Warning: this article contains personal opinions.
A rather old online article recently caught my eye. It is an article on C|Net, entitled Ditch Satellite TV for Online Alternatives and Save. The James family canceled their satellite dish TV package and replaced it with a media center PC, a fast broadband connection, and a Netflix account. They now save $93 a month.
Mrs. James said she and her husband were spending $115 a month for their Dish satellite service, which gave them about 250 channels of programming. But when she sat down and listed what she and her husband actually watched, she discovered that they only viewed about 25 of those channels.
"I just couldn't justify watching only 10 percent of the channels I was paying for," she said. "I would have felt a lot better about keeping the satellite service if I could have thrown out the extra channels and only paid for the channels we watched. It's just like buying a whole loaf of bread and only eating two slices—such a waste."
The Jameses' canceled their satellite service and purchased a multimedia computer. Mrs. James said, "We definitely watch more TV now than we did with Dish," she said. "And because most of the shows online through services like Hulu.com don't have commercials, I can watch them much quicker, too." The family canceled their $115 a month satellite service but does spend some money for Netflix. The family's bottom line savings averages $93 a month.
It made me stop and think for a bit. I turned my television off in July, 1984. This means that I recently celebrated my 28th anniversary of being TV-free. I remember the day well as that was when I left for an overseas assignment to a non-English-speaking country. There was no television there in the English language (this was before satellite television) and I soon lost the habit of watching television. When I returned home a year later, I found that American television programs no longer interested me. In fact, I found the American programs to be boring.
Admittedly, there is a rather old television set in the house, and we do subscribe to the cheapest package the local cable company offers. However, I tolerate the television set only because other family members watch it. If it were solely my choice, I'd throw the TV out and cancel the cable service. When I travel in the motor home, I never watch network television.
I will admit to occasionally watching the news and the weather reports. I have watched a few specials on PBS. We also rent movies on Netflix.com frequently and I occasionally stream movies online on Apple TV. However, I prefer to spend most of my “entertainment time” online. I no longer need a cable or satellite television service. I can obtain a crystal-clear high-definition image of PBS locally with an indoor antenna and everything else I watch is available online.
I haven't watched a television game show or a sit-com in 28 years. Name any popular weekly television program of today. I haven't seen it, not even one episode. American Idol? Never saw it. Dancing with the Stars? I watched it once for about five minutes, then fell asleep. Grey's Anatomy? I am told it is good but I have never seen it. I typically watch Who Do You Think You Are? the day after it airs on network televion, once it becomes available on Hulu.com.
NOTE: I had to look on Google for that list of today's most popular television programs as I had no idea what they are.
Most engineers know what a heat sink is. When attached to something warm, a heat sink dissipates the heat. In my mind, television is a “time sink;” it dissipates time.
When I stopped to think about all this tonight, I realized that I feel liberated. I don't feel as if I am missing anything, except for occasional small talk around the office when others start talking about a television show they watched. I do feel a bit left out of those conversations. I find that's a small price to pay for all the extra time I have earned.
This newsletter would not exist if I didn't have the time every day to spend on it. I also get to spend time with my family and with some of my other interests.
Please read the article about the James family at http://lifehacker.com/5115183/ditch-satellite-tv-for-online-alternatives-and-save.
I'd like to offer an invitation: join me and the James family and a few million others who have learned that life without television is a lot more fun than watching the "boob tube" every day. Like drugs, television is addicting. It wastes your time, and I believe it also wastes your mind.
As my mother used to say, "If you watch too much television, your brain is going to rot."
Life without television is great! You will also save a lot of money by canceling your cable or satellite service.
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