Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Watching television for 3 months a year


After years of trial and error, my family and I have arrived at a television-management stratergy that works for us. We order cable tv for three months a year--from when the kids get out of school for winter break through the NCAA basketball championships (roughly mid-December - end of March). Out here in Storrs, CT, we don't get broadcast television, so that means no television for about nine months a year (we still watch occasional DVDs throughout the year, so we haven't gone completely Amish--as my brother John would put it).

Being on this schedule for several years now, I've come to appreciate its benefits.
* It saves money, about $500 a year.
* We stay mostly up-to-date with what we want to watch (with regular and repeat showings).
* The kids are aware of cultural references from television.
* We don't get into the habit of watching television constantly.
* It gets us outside when it's nicer weather.
* It gives us something easy to do in worse weather.

It's getting time to unplug cable, and I'm looking forward to it.

11 comments:

André said...

With the onset of such things as the iTunes store, you hardly even need the TV anyways. You can just buy the shows you want to watch. Plus, there are websites where you can watch many shows for free (You just have to sit through some advertisements...). Of course, it means you have to pay for high speed internet... I think this is the route I will take. TV is such a waste of time. I will only have to watch that I don't become a slave to the computer...

Brad Wright said...

You're right about how much is available through iTunes. THat's where I got the episodes of the One Punk, Under God that I wrote about last month.

We also rent episodes from Netflix... which is convenient.

sarah said...

This is really interesting, Brad. We have basic cable as my husband must have access to WGN for Cubs baseball. Since it's almost always baseball season, we have not gone so far as to unplug during the "off" season. But we have utilized Blockbuster's Netflix equivalent to rent the shows we would watch if we paid for HBO - such as The Wire (even cops say this is the best cop show ever). I've often wrestled with how much TV we view, but just haven't been able to quite give it up...

Brad Wright said...

I think that most people wrestle with how much tv to watch. We found that when we tried to regulate it on a day-to-day basis, our good intentions wouldn't last too long and we'd end up watching a lot.

Cubs fans are the real things, no?

sarah said...

Yeah. Ever been to Wrigley?

André said...

Perhaps it's a bit late to be commenting on this blog, but when I first read the blog title, I thought that you had calculated how much time you spent in front of the TV and it added up to 3 months. That's a lot of TV!
I'm glad that I read the blog and found that you don't live in front of your TV.

Knumb said...

When I tell friends here in OC about this, Brad, you can hear their eyes blink for the next 30 seconds or so while they struggle to comprehend the entire concept.

Brad Wright said...

Sarah,

I've never been to Wrigley. Baseball fans speak of it as a near-religious experience...

Growing up I liked watching Cubs games just to watch outfielders lose the ball in the ivy.

Brad Wright said...

That's really funny, John. I suppose with all the traffic and the smog, watching TV is probably a good idea in the LA basin.

Anonymous said...

"Cultural references"! That slays me. You wouldn't want your kids to be deprived of cultural references. In a few years social services will probably start removing kids from homes where the parents are abusing them by not supplying access to cultural references.

iTunes Store is obviously inadequate for cultural references. You'd miss out on commercials, infomercials, television preachers and faith healers, that tattoo show, weathermen, screamfest politics, and who knows what else.

Brad Wright said...

Yes, there certainly is a lot of junk of tv, no doubt about that...