Updated on 08.26.14

Why You Should Stop Watching T.V. and What to Replace it With

Trent Hamm

Big George is watching youMy wife and I have reduced our television viewing to roughly four hours a week: two hourly dramas and maybe two more hours combined throughout the week. I believe that it won’t be too long before we turn the television off for good. Why? It’s too expensive. Here are ten reasons why.

True Cost of Watching Television

Cable / satellite bills

Our cable bill used to cost us roughly $60 a month. That adds up to $720 a year spent just to get more programming. Three years worth of that and we’re looking at a very nice vacation. Five or six years of that, put into a savings account, potentially replaces a car.


We had two televisions, and they would each be on an average of four hours a day. Given a cost of $0.10 per kilowatt hour, and the fact that the smaller television used about 100 watts and the larger one used about 160 watts, that meant we were using a bit over a kilowatt hour each day. There’s another $40 a year that vanished.


Television programs often create a glamorous image of a life that is far outside the financial capabilities of most people watching. When viewers watch such programs then reflect on their lives, it creates a set of negative feelings. For me, the most prevalent feeling was guilt – I can’t give my family this stuff, I would think. Thus, my sense of self-worth would go down. This would put me in a mindset to be more susceptible to the ….


Those wonderful short little programs that are designed to sell you stuff, period. Even better: they often work in concert with the programs to create a sense of guilt – and they offer a psychological way out. One commercial isn’t powerful, but when you’re inundated with them… very powerful.

Less time for other opportunities

If the television is on for four hours a day, that’s four hours where I could be doing something more constructive with my time, like starting a successful blog (*ahem*) or starting a business or working on a novel or getting household chores done and so forth.


When we spend a lot of time watching television, we put off other things that we should be doing, like paying bills, playing with the kids, and so on. After a while, these things build up and we begin to feel stress in our lives that wouldn’t be there if we didn’t spend so much time watching television. Over time, elevated stress leads to health issues.

Poorer dining habits

Instead of spending time preparing a healthy, inexpensive meal from scratch, we would hurry up and eat an more expensive prepackaged meal (or takeout) so that we could catch certain television programs. These costs added up, not only on our wallets, but also around our waists.

Poor health / obesity

Television is almost always a sedentary activity. Over time, it begins to show. Television is the big reason for the “obesity epidemic,” because Americans simply don’t get the natural exercise from doing non-sedentary activities that they once got. The health costs from this can be tremendous.

Less communication

When the television is on for hours each day, it’s much more difficult to have real conversations with the people in your life. Over time, less communication means weaker relationships with the people you love, and this means that quite often you have to “supplement” the relationship with additional spending.

Less sex

For a married couple, not only is it good exercise (and thus healthy), it’s free and it can help heal a lot of costly relationship issues. With heavy television usage, particularly in the bedroom, couples can fall asleep watching television instead of in each other’s arms. I know it’s true from experience.

Ten Alternatives to Television

If you take a one week challenge to turn off the television, several things will happen, chief among them boredom and a sense of having a ton of “empty” time. Here are ten things to do to fill that time.

Start an exercise plan.

If you didn’t watch Mad Money every night at six o’clock, you might be able to spend that hour walking around the block, doing leg lifts, or doing an aerobic workout. Most exercise routines cost nothing, though it can be more fun if you do something like a DDR exercise regimen (something I’d love to write about, but I can’t really conceive of how it fits on The Simple Dollar).

Prepare meals.

Learn how to cook at home. Prepare some interesting meals. Get a good cookbook and dig in.

Read a book you’ve always wanted to read.

Something like Anna Karenina or The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (both were the “book I always wanted to read” for me at various times). Read something to educate your mind and your spirit.

Start a second business.

I keep this blog running on less time than I used to spend watching television each night and it is earning some money. I also started a computer consulting business, where I fix people’s computers locally. This has opened up two solid revenue streams for me that, added together, approximate what I made from my job before. This has made me feel much less stressed about work – I do my job, but it no longer has the paralyzing “Oh my God what if they downsize?” fear that it used to have.

Be social.

Have healthy, focused conversations with your immediate family. Patch up bruised relationships and friendships. Go out to community events and meet people. Find a group connected to the things you’re interested in and get involved (like a book club).

Take an evening class.

Most universities offer degree programs towards a master’s degree (or higher) in the evenings. See what’s available and get into such a program. It will fill your evenings with food for thought and put you on a much stronger career path.

Learn a new skill or a new hobby.

When my great grandfather died, my great grandmother spent her evenings learning how to paint, something she’d always wanted to learn how to do. She had a ton of natural skill, and as she learned the craft, it began to show. It was something that her married life and television watching had never left time for before.

Take on a major project.

Do something huge that you’ve always wanted to do. I’ve done things like made a homemade bullwhip, learned how to speak Mandarin, and so on, just in my newfound spare time.

Get things done.

When I finally turned off the television and looked around, I saw literally hundreds of little things that needed to be done that I simply hadn’t done. So I started getting them done; I literally spent three days making a giant checklist of every task that would take longer than five minutes, then I just started going through them. I felt so productive while doing this that it was a huge endorphin rush just by itself.

Take care of whatever bothers you.

For me, it was taking a little bit of time each day to meditate and get in touch with my spiritual side, and it made a huge difference in my life.

In short, by cutting out television, you can not only directly save money, but live a much more rich and fulfilling life.

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  1. Chris says:

    Dude, I could not agree with you more. When I think about the time I spend watching TV, it disgusts me sometimes.

    Maybe if I didn’t spend so much time watching TV, my blog could be as popular as yours.


  2. Luke says:

    Dropping the TV is just to far off the beaten path for me. The problem I have is that I want to watch a handful of shows on a handful of stations, yet I still have to pay $65/month for the service. I love watching Discovery HD and Red Sox on NESN HD and a few other stations, yet I am forced to buy 100+ stations of pure crap.

    That has to be some gray area in this. It can’t be either TV or no-TV… I pity the fools who watch TV 50 hours a week. I really do.

  3. laura k says:

    I think there is a type of personality that is more likely to become “addicted” to whatever mindless activity the person happens to do. I do not have a TV, because I used to watch it for no reason at all, even though I only got 2-1/2 channels, and most of the time there really was nothing on. Once I was in grad school, I didn’t have the need for TV so it was easy to give up — I was online all the time doing research for school, so when I took a quick break, I’d just keep surfing.

