Friday, March 25, 2011

The Big Addiction

I am of a generation that can't remember a time before there was TV. 

I remember watching the black and white TV "console" as a child.

The thrill of color TV.


Cable boxes, remote controls, 65" projection TVs, flat screens, plasma....

There has always been a TV around. 

I admire those of you (whose blogs I read) that have given up the "boob-tube" and while I can walk away from it from time to time, it's always there, calling my name, "turn me on, what's going on in the world"?

SM and I have a large flat screen TV that we paid the earth for back when it first came out.  (These kinds of TVs are a dime a dozen now.)

WE have had DirecTV for 10+ years.  I like their service,, LOVE, LOVE... the DVR function.

Over the past year or so we've watched the DirecTV bill inch slowly higher.  We call to complain and they give us 20 bucks off here and there.

Yesterday I got the bill...$97.  Are you kidding me?  (I guess we need to call and complain again.)

We have a package called "Choice Plus" which gives us a gazillion channels and (of course) nothing is on.

Except for March Madness.  (SM loves college football and basketball.)  Don't mess with the man's B-Ball.

I remember when "basic cable" cost $30 bucks a month. 

I went into work today and quizzed the staff.  Didn't seem to matter who the provider was, everybody was paying between $65 and $95.  For BASIC services.

When you break it down $97 is about $3.23 per day.  We maybe watch 2 hours in the am and 3-4 hours in the pm. 

More on weekends, and in the winter. 

Less on weekdays and in the summer. 

On average though, I expect most people pay somewhere between $800 and $1200 a year for basic TV.  More if you watch pay per view movies or subscribe to premium channels.

I've tried to analyze my feelings about this.  Today for example, I blew out of the house this morning without really even watching anything.  Came home tonight, and read a few chapters of a book and got online to blog.  So very little TV for me today.  Did I miss it?  Not really.  It's a habit.  Like a child sucking her thumb, it brings me comfort.  A habit so ingrained that I'm not sure I can give it up.

Two weeks ago, the TV was barely turned off all weekend with the tsunami news.  I was completely absorbed.  Remember 9-11?  Same thing.  I couldn't away...I was there experiencing everything, no way was I going to walk away.

So how to let go?  Or if I can't let go, can I make it less appealing?

SM and I have discussed the fact that with nicer weather on it's way, we're unlikely to spend much time in front of the TV.  Happens every year.  Nice weather hits, we're outside.  Perhaps now is the time to start our withdrawal.

So yesterday I called Direct TV and stripped us down to a "unadvertised" package of about 100 channels.  I'm keeping the HD and DVR functions for now.  Slap some tax on it and guess what?

I'm still paying $70 for DirecTV. 

What I'd really like to do is go on a TV diet.  I'd love to break this addiction. 

We read about "free online TV" but I really haven't explored that avenue much.  SM isn't into movies so NetFlix is a waste. 

Curious how I can't imagine life without a TV. 

I hear some people feel that way about their cell phones, texting and facebook.  Even blogs.  Would I be crushed if I stopped blogging tomorrow? 

I get cranky when we're having computer glitches and I can't get online.

Will I substitute one addiction for another?  That's usually the way it goes when you deny yourself.

Funny the only time we're free from our addictions is when we're on a vacation somewhere.  Do you notice that?  No phones, no computers and if you're in a hotel usually lousy TV anyway.  There's too much to see and do, lets go!

Why isn't my day to day life like that?  Am I so bored with my life that I need TV / Internet to entertain me?


  1. At least you can admit your "problem". I have the same addiction with the internet. Yes, I glean a lot of information from the net, keep up with friends/family, and of course, read BLOGS!
    But back to the TV thing. We gave up cable about 8 years ago (maybe more), mostly because we did the same math as you long do we watch it & how much does it cost us to watch two or three shows? Not worth it. And that was before cable was $100 a month.
    Then we just gave up all tv, nothing really good on anyhow and we were tired of the "news" (celebs in rehab is news??). We moved to the country & never hooked back up, although we do have a television set for watching DVD's from the library. I do miss the Animal Planet, Discovery & History Channel though.
    My Mom has her tv on all the time, but doesn't even really watch it; like you said, it's just like a pacifier. For her, I think it's just the sound in the background she's used to and it's "comforting".
    Have you tried keeping music on instead of the tv? That may help you get through a tv-less stage.

  2. I don't watch much tv anymore,but do keep it on most of the time,background noise. WE also pay a high premium,hubby loves his tv. He may one day have to give it up,he will be a bear! Blessings jane

  3. If it was just me, I'd never have a tv in the house. But, there's hubby. He does like to watch some shows after I go to bed. He says we can disconnect, but I hate to take away his entertainment. Our next move is a compromise---we'll quit it for the summer months (who has time to watch anyways???) and keep it for our LONG winters.

  4. At first I thought I would have a big problem with no TV because I spend a lot of time by myself and I would have it on to have some background noise. But I would not pay $100 for the service so I cancelled it. I have to say that I don't miss it at all. I got one of those boxes that lets you get the local channels and there is a good selection. There is a retro channel, a movie channel, a country channel and a video channel, plus the regular affliates and PBS. It is really all I need. And it'f FREE. I also thought it would be hard to not have a microwave. Also don't miss it either. It wont be nearly as hard as you think.

  5. I definitely hear you, Tami. There are times when I want to chuck it, but I know that would not go over well. I do enjoy watching landscaping and cooking shows, so I guess I'm part of the problem. It would make a great experiment though, for the summer.

    The puter's a bit different for me. I am connecting with other like-minded folks that I wouldn't have otherwise met, so I think it's a good thing. And I love reading other people's blogs.

    Looking forward to seeing what you decide!

  6. Hi Tammy

    Thanks for popping by my blog. This post on TV caught my eye. My husband loves to watch his sport on a Sat/Sun but during the week it remains off.

    I have not watched TV in over 3 months - it was a concious decision to bring more time into my days. I wouldn't go back to sitting watching a screen, even if you paid me - the extra time is addictive!

  7. I don't remember a time before TVs, and I don't remember having a only-b/w TV in my own home, but I remember my grandparents having a color TV in the living room and a smaller b/w one in the kitchen for watching while my grandmother cooked. I do distinctly remember when renting videos became a new, big deal. I remember my siblings and cousins and I getting together to choose movies from Blockbuster or wherever and watching them together at my grandparents' house.
    I haven't had cable in any of my homes except one, where somebody forgot to turn it off for the first several months I lived there, and now that I've moved in with my husband (he's got just about every cable channel known to man). Mostly we love the heck out of the DVR function, and we pretty much stick to cooking, travel and history channels, with infrequent forays to movie channels, along with a couple of network stations. Otherwise, we're as likely to watch individual episodes on the computer.