We’ve been TV-free for almost four years now

So ever since we moved back to our house after the rebuild in June 2004, we’ve gone without broadcast or cable TV. Prior to it we were constantly living in front of a TV, watching, dining, sleeping, etc. There were hardly any moments when the TV wasn’t on. Where the TV was, that’s where we really lived. All the other parts of the house were essentially unused. We were that pathetic, and I imagine, not far from the American norm.

So when we had a chance to start fresh, we wanted to just make a break for it. We had originally designed so that there would be no TV in the main living level, and only have TV downstairs. But with all the moving in and settling down, we never got around to calling in the cable guy, or setup the satellite. The Tivo sat in the box with taped shows from 2004. Our big Sony CRT tv sits in a neglected corner hooked up only to the DVD Player and VHS.

The kids (mostly Isabelle, since Camille was only a few months old at the time) watched videos on the computer upstairs, either on a DVD or ripped/downloaded video files. My wife and I just stopped wasting time on Food network (whose shows were getting boring anyway) and any Must See TV. Yes, it was weird for a while, but eventually the cold turkey became the norm and we haven’t looked back (much) since.

I found much more time reading web stuff, blogs, etc. I started reading more books, spending more time playing games with the kids. I’ve stopped wasting time on shows that I don’t really like, but were watching simply because it was on. I think I’ve gained back at least 3-4 hours of productivity time back.

Today, we watch movies on DVD or streamed onto our Apple TV on a projector, a much more intentional event than just the background TV viewing habits of old. We are focused when we are watching something, and not let TV be the condiment to real lives. We do spend an amazing amount of time on the web, and increasingly watch streamed stuff via youtube, hulu, or bit torrent stuff. But all-in-all, it encouraged more play or reading times for the kids and adults alike, and I’m glad we left it all behind.


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