Turning Off the Television Tap

I was talking to coworkers over my lunch break today, and I wound up mentioning the fact that I do not own a television. I don’t know what response I expected, but it wasn’t the jaw drop and shock that I actually got. You mean… you don’t watch television? I don’t think I ever knew anyone who didn’t have a TV before. Well… do you have a DVD player? Or… anything?

I have a DVD drive in my computer. I believe I may have mentioned the quest for a region-free DVD player a while back. (To paraphrase Don Quixote: Well, hello, windmill.)

So, bit by bit, I got over it. The cable company helped, of course. Charging more and more for fewer and fewer channels. And the awareness that there are things I’d like to do with my life. (Do any of us really need another reality show?)

Well, there’s a difference between consciously enjoying a program and mindless consumption.

I finally broke the habit a couple years ago. The old television died slowly, one static-y inch at a time. By the time it gave up for real, it was a thin, belt of condensed people. And after that, there was the matter of paying money for a new one. Goodbye, television.

I can’t say I don’t watch anything. There’s internet news, and streaming movies, and from time to time, I buy a season of some program I really want to watch.

What I don’t have is entertainment on tap.

If I’m going to watch something, I need to consciously chase it down and watch it. There’s no coming home and flopping down in front of whatever happens to be on.

So, has it made a real difference?

I don’t know. I certainly find enough other ways to waste my time. But–and I think this is a big benefit–those time wasters have a tendency to involve two-way communication in a way that television does not.

I’m not even slightly going to claim that all the time goes into productive things. (Although, I think some of it does.) But I do think it was the right choice for me. (I never had any discipline to begin with.)

7 Comments

  1. Reply

    We still have a TV but no longer have cable. I used to just flop on the couch and watch whatever, but now I watch on purpose. Not that everything I watch is educational – hello, reality TV! 🙂 – but it feels more like a treat, a time to relax.

  2. Reply

    When we had cable, our TV was on all the time. Since we cut the cord a few years ago and went back to over-the-air, we only put it on in the evenings, and even then, only as background noise. We’ve had our current TV for over ten years, and it shows no sign of giving up. What we’ll do after it goes, we haven’t decided.

    • Reply

      I like my white noise app for background noise, and it’s free. I have to have something… Neighbors.

      • Reply

        I use MP3’s of the ocean and of thunderstorms that I play all night. They definitely help with the tinnitus. I also have the MyNoise app, and there are all kinds of different noises it makes. For $10 I got more sounds than I would use in a lifetime.

  3. Reply

    I am still trying to break up with my TV – we have Netflix and stream the news. I find if I walk away from the TV I am more productive with writing. Once I sink into the sofa and turn on the latest Netflix special I’m a goner, LOL.
    Great post and thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  4. Reply

    I (barely) have the strength to turn off the TV and walk away to write (hello, Olympics). I can’t imagine getting rid of it forever. Kudos to you for not caving and buying another.

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