    After I finished school, I had to consciously break the habit of turning the computer on every night after work, something I had done religiously for 3 years because I always had school work to do. I spend all day at work on the computer — I don’t need another 4-5 hours of it when I get home (and luckily I have enough down time at work to do stuff like read and comment on really great blogs!). Moderation unfortunately does not work well for me. I really have to make it all or nothing.


  4. Keith says:

    There are 22 channels I want to watch at most. One or two of those simply becasue they air one show. Yet I pay for over 200 channels because the bascic plan of 30 channels does not even offer CNN or the main educational channels but 3 shopping channels and 3 religious channels, coincidentally both are trrying to get your money.
    My biggest issue is with the inflated costs for cable. I would like to see an audit that denotes operating costs vs income from each and every service provider. I could have much better health coverage with what I pay for what 20 years ago was free. Complaining to the FCC is a sham because their ranks are filled with execs or consultants from the very industry they are supposed to regulate.

  5. Gal Josefsberg says:

    Luke, I have a similar issue, here’s the solution I found.

    If you’re interested in something, check it out first. Watch an episode at a friend’s house. With the advent of DVD’s, iTunes, DVR’s and a host of other solutions, it’s very easy to find a way to try out a show before you like. If you do like it, get it on DVD.

    If you’re like me and you only watch two to three shows at most, buying on DVD (or off iTunes) usually ends up cheaper. A season will set you back about $40 on average although you can get better deals if you wait a bit. So I end up paying about $80 a year for all the TV I want. I can watch these episodes over and over, plus I can watch them when I want and pause if I need to. Best of all, no commercials!


  6. Gal Josefsberg says:

    mm… posted a comment and it didn’t show up. Trying again, my apologies if I get a double comment.

    Luke, I have a similar problem. I have two or three shows that I want to watch, some of them on cable channels. For example, I love BSG but it’s only available on Sci Fi channel.

    My solution to this is to buy on DVD. A season will usually cost you around $40. So my two shows cost me $80 a year or so. I save the cable bill and I end up with a much better solution.

    I can watch my DVD’s when I want to and pause if I need to. I can watch them multiple times. Best of all, no commercials!

    If there’s a show I want to check out, I can do so via iTunes, a friend’s DVR or borrowing someone’s DVD. Either way, I haven’t paid for cable for five years and I certainly don’t miss it.

  7. Nick says:

    Out of 200 channels on my tv, I only watch (or listen) to one channel to keep in on in the background. I use my time to work on my research.

  8. I have to recommend a hobby of mine that’s turned into a passion in the past several years, Genealogy. It’s challenging, fun, and will most likely be very interesting.

  9. eR0CK says:

    I’m with others … I watch it when it’s raining, maybe when I’m sick, or for a few select sporting events. I have an HD set and while I only watch the 13 HD channels, I’m slammed with a $75 a month cable bill.

    Realistically, I probably watch TV 2 hours a day, but I still manage to read, go to the gym, work a second job, and study for the GMAT :-)

  10. Mark says:

    Do something huge that you’ve always wanted to do. I’ve done things like made a homemade bullwhip, learned how to speak Mandarin, and so on, just in my newfound spare time.

    Wow. If you don’t mind me asking, what methods did you use to learn Mandarin in your spare time? I’ve been living in Taiwan for four years and haven’t found it to be such an easy task.

  11. Jon says:

    I canceled my $75/month cable in February. I have yet to regret it. I have so much more free time now. I signed up for a blockbuster online account so I can watch the occasional TV show and keep a selection of movies around. I’ve still got network channels, but I find them utterly boring and full of crap. I only wish I could get back all that money I wasted over the years on cable.

  12. bruce says:

    I chucked my cable TV service in 2004 for the very reasons stated on this blog. Cable was too expensive and too time-consuming. The cable news channels are a joke and the commercials nowadays are appalling. With constant ads for Levitra, Cialis, Vioxx and the like, corporate mainstream television has become the biggest drug pusher in the world. My life is so much richer and peaceful without the constant barrage of messages TV sends out.

    This is a very timely and thought-provoking article. Hope it gets people to thinking.

  13. Anonymous Donor says:

    I can respect and understand the choice of giving up cable or satellite service. However, I have to question some of your arguments:

    1) Guilt – that’s a personal, psychological issue that not everyone has to deal with.
    2) Commercials – what’s a commercial? I have a DVR
    3) Less Time for Other Opportunities – my wife and I have 4 or 5 shows we watch regularly and because of HBO’s odd schedule only 2 or 3 of those are on at any one time. That’s only 4 to 5 hours a week (excluding football season)
    4) Stress – I think the bigger issue is having the self control to get things done that need to be done instead of watching TV. I’ve found books to be much more distracting than any TV program.
    5) Poor dining habits – again, get some self-control
    6) Poor health/obesity – again, self-control. not getting my lazy butt to the gym is the real problem not the TV
    7) Less communications – this one breaks even. We don’t watch sitcoms so a lot of shows tend to stir up discussions and debates
    8) Less sex – opposite for us. If we’re off doing our individual things, one or both of us will inevitably get distracted and ignore the other until we’re both too tired. Watching TV together can lead to other things after the kids are in bed.

  14. jay says:

    Cable/Satellite, Electricity: Can’t afford it? Get a better job

    Guilt: Quit watching shows you can’t handle.

    Commercials? Buy a DVR/TIVO and shut the hell up.

    Less time?: In the time you wrote this article you could have dome something productive with your time.

    Stress: Try comedy and quit watching soaps you cry baby.

    Poor dining?: Put a tv in your kitchen then you can do both.

    Poor health? Take your fat ass out for a run in the morning then you got all afternoon for your shows.

    Less communication? Maybe you should be chatting with your wife instead of anonymous peers on the internet about your problems

    Less Sex?.. *cough* Viagra?

  15. HappyRock says:


    A wonderful post. My wife and I have yet to be able to pull the plug on cable, even though we have talked about it a few times. We think it would be a good idea. Getting over the hurdle of actually breaking the addiction is the hard part. I will say that with digital cable and a DVR type box or computer, or actually viewing habits have dropped quit a bit. We do not really watch any live TV, and don’t waste 1/3 of our time on commercials.

