Utahns certainly aren't the most fanatic when it comes to cable television, but boy, do we love our VCRs.

Last week we talked about A.C. Nielsen figures showing that Utah is well below the national average when it comes to cable penetration. (We're 201st out of 210 markets.)But we're still well above the national average when it comes to the number of homes with VCRs - 75.5 percent of Utahns are popping those tapes into the machine, while just 70.2 percent of all Americans are doing the same.

We're tied for 10th nationally. And the only markets more than about 3 percent ahead of us are both in Alaska - Fairbanks (88.7 percent) and Anchorage (83.9 percent).

That sort of makes sense, when you think about it.

The number of U.S. homes with VCRs was up 3.3 percent between November 1989 and November 1990. What is truly astounding, however, is that in November 1983, just 9 percent of American homes had VCRs.

That's a 61 percent increase in only seven years.

Kids today are growing up thinking VCRs are just standard equipment. PREMIUM DOLDRUMS: The past year wasn't so good to the pay-cable industry.

Channels like Home Box Office, Showtime, Cinemax, The Disney Channel and The Movie Channel have shown very little growth over the past few years. But November 1989 to November 1990 was even worse than that - the percentage of American homes with premium channels fell from 29.4 percent to 28.6 percent.

Utah is a bit below the national average when it comes to movie channels, but not much. Nielsen figures show that 24.8 percent of us have at least one pay-cable channel.CNN DOMINATES: We also talked last week about how the current conflict in the gulf is a TV war, but there's further evidence that it's turning into a bonanza for the Cable News Network.

According to Birch Scarborough Research, more viewers are watching CNN for war coverage than the three broadcast networks combined.

In answer to the question, "Which television network have you spent the most time watching for war news?" 43.8 percent of those surveyed said CNN, 18.1 percent said ABC, 13.4 percent said NBC, 10.3 percent said CBS, 8.5 percent said they had no preference, 5.4 percent said they watched some other source, and .6 percent said PBS. `DALLAS' DOINGS: For those of you still watching the venerable old soap opera after all these years, there's a big surprise in store at the end of the season.

The two-hour season finale will feature a number of former cast members - Linda Gray (Sue Ellen), Steve Kanaly (Ray), Mary Crosby (Kristin) and Jack Scalia (Nicholas), as well as a pair of Ewings from "Knots Landing," Ted Shackelford (Gary) and Joan Van Ark (Valene).

"It will be the greatest cliffhanger in the history of the series," said executive producer Leonard Katzman.

There are a couple of surprising elements here. First, Crosby's and Scalia's characters are both dead. And, second, it's widely believed this will be the final season for "Dallas," so it's a bit of a surprise that they're planning a cliffhanger.

All I have to say is that if they do cancel the show, CBS better not leave us hanging after close to 14 years. They'd better make a wrap-up episode for next season.EAGLES ON TV: The Salt Lake Golden Eagles, members of the International Hockey League, will televise a pair of their games live on KXIV-Ch. 14.

Both games are against the San Diego Gulls - Wednesday at San Diego and Feb. 23 in the Salt Palace.

It ought to be interesting to see if hockey can draw much of an audience here in Utah. (It's a sweeps period so we'll eventually find out how the games do in the ratings.)

And it also ought to be interesting to see if they can keep that little puck on camera. Hockey isn't the easiest game to follow on television.ANDY LIED: "Matlock" fans may recall that star Andy Griffith announced that he wouldn't return for a fifth season of the NBC series.

Now he's announced that he's signed for another year. (Apparently with a substantial raise in pay.)

And Andy looks so honest . . . ."NORTHERN EXPOSURE" UPDATE: Don't get excited, all you fans in search of more "Exposure." The series definitely still is on its way back to CBS.

However, we're still not sure when. The network was talking about a March return a while ago. Now it's looking more like April.

At least we can be happy that it is returning.