Saturday, December 16, 2006


As we are making our final preparations for our move, we have a few decisions to make. We are moving to an area which does not provide access for DSL Internet, cable Internet, or cable TV. This is disheartening, for I have been spoiled by high-speed, dependable Internet service for several years, and I am loathe to change at this point. I don't mind downgrading my lifestyle, downgrading my wardrobe, downgrading my expenses - but downgrading my Internet speed is something I'd rather avoid.

We checked briefly into satellite service, which demands a chunk of money for initial setup and can be expensive with a lengthy commitment. Regardless of whether we go with satellite or dial-up Internet service, we were intrigued to learn that the satellite TV service is a separate package from the Internet. For the first time in our lives, Ed and I started seriously flirting with the idea of having no TV after we move.

This is not an easy decision. We're not addicted to TV by any means, but we do enjoy a wide variety of programs - mainly nonfiction types. Ed watches the Food Network primarily, but we both enjoy shows from the History Channel, A&E, public TV, the Travel Channel, TLC, Discovery, Animal Planet - and, of course, I am somewhat of a news junkie. No TV? It's a strange scenario. But intriguing.

After all, we have many interests outside TV. Ed will be spending a lot of time sawing and splitting wood, landscaping our new yard, walking the dog, cooking, and reading. I have so many hobbies I never have time for - quilting, sewing, cross-stitching, harp playing, piano playing, singing, working with photos, studying for the CMT exam, and, of course, reading. That doesn't count all the things I want to learn.

A restriction on TV wouldn't concern anyone but us. We have no kids living in the house anymore, and the grandkids, when they visit, don't watch TV anyway (Rachel severely limits their TV access, and anyway, they don't really care about it and would rather read a book).We by no means consider TV evil or anything sinister like that. Indeed, we find very educational programs to watch, uplifting, informative programs, not just entertaining ones. But even watching uplifting, informative programming takes time away from other more meaningful pursuits.

There is a grassroots movement to alert society to the effects that TV has on our lives. Check out this site, for instance. A number of web sites attest to this. Listen to Jerry Mander, the author of Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television:

In the US, the average television viewer is seeing about 23,000 commercials every year. The specific content of those messages may vary, but the intent is identical-to get people to view life as a nonstop stream of commodity satisfactions. Buy something! Do something! Commodities are life! And this message is the same everywhere.
Even if we don't talk about the banality of TV in general, the dumbing-down of America, the lack of social and family life, the time wasted - we have to mention the advertising aspect. Advertising which has grown into an art form. Advertising whose whole purpose is to encourage us to buy their products because "commodities" line the road to happiness. It's not exactly what we want to focus on during our "downsizing" journey.

I think we'll get some form of Internet service, but forego the TV part, at least for a while. No telling what we will accomplish in our new-found time!


RJB said...

What will Dad do without commercials?

Anonymous said...

You can do it, Carol! We have been cable-free since we moved in Dec. 1999. We also do not have satellite, nor do we have an antennae. We get iffy reception on a couple of stations, one is PBS and the other is a classic movie station. While we do rent/borrow a fair amount of movies, our viewing time is planned, not watching whatever happens to be on when we surf. I can't imagine spending hours a day (or even hours a week!) watching TV anymore. The only things I really miss are the weather channel during tornado season, and HGTV while we renovate our 100 year old house. It will seem strange for a while but it's worth it!