Tuesday, 11 June 2013

TV Free - By Choice

We've been without a TV service for over 5 years now, but obviously I continually have to tell people this, because they ask "have you seen?" or just assume you have, and the shock I get in response is really very interesting.

The idea that you could live without this mass medium just baffles people.

We have a TV, a nice flat screen, of medium size. We used to have one of the giant ones, but it took up too much space. We watch DVDs, of which we have a large collection. Movies and boxed sets of TV series. Two new series were added to the collection last week, the complete Jonathan Creek, and the complete Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, both from Britain. I also bought a movie "Persepolis", which you'll have to look up, it's not mainstream.

For what these cost, I could have paid for a month's satellite TV twice over. It's not about cost.

It is about value for money, however. Because when I had satellite TV, I was still buying endless movies, to watch INSTEAD of the crap I was paying almost $100 a month for.

I would sit there flipping through hundreds of channels to find something worth watching, and find nothing. Ridiculous.

Obviously, I am picky about what I watch. 

I refuse to sit in front of a screen and watch rubbish. Life is too short. And then, I refused to pay for the pleasure of having nothing to watch. So we told them to shove their TV service where the sun doesn't shine.

First of course I did ask, can I just have the movie channels and the educational channels? No. You have to buy the networks first. Which is bollocks. So, Bell TV was "Let go".

Michael, therefore, has spent his teens without TV. His friend are just goggle-eyed at how he copes. He copes. He has never missed it, and never complains. He has a DVD player in his room, he watches movies and boxed sets if he needs to. Tom has discovered, since we had high-speed Wifi, that there are "broadcasts" on You Tube. He finds things to watch on his laptop. Michael can access it with his XBox. Tyler can access it either way. They get plenty of teen fodder that way, and are selective about it. They don't suffer.

No, it is perfectly possible to live without a TV service. It means sometimes I'm out of touch with pop culture, and that's OK. I rarely share majority tastes.

We don't buy newspapers or magazines either. For similar reasons.

"But, but but," they say, "How do you keep up on current affairs?" I have the internet. If something important happens, trust me, I hear about it. And instead of hearing bias or sensationalism thrown at me from a news desk, by a clone anchor with a bad hairstyle and boring clothes, I have an endless variety of sources to parse and make my opinions from. Far deeper, far more reliable, and far easier to sort the wheat from the chaff.

I dropped out of mainstream society a long time ago. Just a little over 51 years ago, really. I have lived my entire life asking Why?" and being extremely skeptical. I'm just not suited to broadcast TV.

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