    For those that only have a few shows they watch, I can recommend what my cube mate has done. He canceled cable, and downloads the few shows that he watches from iTunes. He also got appleTV so that he can easily view them on his TV not the computer.

    Cost savings :

    With Cable = 60$ * 12 = 720$;
    Without cable and 5 shows = (35$ for a season pass) * 5 =~ 175$
    Throw in 90$ for MLB TV for a total of 265$.

    That is a savings of 400-500$ a year depending on your viewing choices, and you can still get all your favorite shows.

  16. Jeremy Stein says:

    TV-free for 6 years an no regrets!

  17. jay says:

    Basically your pissed at your cable/sat company and not TV. I watch a good 5 hours a day and I love it. Working in IT and sitting in front of a computer all day using my brain gets exhausting. I find the best way to “decompress” is to tune out my mind with some South Park or some Heroes or whatever.

    Ever heard of “Free To Air”?, one time upfront cost.

  18. Jonny says:

    I left my TV behind almost 2 years ago when we moved and bought a house…now our entertainment is just watching DVDs from NetFlix at a much lower cost of

  19. Ted says:

    Television is NOT the big problem for obesity in America. It is a contributor, but television wouldn’t do shit with proper diet and exercise.

    Don’t let contributing factors blur the truth.

  20. gabe says:

    I sold my TV about a year ago, and am really happy not to have it. In that time I started reading more, have felt like I have much more time, and get along much better with my girlfriend. We still watch BSG and Heroes from iTunes, have a netflix account where I can get 4 DVDs at a time, and have the $30/mo tmobile hotspot account to use at starbucks. Previously, I used to have comcast with high speed internet, with minimal cable, $60/month–and I had netflix at the time as well. So was spending around $85 per month on tv/movies stuff. Now I spend about $65/month on internet+netflix+itunes purchases–but am much more productive. But yea, I totally agree with the article, my life is better without tv.

  21. Gunnard says:

    Turn off your TV and only watch the shows you want! Check out http://www.dontwatchme.com. Schedule the shows when and where you want.
    I havn’t paid for cable in 2 years, I am much more productive and frankly a better person =)

  22. Joe says:

    I’m with Luke. I basically watch news and DVD movies (plus some “on demand” movies). There are perhaps 2 or 3 channels I watch regularly, and another half dozen that get very occasional viewing. I don’t watch any “regular” series (drama, comedy, etc.) Even when I do watch something, I do other things as well – read or write, usually.

    So, for me only the first two work for me as reasons to turn off TV, and I could cut that down to one if I could just pay for only the channels I do watch.

  23. Ken says:

    One way to do is to get rid of the TVs, but buy an HDTV tuner card for your PC. You can watch (and record) High-Def programming over-the-air with a $30 indoor antenna.

    If you only watch a few programs a week (and they are available over-the-air), this could save you a lot of time and money. The price is right and the quality is outstanding. Also available are USB HDTV tuners that can be easily moved to different computers.

  24. SuperGeek says:

    I haven’t had a tv for 10 years. Bravo!

    There is not only the money, there is the TIME wasted on tv. If you watch an average amount of television, most people spend around 20 hours a week in front of the tv. Most people claim to watch far less, but they are lying to themselves.

    Do the math – that’s around 43-50 SOLID *days* of watching tv if you were to do so concurrently (20 hours a week times 52 weeks in the year). The majority of people watch way more – I think the average for most kids is around 40 hours a week.

    Anyways, if you only watch 20 hours a week, for every 5 years you are alive, ONE ENTIRE YEAR of that is spent in front of a tv, if watched continuously. So by the time you are twenty years old, you have wasted FOUR YEARS of your life! 6 years wasted at 30, and so on…

    Once I did the math, I threw my tv out the next day.

    It’s addicting, by the way – you will have tv withdrawal symptoms for the next month or 2, before you are completely weaned.

    Enjoy that thought!

  25. Mitch says:

    Suggestion for those who want to reduce the TV time: Try putting on some upbeat music or an audiobook instead of the TV some days. Then you can read, work, dance, play….

    I was raised in a household where the TV was always on. When the other four to five people in my family weren’t around, it was just way too quiet without the TV (still happens sometimes), so I’d put a magazine in the CD player. We didn’t have cable until I was in high school, so I can’t help you there, although we did have a lot of Disney on VHS.

    I guess more generally is to look at what roles the TV is playing in your life, vs. what roles you’d like it to play.

  26. enterthepizza says:

    I agree with you that watching television is a waste of time and I stopped doing so 2 months ago. One of the stimuli that triggered it was this article “Television: Opiate of the Masses” (http://www.cognitiveliberty.org/5jcl/5JCL59.htm).

    For the people that are not convinced cutting television I highly recommend reading the article which portrays the negative effects of watching television besides being a waste of time.

  27. andrew says:

    The challenge I face with television is that I tend to flip it on when I’m waiting for something else to happen. I need a better way to fill 20 minutes when I know I can’t get into something deeper. This happens most often when I get home before my wife, but can’t start cooking until I know if she’s working late or not.

    I could probably use those 20 minutes for cleaning, but where’s the fun in that?

    Jay has clearly proven that you can watch five hours of television a day, and still find time to be a dick, though!

  28. George says:

    I love how someone makes a difficult life change such as giving cable/tv and sees a lot of net benefit from it. I love it even more how he can be generous and share the story of it in hopes of sharing that benefit, and have sniveling assholes whine about his self control / habits.
    He wasn’t preaching, and his points about guilt, weight, communication, etc, can all be backed up by research if he so choose to do some googling and link up.
    While some of you are elite and can according to your own comments, ‘handle tv, workout, and have sex anyway’… maybe your tv is what is making you an asshole though?

    For the rest of us… nice read, I’m finding more and more of these. I’ve been without TV for almost 2 years and love it.

  29. Devan says:

    I loved this article. I have lately been struggling with a terrible television addiction and I am desperate to kick it to the curb. I work an eight hour day, five days a week so I often justify the tube after a long day of reading and writing at a computer. I am young so I think that is a bad excuse because I have plenty of energy to still do more after my long day and workout at the gym. I am soon to be moving to a new place sans cable and look forward to trying out some of the suggestions made in the essay. I especially look forward to reading more. It is something I love to do and I think everyone should read as often as they can. I have an 88 year old grandmother who watches television all day long and while her age plays a role I know that she’s far more witty than she acts. Goes to show what may happen to all those tv-heads out there.

