This study provides longitudinal observations of young children's behaviours while viewing television in their own homes, over a time when the children were actively involved in the process of language acquisition. Sixteen children were observed for a period ranging from 0; 6 to 0;8. At the beginning, their ages ranged from 0; 6.15 to 5.15; at the end, from 1; 2.15 to 3;0. The observations yielded documentation of an overwhelming and consistent occurrence of language-related behaviours among children and parents in the viewing situation. The categories of child and adult talk are reported, with description and examples of each category. The categories are compared with those reported for parent–child interactions outside the viewing experience, – in particular joint book-reading. A model of television as a talking picture book is proposed. It is argued that television has the potential to serve as a facilitator of children's language acquisition.