Thursday, February 23, 2012

How do you survive without a TV?!

Cousin Sleepover
The other night we had 2Flowers' cousins over for dinner while their parents were out on a date. One cousin was staying the night because it was an overnight date for her parents (the other cousins were spending the night at a neighbor's house) It was a lot of fun and there was a lot of hubbub. Evenings are usually pretty quiet for us because there aren't very many of us, but we had four cousins and the neighbors over. That is a lot of people in our little house!

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.

Since we never watched TV anyway (we're both kind of Internet junkies), our standard of living improved when we got rid of the TV because we reclaimed the space it was taking up. Our living room has never been centered around a media altar. (Though my new computer and armoire desk are kind of front and central right now, but only because I don't want them in one of the bedrooms and there is no where else to keep them.)

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!


  1. The day we unplugged our cable and decided to only watch netflix and hulu was a great day. I think the biggest positive for me was no, or very few ads. I just love that my kids don't get taken advantage of by scheming ad agencies.

    1. I know. I don't miss the ads either, though now when I do watch TV at someone else's house I am immensely amused by some of the commercials.

      Sometimes in conversation someone will ask me if I have "seen that commercial..." and I say, "No. I don't have a TV." but they don't seem to understand and talk about the commercial as if I've seen it, or they tell me I should get a TV (to watch commercials?).

      You can often watch commercials on YouTube if there is one worth watching (like the Superbowl commercials occasionally).

    2. Ry, I can only seem to comment on your blog through repying to someone else's comment. It won't let me post my own comment and I don't know why! Anyway, way to not have a TV. I am a huge fan of not owning one. Someday Merrill dreams of having a projector so we can watch our movies on it, but both of us agree no tv is fantastic. ESP. because of how much inappropriate content/messages that is on tv now, even in commercials.

  2. Whenever I tell people we don't have TV, I get the strangest looks. I even had someone ask me once if I was Amish. It's apparently so uncommon these days to not have TV. While we do own a TV, we do not have a TV service or cable of any kind. We use it for a computer, gaming system, or to watch movies/shows online or via Netflix. Like you said, it allows us to control what our family views. Chris and I both got so tired of the filthy content of commercials, which you can't control, and we didn't want to be subjected to that any time the ads came on. Getting rid of TV was one of the best decisions we ever made. And not paying for cable saves a lot of money every year.

    1. My mother-in-law does the same thing at her house! They have a huge TV screen and what you see on it is either the internet or Netflix.

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  4. We don't have a TV and we like it that way. As a result of this, my teens probably spend more time on their computers. It's a tricky one, as they need them for study and computer use can be rather a contentious issue in our home at times. If there is a remarkable documentary to watch, then we do so-over the internet:-)
    Rebecca @ NMN x