Friday, January 16, 2009

Doing Without Cable

With the recent downward plunge of the economy, we’ve been looking at ways to reduce our spending. Many of our bills are fixed amounts, but one way we decided we could economize was to have our cable television shut off. We’ve got a whole cabinet full of DVDs and videos, and we figured our children would survive. Nice thing is, we’re saving $70.00 a month.

This cutback has produced some surprising results. The children aren’t asking to watch TV as often, and they’re spending more time playing together and being creative with their toys. They aren’t fighting as much, and the shows they do watch are shows we own and have prescreened for content, so they aren’t accidentally seeing things we’d rather they not. We’re not being drenched in commercial advertisements, so their “wants” list has shrunk considerably. They’re handling it very well indeed.

What surprised me the most, however, was my own reaction to the cutback. I’ve never really watched a whole lot of television, but I do have a few favorite shows, and I confess, I’m having withdrawals. I can get some of my favorite sitcoms on DVD through Netflix, but it’s now American Idol season and I’m starting to twitch a little bit. Isn’t it amazing how we can get to the point where we think we need something that really has no bearing on our survival whatsoever? If I never see another season of AI again, I will still be a human and I’ll still breathe oxygen, and yet right now, I couldn’t prove that to you.

I sometimes wonder what our pioneer ancestors would think of us spending so much time staring at a little box. I’m sure they’d think we were out of our minds, and I have to agree. What is this strange power television has over us? I’m hoping to break its hold on me before too much longer. Maybe I need to follow my children’s example and learn to play with my toys instead.

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6 comments:

Framed said...

I just got Dish TV and watched my first American Idol on Tuesday. I can understand the fascination. I'm still struggling with having to pay for TV but my antenna gave up the ghost and it was impossible to find a replacement. Still I lived with just three channels for years and was perfectly happy.

Anna said...

We only have a basic package for television, so it doesn't really cost very much. We unplugged the cable line right after Thanksgiving, because we moved the TV location. I didn't want the cord across the room, so we didn't hook it back up until about the end of Dec.

I enjoy TV, but I really didn't miss it all that much. Any shows I want to see, I can either watch them online or check out information about them online.

Because of the cheap price, we will probably keep our cable for awhile. But in the past we usually have TV for like a year, then we cancel for awhile. Then we get it again, repeat again. TV's fun, but I agree, you aren't missing that much.

Kara said...

We have been without TV programming for a year now and LOVE it. We've never had cable since moving to the mainland (from Hawaii) in 1992. But we were using an antenna to tune in local stations. About a year ago, we had a horrible storm blow through and it tore the antenna off the roof and dashing it to pieces on our patio. We simply didn't have enough money to replace it at the time and after a couple of months decided not to. I have to say I wouldn't change the decision we made. Our home is much more peaceful. :-)

violetlady said...

I am hooked on the old movies channel, so I would be unhappy without it, but I certainly wish you good luck. My daughter and her family spent a few summers at a New England camp - without television. The kids did fine with their dvds and playing all day. I think the adults suffer most without it.

Lee Ann Setzer said...

Whoa, Tristi without AI? Talk about a sacrifice! :-)

Keeley said...

When I think about how addicted my family is to the computer, tv, video games etc, I keep thinking of that Star Trek episode where they're all addicted to that game - do you remember? It turned out to be a plot from the enemy to take control of the ship.

I think about it quite a bit. The enemy wanted to drug the ship inhabitants so that they could take control of the ship - and even that the inhabitants of the ship would, in the end, WILLINGLY give up control of the ship.

This enemy would then take the ship to places where the inhabitants didn't want them to go and would end up destroying the inhabitants of the ship and/or the federation itself.

Scary parallels to real life and addiction to electronics, methinks.

I must now go find that episode and watch it. I bet it's on youtube somewhere. Anyone remember what it's called?

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