I love television. I do. I am not ashamed to admit it.
I probably do have the television on for five hours a day, but I'm not actively watching it all that time. And I wonder if this is true for a lot of the people in the survey. If you have it on for a couple of hours in the morning to watch the Today Show or Good Morning America and for a couple of hours a night to watch prime time, you're already up to 4 hours a day. If the kids watch a show after school, you're at 5. And often the television just is on as a companion -- sometimes I clean the house with music, other times I have the television on. It's background noise, it's company, and something on it occasionally catches my eye.
I do know that because it's often on -- even if I'm not actively paying attention -- that my brain is subjected to a lot more commercials than the brain of someone who doesn't have the television on. And with my ADD, it would probably be better if that didn't happen. I am so easily distractable that there are times the TV caught my eye and an hour later I'm not sure what happened.
But I can see how having it on for 5 hours a day -- but only truly paying attention to it for a couple of those hours -- happens in a lot of households. Morning shows, for instance, are meant to give you the news and features of the day in short bits because the producers know that you are busy getting ready for work, getting kids ready for school, feeding dogs, making lunches, finding paperwork and getting everyone out the door (even if it's just yourself, it can be multi-tasking!)
I would be interested in the same survey if they asked "how many hours is your television on each day?" AND "how many hours are you sitting down and watching your television?" I bet a lot of people would have different answers.