  30. tim says:

    I haven’t had cable TV in four years. There’s a set of rabbit ears to get the basic networks and PBS. I doubt I’m missing much by never having watched the Sopranos. I’ve also become less materialistic, less driven by the need for money, and I’ve built up a strong resistance to the propaganda machine.

    Now if only I could build up the strength to pull the plug on the high speed internet connection…

  31. Weakly says:

    I feel the same way about my job — and I’m there eight hours a day. That’s time I could be at home watching TV!

  32. Bob Dillon says:

    I threw out the TV in 1965 – haven’t owned one since. Met a guy wearing an Archie Bunker for President T-shirt in the early 70’s. He was stunned when I asked who Bunker was.

  33. No TV since 2002 says:

    The internet is the new TV. I watch no TV and pay no cable bill, but I spend two or more hours a day dinking around on the internet.

  34. Bryan says:

    Great article. Conveniently, April 23-29 is TV Turnoff Week. So those wanting to get a taste of what life without TV is like without going 100% cold turkey have a good excuse to do so. If nothing else it will help you see that you can cut down.

    Also, here’s another analysis of how TV (and DVRs) can suck your time and other resources away:

  35. Seolyk says:

    Thats all fine and dandy, however… theres this thing called the internet (Im sure that you’ve heard of it as this blog is indeed online) that is more time consuming/life/electricity absorbing by far than television is with many more things to do and catch your attention, all of this with advertisements that you can ignore if you have the right plugins on your browser.

  36. S/100/30 says:

    [i]Dropping the TV is just to far off the beaten path for me. The problem I have is that I want to watch a handful of shows on a handful of stations, yet I still have to pay $65/month for the service. I love watching Discovery HD and Red Sox on NESN HD and a few other stations, yet I am forced to buy 100+ stations of pure crap.

    That has to be some gray area in this. It can’t be either TV or no-TV… I pity the fools who watch TV 50 hours a week. I really do.[/i]

    ITA. I watch only “The Wire”, “The Sopranos”, “Friday Night Lights”, and, increasingly, “30 Rock”, and I’d be skeptical of any argument that claimed these shows aren’t the artistic superiors of 90% of the books and 99% of the internet content being generated today.

    It just annoys me that I essentially have to pay $70/month for four shows.

  37. quoter says:

    ” I suspect I have spent just about exactly as much time actually writing as the average person my age has spent watching television, and that, as much as anything, may be the real secret here.” — William Gibson

  38. anotherinternetaddict says:

    I’m in the UK on study abroad and since they make you pay 140 pounds or something ($280) for a ‘TV license’ I haven’t been watching TV.

    I haven’t been able to do anything productive because I’m always on the Internet!(well, besides traveling and stuff)

  39. Jonathan says:

    I like it! :o) I’m printing this and putting it on the fridge. Just promise me you’ll never do an article like this on computers.

  40. austin says:

    when you read a book you can pause and think about what you are reading, but when you watch TV, you are taken for a ride, no chance given to think, you brain is made to swicth from one topic to another!

  41. LarryH says:

    The wife and I stopped our cable TV service at a fortuitous time – six weeks before the November, 2006 election day – we jumped for joy when the boob tube bickering ceased. Let’s see if we can continue to do without.

    Temptation arises on business trips, because there’s the inevitable “free” TV in the hotel room. The commercials have not been seen three dozen times before, so there’s novelty and subtlety EVEN IN the marketing element! Hark, we’re being drawn toward the treacherous sholes !! Who says Greek tragedies are no longer relevant in our contemporary circumstances?

    Life has definitely improved over the last half year. Who woulda thunk it.

  42. Gabe says:

    I agree 100% with the article. My wife and I gave up cable/satellite 5 years ago and feel we haven’t missed a thing (save the inane commercials, frustration with programming and that lighter wallet sensation). We do, however, subscribe to Netflix and own quite a nice HDTV. Why? Well, in our opinion complete down time is nice every so often (read: once or twice a week) … so why not enjoy the heck out of it?

    As for the no-TV haters … who are you trying to convince? There’s no need to feel threatened because we choose not to watch. You do your thing, we’ll do ours. Easy, no?

  43. varatphong says:

    I just drink tea and use the time to reflect on life – future plans, problems, things to do, etc. It’s amazing the clarity of thought when your not distracted.


  44. Dave says:

    If you still can’t stand being without those few dramas why not just download the episodes? There are plenty of torrent trackers out there with even HDTV quality releases of your favorite shows often updated within the hour of an airing.

    I haven’t had cable television for almost 5 years now and have still managed to keep up with the few series I find worthwhile to watch (Heroes, BSG). The added bonus of downloading the episodes is no commercials! It’s amazing how much more enjoyment I get out of sitting down to watch 40 minutes of tv (the typical length of an hour long episode) and being done so fast I can get up and do other things.

    Good advice overall! :)

  45. RR Nederhoed says:

    Good suggestions.
    Like some of the other commenters, I’ve been TV-less for two years now. I do have a telly, but it’s not connected. So if some program is aired that I don’t want to miss, I have to go through a small hassle before being able to watch.

    Much of the time I gained from kicking the telly, flows to reading on the internet. That can also be addicting. Then again, it feels more of an activity because I decide what I read and learn. Without advertisements.

    The extra time you experience after quitting can be used to learn new techniques related to your daytime job. This way you will more likely excell and increase your chance on a pay raise, or a better job.


  46. Mark says:

    Uh Dude, some substitutes for watching TV (university courses, exercice programs, new hobbies) also cost money – often a LOT more money.

    TV can also be an incredibly effective way to learn about the world (woe be the intentionally ignorant). Similarly it can also be a wonderfully convenient and relatively inexpensive source of entertainment.

    So don’t toss out the baby with the bathwater.

    TV watching, like many other activities that consume our time (such as using the computer, reading, socializing, eating, music listening, sleeping) should be done with some degree of moderation and life balance. All you have done is describe addictive behavior as it happens applies to watching TV (and apparently you and your wife suffer from this addiction). Removing the temptation is certainly one way to dealing with addiction (self-conscious will power is another). But don’t simply single out TV watching. People who are workaholics, blog too often, worry too much, etc. all share the same potential guilt trip of the poor TV watcher. Being consciously selective about how we use our time is the ultimate spiritual enlightenment.

