last january, we got rid of extended cable. it was the cable company’s idea. although we considered changing our service every time they raised our prices, when they went over the $60/month threshhold, we finally pulled the plug. to be completely upfront, we tried satellite services but could not get a signal in our wooded neighborhood. so we downgraded to the basic cable (13 channels).
because that was 8 months ago, we have had sufficient opportunity to evaluate our decision:
- less channels
- more boardgames
- more family walks (we enjoy the 1.1 mile loop through our neighborhood)
- more playing sports rather than watching them
- more time at the dinner table
- more reading
- more sex
- more money in the savings account
- more time with friends
- more interest in real peoples’ lives (instead of interest in the real housewives of atlanta)
- more watching tv together (less options means that my wife and i tend to watch more of the same shows)
- more time at the gym
- more time on-line (that’s the compensation)
- more appreciation for both political parties (less o’reilly, hannity, olbermann, and stewart)
- less touch with youth culture (i work in a job that requires me to stay current with youth culture… this is the biggest drawback)
let’s be clear. we have not eliminated television completely from our lives. my children (7 and 3) still watch at least one hour per day (30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes after school). i still watch sports when i can. my wife still enjoys her drama in primetime. but our television watching has been drastically reduced.
we are pleased with our decision.
i realize this is probably not for everyone… after all, our kids are young. and i suppose some people are disciplined enough to just turn off the television. but overall, i’d recommend the experiment to anyone.