Once upon a time, my DVR (digital video recorder) was important to me. My DVR recorded things and let me watch them when I wanted, without commercials. Total bliss. Then time passed and my DVR lost its luster. My life changed (a divorce), tv became less appealing and my kids outgrew the PBS kiddie shows.
So in May of 2008 I pulled the plug on DirectTV and tv altogether, since we can’t get broadcast tv.
My original thought was that we might go tv-free for the summer. But then summer sailed by and we just kept pluggin’ along tv-free.
Now sixteen months later, I ceremoniously removed the DVR box from my closet and put it on freecycle.org. I got four enthusiastic responses in five minutes, so my DVR is going to a good home.
What I find interesting about this experience is how tastes change. I once watched an hour of TV everyday. What I once thought was indispensible is now dispensable.
What will be next?
Now I spend an hour a day on my Kindle. I read books, magazines and blogs (although most of my favorite blogs are not on the Kindle). And it seems indispensible. At least at this moment in my life. But what about five years from now? Will I be putting my Kindle on freecycle?
How about you? Have you reconsidered what you once thought was indispensible?
Thinking of pulling the plug? Check out Life after cable: Broadcast TV alternatives for alternatives to paid television programming.
Have you ever thought about pulling the plug on paid TV programming? What would your life be like without TV? What could you do with that extra time? What have you been putting off because you don’t have time?
If you have plenty of time, how about money? The average cable bill is around $50 a month or $600 a year. That’s a lot of money for programming that is largely marginal and can be obtained for free elsewhere.
Here are some alternatives…
- Use your library. Many libraries carry audio books, movies , music and these things with paper pages called books. All of this is entertaining and completely free as long as you return things on time. I love to walk while listening to an entertaining book or a podcast of This American Life.
- Enjoy free public entertainment. Enjoy free live performances in your community - go, be entertained, and mingle with people who enjoy live entertainment. Check your community newspapers, physical bulletin boards or online sites for local entertainment options.
- Exchange movies, music and books with your friends. Most people have a library of entertainment sitting idle in their homes. Ask to borrow items and then return them in a timely fashion.
- Play old video games. Keep your ears open for this phrase “I got a new <game console>”. When someone buys new, their old stuff needs a home. Maybe your home can be that home? Simply inquire about the fate of the old console. People are recyclers at heart and like to find a new home for their old things.
- Watch TV shows over the ‘Net. Use your fancy broadband Internet connection to watch TV shows for free. The following sites have full length episodes with less advertising than broadcast TV:
- Pay as you go. Think about which shows are ‘must see tv’ for you. Now go to Zune, iTunes, Amazon Video on Demand, or the Xbox video marketplace and just buy the shows or movies you want. Commercial free. When you pay for each individual show, I think you’ll make great choices. You’ll probably watch less TV. Yeah! Ask yourself: Is an episode of Lost worth $2 to you? An entire season (25 episodes) of Lost will cost you $50 a year instead of $50 a month for cable.
- Join Netflix. Almost everything worth watching is on dvd. Subscribe to Netflix and watch what you want when you want. Commercial free.
- Consider Roku. Roku is a little box that streams content from Netflix and Amazon Video on Demand to your TV.
- Watch SnagFilms. Do you like documentaries? Check out the selection of documentary files at SnagFilms. Documentary films streamed to your computer instantly…. Pretty cool.
Getting rid of cable or satellite TV will force you to watch with intention instead of just watching whatever is on.
The average American will spend 7-10 years of their lives watching television. What could you do with 7-10 years?
Have you kicked the tv habit? Please leave a Comment.
Successful people don’t watch tv