  47. Kastcher says:

    You should write a sequel to this essay – “Ten Financial Reasons To Turn Off Your Computer – And Ten Things To Replace It With”

  48. imonsei says:

    I broke off TV a long time ago. why? because there was nothing on, and my computer more than fills the void by offering me chat with friends and information stuff I always wanted to learn about.
    I do, however, watch some shows, because I pirate (yes I am evil) tv shows that I like. I will continue to pirate the shows because they either don’t get aired in my country or I have to wait up to a year before the TV station buys them. I suspect this will end in some (5-10) years when TV companies open their eyes to TV on demand, which means I get to watch the shows I want when I want. At that time I will gladly pay to watch TV, but for now downloading a show and watching it when I have time, beats having to buy 1 gazilion stations and planning my life around when the show airs, instead of the show planning around my schedule. And that’s what’s important here; Is the TV controlling you or are you controlling the TV.

  49. BillG says:

    I’m not impressed. I learned Mandarin while watching Oprah, playing wii and travelling through Guinea-Bissau. Go big or go home!

  50. Memo E. says:

    I stopped watching tv almost a year ago, don’t miss it at all. Here are some of the benefits:

    *No more cable bills, I have saved almost $300.00 so far.

    *If you don’t want to buy dvds of you favorite tv shows just go to the public library. I’m amazed of how many libraries now have dvds as part of their collections, best thing, it’s completely FREE, you can take them home for 10 days, books and cds are good options.

    *Got involved with the Red Cross, I have more time to help people in my community. Love it!

    Who needs tv???

  51. Jay says:

    I am in my second month without cable and I’m doing fine. I download the shows I want to watch and build up a queue for those times when we have nothing to do. I’m saving over $85/month. And my kids are slowly learning to live without it, though our movie consumption has gone way up. :-)

    Even without service, I’m able to get basic basic channels though cable (local stations only of course) which is all I want because I do like to catch the local news. All in all, not a big deal.

  52. Mlee says:

    Mark is completely on the ball on this one and completely empathize with Luke. TV has some quality programming if you know where to look and moderation is key when dealing with anything that is as distracting as the tube. Also, if one were to have a guest over, not having a TV would probably make things very awkward if you weren’t the most sociable person.

    Money-wise, the TV is not the most economical, but neither are dvd’s of tv series. How often are you gonna watch the same programming over and over? It is rare to find such programming, and you could argue that you would only spend money on those “rare” shows, but you would be missing out on other great programming that is not worth reviewing or purchasing.

    Luke, Baseball has MLB.tv, which can be purchased for $20 a month or ~$120 for the season. The price is steep, but membership could be split with a friend. You would also be able to watch out of market games, not regularly viewable. (you would have to say that you don’t live in the market area also)( not viewing in HD is also a real bummer)

    BTW, Planet Earth on DSHD is quite possibly the most visually stunning show ever.

  53. Brandon says:

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned that cable and internet are often bundled together. If you take cable off, you’ll probably end up paying MORE for JUST THE INTERNET.

    That’s the problem I’m facing right now. We had a special deal for 6 months that let us get the internet alone for 35 dollars. Now that 6 months is up so they want to charge us 50 dollars for internet alone or 51 for cable and internet.

    It’s robbery on the cable companies part. Although, I guess they have to push cable down our throats cause that’s how they get paid… commercials they air on the stations.

  54. JFrattarola says:

    My wife and I have been television-free for about seven years, now. While it was definitely a great decision, it has some drawbacks (which can also be seen as positive, depending on your outlook).
    For instance, if you don’t get a newspaper, you could be in for a shocker like we were on September 11th, 2001, as we drove in to work (we worked in Washington DC) and wondered why everybody was pouring out of the city.

    We still watch movies via the Mac, but we are now thinking of moving that out of the main room, since it is just as addicting to stick in an old movie or download last night’s episode of Lost.

  55. jmange says:

    My finace and I haven’t watched tv for over a year now. We have on but only for watching dvds once in a while. Though I can’t say that were not couch potatoes because a lot of that spare time goes to surfing the internet.

  56. anonymous says:

    TV in the GYM….
    solves the problem…
    he he…

  57. G says:

    Culture wars are nasty. How you spend your time is intrinsic to every choice you make.

    I have reduced my TV watching significantly, and go with DVD’s rather than broadcast. I also read extensively.

    However, the requirement that we be constantly entertained is still a factor in both of these, that is, the idea that we MUST be entertained at all times has become embedded. That idea is deeper than the behavior of watching the TV or reading.

    With regards to using the saved time to work out- I live close to where I work so I can bicycle or bicycle + transit commute. I no longer need a gym membership, which saves me money and time. It also has the advantage of reducing traffic congestion and green house gases. Unfortunately, it will increase my life span so my greenhouse gas production (for electricity and what I eat) will likely be larger for having lived longer. The costs for maintaining a bike are significantly less than for an automobile. And several sites have crunched the numbers and shown that cycling is the safest individual transportation mode. One other factor you may not be aware of- the air inside your vehicle may likely be worse than outside: http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/indoor/in-vehsm.htm

    That is, cycling can be very safe for increasing your lifespan, and saving you money. (I no longer own a car, but have access to one)

  58. Mulder says:

    You don’t necessarily have to give up TV to save money. If you’re a cable customer now, it may be that your cable provider is required by their franchise agreement to provide the local broadcast channels for your area whether or not you subscribe to their service–that is, as long as your TV is connected to the cable outlet, they must give you those channels.

    In apartment buildings, there are usually two cable outlets: one for the “cable service” and the other that just gives the broadcast channels, although you may have various levels of snow on some or all of them.

    To check this, call your city government to talk to the people responsible for regulating the cable company and find out. If they are required to provide the broadcast channels, then you can kiss them good by and still watch the network programs you like, as well as the news. If not, you can always “downgrade” to just the broadcast channels for cable service.

    Otherwise, if you don’t have cable or satellite, you probably have an antenna, so you can get the local channels free, anyway.

  59. artist says:

    I am going, not to watch TV.
    Let’s see.

  60. Keith says:

    I’d like to elaborate on the financial benefits of avoiding TV, particularly commercials. We dropped TV about 9 years ago when our children were young. We noticed the first Christmas afterward that our kids weren’t asking for every toy they had seen advertised. Since they had not seen the ads, they didn’t want the junk. We concentrated on musical instruments and other gifts with long-term benefits.

