One of my favorite conversations of the evening was with my nine year old nephew. It went like this.
"You guys still don't have a TV?"
"When are you going to get one?"
"We're not going to get one."
"Man! How do you survive without a TV?"
"We spend a lot of time on the Internet"
"Yeah, but how do you watch movies?"
"On the Internet."
"You guys need to get Netflix! It's magic!"
"Well, we had Netflix for a while, but then we decided we needed to cut our expenses so we cancelled our account." (I didn't mention Hulu.)
I admit that my powers of elaboration were conspicuously absent during this conversation, and I don't think he was entirely convinced that existence without a TV met an adequate standard of living.
But I happen to know that our neighbors really enjoyed their two week stint without a TV after their's broke last month. At least the wife did. She has often commented on how much time she and her husband had together after their TV broke, and tells me that they played more games and had more conversations in those two weeks than they usually do.
With the overwhelming amount of digital content available on the internet, separate content on the TV networks, separate content available to both from the movie, music, and gaming industries, and content available through cell phones, eliminating what is coming into our home through the TV takes a huge amount of filtering tasks off my plate. I never have to choose to turn it off, because with the internet I am always choosing what sites I look at or what videos I play (except for ads, but that is a different conversation).
Not having a TV also makes it so I never have to worry about being distracted by the moving pictures on the screen (unless I'm at someone else's house).
I'm very susceptible to the moving pictures.
The big screen with moving pictures can paralyze me for unknown periods of time in which my brain is not making executive decisions about what the priorities really are.
Okay, so sometimes I have that problem on the Internet too, but there is more action required to open a new tab or play video so I have more opportunities for my self control to kick in and say "close the tab," "don't play the video - you don't have time," or "walk away from the computer - it will all still be here when you come back."
I enjoy my memories of watching Sesame Street, Mr.Roger's Neighborhood, 3-2-1 Contact, The Voyage of the Mimi, Tail Spin, Darkwing Duck, The Rescuers, and Star Trek Next Generation. But now I'm done with the television. There is hardly ever anything I really like on. And when there is, I can get it online. Or from the library.
So, how do we survive without a TV? Better than we would with one!