No Television?!

Family watching television, c. 1958

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Seriously, y’all, there are people out there who actually live without a television.

After a few months of this numbing routine, we decided to get rid of our TV. It wasn’t a radical decision at the time. We just knew that something had to give. So out went the television and in came books (lots of books), cooking, lengthy discussions, hiking, marathon training, Yahtzee tournaments, bowling dates, and much-needed sleep. Ryan even learned to juggle five balls and ride a unicycle. Life as we knew it slowed down and we finally caught our breath.

That was seven years ago.

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard about people who choose to live TV-free. Most of those who I have met who have made the leap were professors I had when I was in undergrad. I also know plenty of people who go without cable and watch shows on Hulu and movies on Netflix or on DVD.

However, I don’t know if I could actually live without a television.

We aren’t slaves to our TV by any means. The shows I consistently watch that are actually still on include Castle, Parenthood, Bones and some random shows on the USA network when I need something mindless to watch. Oh, and Chopped. Obviously. I almost never watch these shows at their regularly scheduled time and, with the exception of Castle, I rarely watch every episode in the season. We just watch what we want, when we want. While I think going TV-free is a really great way to connect with your family and get more stuff done, I don’t think I could ever give it up entirely. And here’s why:

  1. Cozying up on the couch with the husband and the dog to watch a movie or an episode of Friday Night Lights is one of my favorite ways to relax after a long day.
  2. Sometimes, after a long day, I just don’t want to get any more stuff done. So I watch something I don’t have to think about.
  3. I read books all day. Sometimes, I don’t want to read books when I get home, too.
  4. I’m a high school teacher. Tim is a junior high teacher. We need to know about pop culture, or we will be completely lost. Every day.
  5. We have an Apple TV that plays music, and the television it’s hooked up to has the best speakers in the house.
  6. Our internet bill would skyrocket if we got rid of the cable, because we have a bundle deal with our cable company. Get rid of one, the price of the other goes up. And I need the internet, so we might as well keep the cable. This is actually the reason we haven’t given up cable in favor of internet television. That and free OnDemand. Though now that OnDemand has found a way to not let you forward through commercials, we may rethink this whole thing.
  8. The computer screen has to be so close to you to watch a movie on it, and the battery heats up uncomfortably so it’s impossible to keep it near you unless you want to burn something. (OK. I’m stretching. But it’s true.)

While I see the value in giving up the television completely, I don’t think it would ever be for us. That said, I practice with TV what I do with food: Everything in moderation. You shouldn’t spend all day in front of the TV, but using it to relax your brain and connect with your spouse every once in a while can be priceless.

6 thoughts on “No Television?!

  1. I have considered suggesting to my spouse that we go T.V. free. And I think it *may* be possible for us to stop watching shows. However, he is a huge gamer and a massive part of his identity would be lost if he couldn’t game.

    So, as you say. . . I definitely see the value in going T.V. free, but I don’t think it’s for us.

    • Ashley on

      It’s good to consider the possibility, but equally as good to realize that you don’t HAVE to do it and it doesn’t make you any worse off!

  2. We’re part of the no cable in favor of netflix set (and dear god we are ruining the internets with our bandwidth!) only because cable is super expensive (and not less so even with internet bundled). It actually works great for us because we still get to watch crap television, we just have to wait a few months for it to come on, and we watch far less of it – that won’t help you with staying up on pop culture.

    However, we are watching a lot less of it now because of the “no screens till 2″ rule, so we only watch (or play video games) after the baby goes to bed – And yet we have a giant 42” TV. We figure when we do watch it, it should be pretty. It also helped us save a lot of money prior to the baby and makes us not too feel to bad about never going to see movies, because they look pretty awesome at home.

    I think that now in the age of the internet the “I don’t have a TV” is kind of a moot point, because a lot of people end up doing exactly what we are doing on their laptops.

    • Ashley on

      Very true. Taking the TV out of the room just makes you more creative about finding other options. I figure, we might as well have a TV to watch the Netflix on. Why not, right?

  3. We’ve cut cable for Netflix and movie rentals. Your reason #4 is the one that keeps me from being able to cut out TV completely. I’m a PhD student and a college English teacher. My studies revolve around gender, race, and rhetoric, and films and TV provide me with a lot of texts to analyze. Plus, it gives me more relatable ways to connect what I’m talking about with my students. Sure, watching things on Netflix means I’m a little behind the times on TV shows, but it’s not like I ever watched them while they were actively showing on cable, either. I don’t really miss it.

    My husband, however, does miss being able to see a lot of live sports, which is about the only thing we haven’t found a good way to replace.

    • Ashley on

      It’s so important to keep up on pop culture when you’re a teacher, isn’t it? It really builds your credibility with the students!

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