    In addition, when the TV disappeared, the kids mmediately started reading more, and their SAT scores have earned thousands in college scholarships.

    I’ve never regretted life without TV.

  61. It all comes down to doing everything in moderation. The issue for me is what I could be doing that would make our lives better, just as you suggested.

    Well done.

  62. Moon says:

    You know, if you sit in your apartment with the lights out, you save a TON of money. Hell, get rid of your apartment and sit in the park! That saves even MORE money!

  63. Mark N says:

    I like the advise you give here. If people would think like this more regularly I think both this world and their lives would be much improved.

  64. I’ve been living without a TV for almost two years now. There are a few shows that are worth watching (on the computer with a DVD drive) but overall not having a TV is great. It certainly allows me to get more stuff done during the day when I would have vegged in front of the TV instead.

    Now, if only I can find the strength to live without a computer…

  65. The Middle Way

    Although not ready to give up sofa-based entertainment completely due to our love of movies, we swapped our cable service for a Netflix account. It is far less expensive than the usual cable packages. Our $20 per month subscription lets us have 3 movies at a time, so there’s always SOMETHING to watch if we’re craving a cinema-fix.

    Other benefits:
    1) We forego theaters and save all that cash
    2) No burning time and gas driving to and from the video store and no late fees
    3) Complete content control. We mix it up with documentaries, 1-hour made-for-TV shows (like Def Poetry Jam from HBO), and regular flicks.
    4) Timing control. WE decide when the show starts, so can take the time to make a nice dinner or pause it early for the night if we’re tired

    I should mention that by stopping cable we end all TV service due to poor reception in our ‘hood. So, no access to commercials and other TV crrrrrap.

    The one thing I miss is Jeopardy.


  66. Miss Vicki says:

    She The Universe is Good and I always know when she has Spoken. I’m proud to say, television is just about completely out of my life. I left cable because of rates and everything was basically a repeat. Switched to Directv both receivers broke down in less than 90 days. Constantly on the phone.

    I dont know why I would get upset, becuz my tele stay on 2 to 3 hours a night. I guess becuz of my grandbabies…but they too will soon learn a better way.

    I’m glad that I am not by myself — Screw TV!

  67. MG says:

    Definitely see your point, but if you’re a huge fan of a sport (like hockey for me, and somewhat baseball), it is very difficult. Now, depending on the day, I can watch a baseball game (3 hours), a hockey game in the east (2.5 hrs), and a hockey game in the west (2.5 hrs). Granted, this actually happens very rarely (especially the western game), but when it does I don’t think I’d be able to resist for 10,000 dollars.

  68. Jake says:

    One way to help you quit is to move your TV out to the garage. That way you still have it if you want to go back to TV watching, but the thought of moving it back into your house should prevent you from caving in unless you REALLY need to watch TV.

  69. Tom says:

    I only get HD cable during football season. Two seasons ago the bill was 70 bucks. Last season I was able to negotiate it down to 50. The rest of the year I use Netflix for mindless entertainment.


  70. Jason says:

    AMEN! I have been cable free since January 2002, and honestly, I am missing out on nothing of real importance! You are so correct and brave to denounce the corporate profit-serving medium of commercial TV. I am no Commie, but I believe it is not right to manipulate and control people through ‘advertising’ and ‘marketing’, and it is immoral to manipulate people just for the purposes of making money. That is all comercial TV / cable is about. Also, I refuse to financially support the cable companies that profit off of the distribution of pornograpy, e.g. Comcast. They are the ‘pimps’ of the 21st century! Thanks again for your post!

  71. monkpalmer says:

    Did you really learn Mandarin? I mean really learn it? I heard that was rather hard.

  72. Jay Wilson says:

    I gave up on cable a few years ago when I moved out of my parent’s home and decided that the 70 bucks or so that would be required of me to watch the 4 channels that I actually liked was way too much. This was one of the best moves I’ve ever made. I started enjoying the outdoors more, reading more, writing more – TV is just way too passive.

  73. m00se says:

    I was “cable free” for about 3 years and it was great. However since my cancer diagnosis I’ve gotten cable and it has been a stress reliever. I’m exhausted, and mentally fried from dealing with a full time job, endless medical testing, piles of complicated medical bills and insurance papers, so blithely picking up a new language or starting a major project which is mentally taxing isn’t really something I feel up to doing. Sometimes even reading isn’t engaging enough to keep my mind off of all the things that need to be taken care of or might need to be dealt with down the road, but bad TV will do it every time.

    I think it’s easy to demonize something like TV watching, but just like anything else, in moderation just about anything is okay.

  74. stef says:

    I’ve stopped watching a lot of tv and after a while, you wonder why yu watched so much of that crap. You don’t even think anymore about watching the shows yu liked to watch(like smallville or naruto). And those were good shows, but when yu stop watching then, yu eventually stop thinking about them.

    Yu also do not learn about the new super hot shows that are coming so all in all, yu’r off yur addiction pretty fast. TV zombie is not healty physically and mentally for anyone on this planet. Its only there so a tv exec can buy a new ferrari this year!

    See ya!

  75. Keith says:

    Are you nuts? Cable tv is an incredible deal. My bill is $60 a month. That’s $2 a day!!! I’m practically an expert on anything known to mankind BECAUSE of all the tv I’ve watched. I grew up in a house with a giant library of books that my parents and brothers all read of them. I didn’t. I know as much about what they’re into as they do, and I NEVER read books or newspapers. I know more about the world because of the internet than any newspaper could do. There has never been a discussion where I couldn’t hold my own, or at least not sound completely ignorant, and it’s ALL BECAUSE I’VE WATCHED THOUSANDS OF HOURS OF TV. Combined with high speed internet, tv is ridiculously cheap for what you get.

    I also had plenty of time to learn another language (Japanese), play guitar, play sorts, hike, kayak, go out to eat, socailize, etc, etc,. Of all the things for people to complain about in terms of saving money cable tv shouldn’t even be on your radar. Your car and your home. If you’re home right now…stop…look around you and out in your driveway…run some simple numbers in your head what you’re paying…money pits. Did you really need that house or car or could you have saved 10 thousand or so on the home and a hundreds, if not thousands, for “cheaper” ones? If that’s too painful… Look at what you eat for take-out and buy at grocery stores. You can easily save $2.00 a day (the cost of cable tv 200 channel package) by insignifant adjustments on your grocery bill or take-out.

