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The frequent changing of channels when watching television, especially for an extended period of time. Primarily heard in US, South Africa. I hate channel surfing. I can't understand why people don't just pick a program and watch it!
Quickly switching between channels on a TV, as while looking for a program to watch. I'm channel-surfing, but it doesn't look like anything good is on.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Switching from one television station (channel) to another frequently, either to search for an interesting program or to keep track of several programs at once. For example, What did you see on TV last night?-Nothing much; I was just channel surfing. The term transfers the surfer's search for good waves to the viewer's search for programs. This practice became widespread with the use of remote-control devices for changing channels while remaining seated some distance from the television set. [1980s] A 1990s version is Internet surfing, a similar process for searching cyberspace.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
See channel hopping
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.