearheaded by men – with 60 percent of Brits currently having a 50” TV or smaller at home.”

Top 15 Television Arguments:

  1. The volume
  2. Deciding what to watch
  3. Asking too many questions while watching something
  4. Talking over something
  5. Spending too much time choosing what to watch
  6. Falling asleep during something
  7. Having to rewatch something because your partner missed it, due to falling asleep or leaving the room
  8. Using a mobile phone or other devices during a show or a film
  9. Hogging the remote
  10. Losing or misplacing the remote
  11. Watching an episode of a show you usually watch together without the other person
  12. Deciding what time to watch a show
  13. Who sits where or if someone is in your favorite seat
  14. The height of the TV screen
  15. Whether to have English voice-over for foreign shows or watch them in original language with subtitles

South West News Service writer Lucy Brimble contributed to this report.

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