    The only complaint I have about tv is the garbage that has shockingly infiltrated the typical cable package in the last decade. There should be an a la carte system where you choose what channels you want or those who crave crappy tv like all those MTV/VH1/WB/E/Spike (as well as the useless Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC) type channels should have to pay EXTRA if they really want them. Those channels are 99% garbage that should be in some premium package for those in the population that want that kind of garbage.

  76. Jerry says:

    Not having cable has cost me more money than having it! My wife and I had to hit the local sports bar to catch a game. Now if I only go to the spors bar 4 times a month, at roughly $25 with tip, I’ve now watched less sports, and its cost me more money. Yea!

  77. blossomteacher says:

    My husband and I have canceled our cable, too. We decided after Christmas that we were just using TV to channel surf because we didn’t want to use 2 watts of brain power to decide what we wanted to watch. But instead of going cold turkey and canceling through the cable company, we just unplugged the cable from the back of the TV. It took us 2 months to completely quit, but it was because a friend came over, thought the loose wire was because we’d moved something, and plugged our cable back in! It took us 2 weeks after that to unplug it again :) That was early March, and we haven’t missed it since. We have been spending more time on the internet, so that’s the next addiction to break :)

  78. Ryan says:

    We have been TV-Free for over a year now and we couldn’t be more happy. After the first month you will wonder when you ever had the time to watch TV in the first place.

  79. John Jackson says:

    I need to watch my sports.

  80. Maddie's Daddy says:

    Am I the only one that finds it ironic that there is a Comcast Advertisement at the bottom of the article?

  81. Great reasons to turn it off! We are TV-free too (over five years now) and it is great!

    You and your readers might be interested in my “TV Turn-Off Week Blog Challenge.” I am trying to encourage people to turn off the tube for a week and write about it! Anyone who is interested can check it out here:


    Even if you don’t want to do it, it would be great if anyone would like to help spread the word.

    You came up with some fantastic reasons that I hadn’t thought of. I am going to write a post linking to this one if that is OK!

  82. Morgan Welt says:

    Well if cable’s got you down, don’t frown – there’s always http://www.freetube.us.tc or the ever so popoular http://www.youtube.com. Youtube is random videos obviously and FreeTube 1st link is a site that streams real live telvision broadcasts in real time so you can watch live tv for free on your computer (no downloads)

  83. elsaurabh says:

    I am in my 4th month of being completely television free, way before this blog entry was aptly written. The benefits have been many. I am an avid reader now and my health (because I bike everywhere every chance I get) is better than it has been in a long time. Anything I need to watch is available on the internet. The “need to watch” has now gone down to the bare essential (soccer and news headlines). My Economist subscription is all the in-depth analysis I need. Now and then, I catch a few minutes of the sensational news casts that are on some tv in a public place. It reminds me how watching the breeze through the trees from my backyard is far more intellectually stimulating.

  84. Romil says:

    Very true. I’m disconnecting cable now .. but internet/i-tv is equally addicting for me! ..atleast i’ll get some work done online .. thnks ..

  85. Lori says:

    I agree 100%, after reading this the first time we cut our TV time down to 2 hours per week per person, including our children. We are now a much happier family. We spend more time doing real activities together. It is wonderful. Thank you!

  86. Rob in Madrid says:

    My Wife says she’s a TVaholic and proud of it. I miss it when she leaves because I’m so used to her choosing what to watch while I surf the net for endless hours.

    I can’t help but comment that most people who said that they turned off TV simply switched their viewing habits to the internet and DVDs, Besides that what is the difference between sitting in front of the TV for hours and the computer.

    My wife made a very valid point which Jay mentioned after 10-12 hours of stress pressure and hard work she wants to come home and relax and in particular the last thing she want’s to do is spend 4-5 hours surfing the net (like me) as she does that all day.

    What bothers me most is the judgemental attitude that people take about TV watching, if you don’t watch it great, but don’t make it out to be evil because others do.

    Also we don’t have kids, if we did we would adjust.

    BTW what I really miss about TV in Spain is the lack of decent documentary channels, I can spend hours watching Discovery Biography etc.

  87. Tola says:

    I’m ditching my cable just because:

    (1) I hardly ever use it
    (2) Hockey and Basketball seasons are over
    (3) I’m broke as hell

    Those are in ascending importance to me.

  88. Domi says:

    You shouldn’t discount the relaxing effect of watching tv. I have fribromyalgia (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome plus bone and muscle pain). I got a satellite dish a few years back because I needed to watch something at night when the pain would make sleep impossible. I discovered that watching tv would relax my body allowing me to fall asleep. Now the pain is not so bad but when I’m very tired watching tv in the evening is about the only thing that doesn’t make it worse. Believe me the money I pay monthly for my subscription is really worth it from my point of view.

    Watching shows I’m passionate about requires more of an effort for me so I buy the DVDs and watch them when I do not feel so tired.

  89. Monica says:

    I already don’t get cable, so I don’t watch TV (only DVDs). But a lot of the negatives about the TV also apply to the Internet (wasting time, etc.)). What I would like to know is how can I deal with my Internet “addiction” without canceling the Internet? I need the Internet for email and so on. But I don’t like it how I sit down to check my email and end up spending over an hour looking at stupid things rather than doing something more productive and/or enjoyable?

  90. Gerardo says:

    congratulations for the 20 suggestions. We decided not to have a TV at home. For the news, the newspaper is better; in the evening we can have a full-time sharing about the happenings of the day… not only in the intervals which the ads allowed us. Whenever we want to watch a film we use the computer. Sometimes for the so called “big events” we would like to have the TV, but we also realised that the final match of foot-ball can take place even if we do not watch it! Even without being so radical, I agree with Gunnard: Turn off your TV and only watch the shows you want!

  91. MissGoldBug says:

    This was an excellent post. I haven’t had cable in 3 years and I have been without a TV for the last three months. I don’t miss it!

    You’re right, you do read a lot more, sleep better, converse more with the ones you love.

    My boyfriend and I went to Chicago for a weekend where there was a television in the room and I found myself ignoring him in coversations so I could watch some rerun of a movie that I already seen 10 times!

    When I realized that, it was a powerful moment!

    No TV in my house again, ever.

