Making Deliberate TV Choices

If someone said that they started cutting out junk food, not eating chips straight from the bag until the bag was gone, and switched to consuming higher quality foods, then told you that they started losing weight and feeling better, you’d probably say, “well, duh.” It’s not just food diets where this applies.

I read a post recently about a couple that decided to cut their TV cable, which isn’t all that revolutionary (Carly and I got rid of our TV & Cable TV service around 2005), but I found their explanation for why they did so well thought out. It wasn’t the cost (although that is a good reason). They did it so they could live more intentionally.

But Kathy & I felt it was time to live more intentionally. That the bundled mass of television channels was enabling easy & bad habits of watching junk.

I can relate to that. When there was a TV in my living room, the TV was on all the time. I’d sit in front of it while on my laptop half watching stuff that wasn’t important enough to devote my full attention to.

Now, when I watch shows (and I certainly watch my share of shows) I do some intentionally. It’s a deliberate choice to watch something. When I do that, the choice tends to be highly distilled entertainment. It’s not 10 minutes of local news distributed over 30 minutes between commercial breaks and weathertainment. Instead, it’s stuff that holds my attention throughout the show.

Granted, there is a downside. I have no idea which pharmaceuticals I need to ask my doctor about.

Not having a cable full of TV channels entering my home achieves three things for me: It decreases the quantity of shows I consume while increasing the quality while saving me a bunch of money.

The toughest sell in cable cord cutting seems to come from people who love watching other people play sports. People who like watching other people sing, date, or argue with each other (reality shows) are a close second. If those things are important to you, cutting the cord is a bigger decision. Before cutting the cord, I watched The Apprentice, American Idol, and The Bachelor. If a TV is always on, shows like that fill a void. If you’d like to see a weather forecast, there are certainly more efficient ways to find that information than television.

By the way, I don’t believe this is some sort of elitist perspective on media consumption. I’m just saying that choices change – and often for the better – when one makes proactive choices.

4 thoughts on “Making Deliberate TV Choices”

  1. Cable is the perfect personification of the culture of business: more is more. Quality is something that can be copied, over and over again. Small, understaffed offices in remote locations is the epitome of customer service. And 100+ channels of crap = freedom!

  2. One of my crazier bosses gave me a wonderful bit of advice in a similar vein: don’t plan to follow football. No fantasy leagues, no appointment TV. Now, if it’s Sunday night and the kids are asleep and you want to watch the game, fine.

    Kind of the opposite advice, but it’s what got me to cut the cord. I buy the MLB TV package, but that’s $120 a year, not $60 a month, and I don’t buy it every year (and I won’t buy it next year since the Indians stink again).

  3. @fasolamatt, good point about live sports. That’s one topic that television does very well. In fact, it’s often better on TV than in person for NFL and WWE. In my opinion, and hockey are better in person than on TV.

  4. I have been TV-free since 2007 and I agree that sports are the biggest downside. In fact it’s probably not a savings because I spend more money at sports bars than I would on cable. But there’s another upside to not having a television, and that’s how people interact socially at my home.

    With a TV in a living room, people gravitate towards that even when it’s turned off. Most living rooms with TV’s are oriented so that the television is the centerpiece of the room. Removing the TV changes both the layout of the room and the way people interact in it, and both for the better.

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