(Photo Credit: Virtual Pizza)
I have a confession to make, I’ve never seen a single episode of American Idol. The same goes for Desperate Housewives, and Walking Dead. Lost? Missed the entire series. Mad Men? Nope. Dancing With The Stars? Missed every episode. I haven’t watched TV since about 2003.
Originally we cut the cable for financial reasons. We had better things to do with our $50 per month. I remember we had Direct TV. I expected to have to REALLY convince them that I wanted to quit. I’ve worked customer support so I understood the drill.
Direct TV, how can I help you?
Yeah, I’d like to cancel my subscription.
Would you mind telling us why?
Yeah, I just can’t afford it any more.
Well, if we cancel your contract now, there’s an early termination fee of a couple hundred bucks.
Yeah, I know. I’m fine with that.
Or, we could put your account on inactive status. You pay $5 a month and if you ever want your service turned back on, you just call us and we take care of it over the phone.
Oh. . .okay. Let’s do that.
So, I didn’t cancel my subscription, I just didn’t have any channels. It turned out that this was a very good deal. The Mormon Church has a worldwide general conference twice a year. It’s broadcast over Direct TV. In fact, that’s why we went with Direct TV in the first place. So, each April and October I’d call Direct TV.
I’d like to have my subscription reenabled.
No problem. Enjoy.
Four days later, I’d call them back.
I’d like to put my account on inactive status.
No problem. Enjoy.
The only other thing that we turned on the TV for was the Olympics. Same deal. A quick call to Direct TV and two weeks later a follow up call. But, the rest of the programming? We missed it all.
Two interesting things happen when you turn off your TV. The first is how much extra time you end up. I’m not, by any means preaching that people should shut off their TVs. But count the number of hours per day you spend watching it. What else might you do with that time? What else might your kids do?
The other thing that happened was our kids never learned to watch TV. It sounds kind of silly, but that’s the best way I can describe it. We have a TV, of course.
We also have tons of videos and DVDs.
For my kids, “TV” is watching a DVD. My second oldest daughter was about 8 when we turned off the TV. So, she didn’t really have the TV experience for most of her growing up life. When she went to college it was a bit of culture shock.
Dad, I’ve gotten a little hooked on TV.
Yeah, but what’s with the commercials? They come on like every 10 minutes and there’s no way to fast forward through them!
I grew up on TV. It framed portions of my childhood. I remember when MTV played music videos. We stayed up to watch the world premier of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” I remember watching the final episode of M*A*S*H, and Cheers and The Cosby Show. And of course, September 11, 2001 was very much a TV experience.
However, today you can get much of that content on the Internet and you can choose your own schedule for viewing and decide what you want to watch. I couldn’t imagine life without an internet connection, but the cable? It’s been gone long enough I don’t really miss it.
Will my kids someday look back and say, “My parents really blew it by not teaching us to watch TV! I missed a whole portion of my childhood!” Somehow I doubt it. And if they do, there’s always Youtube.
Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children.
Follow him on
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com