  92. Juan says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I have a TV without cable and only watch local programming with an antenna.

  93. Brettro says:

    I finally convinced my wife to cancel our cable a few months ago and not only has the extra budget room been great, neither of us has even missed our cable.

    I’ve been using the extra time to cook my lunches for the week, clean the apartment, exercise, etc and I can’t even think of anything I’m really missing on TV.

  94. Sarah says:

    Weŕe soon to be moving, and we have decided not to pay for cable (which I like more than dvds) in our new house until our consumer debt is paid off.

  95. Brian says:

    I have the most difficulty with television when I’m visiting someone (in their home, office, hospital room). With the TV on, we can’t talk about anything meaningful because one or both of us are distracted by the TV.

    999 times out of 1000, visiting with a real live person is more profitable (in any sense of the word) than watching the TV. Please turn the thing off when you have company!

  96. Lee says:

    I saved a TON of money by throwing out our TV 26yrs ago when my son was three and my daughter one yrs old.

    Instead of becoming vidiots, they found interesting way to entertain themselves, with my son becoming an accomplished guitarist and my daughter an artist.

    Moreover, since they had nothing to distract them from their studies, they studied. My daughter was an A student throughout her academic career (wait, she got ONE B) and my son did very well, too. THEREFORE, they got merit scholarships to college and each came out with only about 10,000 in debt.

    My son made law review in Law School and will very likely start off earning a TON of money.

    My daughter (beautiful, affable, intelligent, learned) felt ever more drawn to prayer, to a contemplative life, for there was nothing to distract her from the love of God. She entered a convent and I do not have to pay for a wedding!

    Of course, I am thrilled that she is a nun for all the right reasons, but it is a fact, nevertheless, that throwing out the TV saved me tons and tons of money. How was it that I, a messenger, was able to send my kids to the best schools in the city and to one of the best universities in the country? The blessing of God, that’s how, because I obeyed Him when he inspired me to throw out the television years and years ago.

    Throw, throw, throw it out! It is your worst enemy. It is a viper in your home, a drain on your marriage, the enemy of your children, a plague on your future. Push it down the stairs, smash it with a hammer and mail the pieces to the networks. Then rejoice and be glad because good things are coming your way- provided that you pray, of course.

  97. JoshuaPerry says:

    Ah, but the user advocates computer usage, which is generally for dribble. How many hrs/day do you use the computer. How much of it is reading. How much of it is the computer the only light on, burning your eyesight. How many take a break every 30 mins to reduce eye strain. Eh>? How many have gotten trapped playing mindless(WOW

  98. Arjun says:

    Monica, I have the exact same problem. I try to use the net to handle my own life’s needs and end up spending hours surfing around, especially forums and boards that have stuff that really interests me. For the internet, I simply can’t pull the plug altogether – it’s going to have to be about self-control. For starters, I’ve shortcircuited some of the websites I used to spend time on by routing them all to my own machine (by editing my /etc/hosts file on my Mac). That’s helped some.

  99. Elisa says:

    I have to tell you that, you can do so much more with your life if you get rid of the idiot box. You can actually get a degree if you invest a couple of hours into studying.

  100. Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings says:

    TV Free for four years and counting! No regrets here.

  101. Rodolfo says:

    I stopped watching TV for about 10 years.
    It saved me a lot of useful time.

  102. 42 says:

    I stopped all but the most basic cable TV service months ago, because it was cheaper to keep the base service and internet than internet alone for whatever screwed-up reason. Since then I haven’t watched a single program over cable; I save up eps of Heroes, Eureka, etc. I’ve downloaded then watch em all one night a month or so via Apple TV (paid for already with cutting the cable channels). then I delete them. no ads either.

    buying DVDs of shows is a waste of money as you’re very unlikely to watch these more than once. it took months to go through the entire series of Six Feet Under from the video store but to buy the whole thing is like $225. Great series but I don’t plan on ever watching it again.

    there’s a lot of quality shows, but the notion of reserving every Monday at 9pm for months to watch one is very 1962. too bad the TV empire doesn’t understand that. this is why people are downloading shows. I can watch Heroes at the official time and deal with the ads, or download it the next day with no ads. easy choice.

  103. Bobbi says:

    Haven’t had cable since fall of 1999. I do splurge a bit when I visit my parents or stay in a hotel, but basically don’t miss it at all. We do watch a little tv. But often find there is nothing on and so choose to do something else.

  104. PiFreak says:

    So prettymuch, I’ve seen all the cable shows I really need to, and I’ve realized I don’t need them all. I have an outstanding dvd collection of my favorite show (whose line is it anyway), with well over 100 episodes, so when I’m out of my parents house, I’ll just need those, LOST and Simpsons to keep me tuned in. Aside from the constant looking for new whose lines to record, and music videos, I don’t use cable for much of anything. I watch an hour or two a week, and less during the school year.

  105. Kelly says:

    I cannot believe that some people are proud of not watching television. It is not evil! Television is an important medium for information and entertainment. What’s so wrong with spending your time watching political-analysis shows, or programs on the history channel, or watching thrilling dramas on Monday nights? Is wasting time on the internet any different?

  106. Shek says:

    I am moving out of an apartment that I share with a room mate and moving into a single bedroom apartment by myself. I will be living alone for the first time and while making a budget for the next year, I factored in a HD tv and HD channels to fill in the time and not feel lonely.

    I guess, after reading this article, I will stick to my 15 inch CRT tv, plug in to local channels and spend more time with my dog and starting a small photography business.

  107. Newbie says:

    This is my first post here, been reading for a few weeks. First, just wanna say that I love this blog and found myself suggesting your ideas to others.

    In terms of TV, I grew up in a house where it was on 24/7. Literally. Everyone had “insomnia” and couldn’t sleep without it (Or was it because of it . . . ?) but when I went to college, I got far too busy to watch. I then moved abroad and didn’t speak the language. That’s 7 years without TV. Loved it.

    But, I’ve been back in the US for a year now and am surprised to find myself watching TV. (Wow, and how that has changed! Tivo? DVR? HD?) I don’t own a TV, but I watch a few shows via internet. It’s nice to not be completely out of the pop culture loop. And I love that I can watch it when I want (free too!). I’ll usually watch 3-4 episodes at one sitting, and that happens just 1-2/ month. like watching a movie.

    Now, if I could just limit the internet the same way . . . That’s the TV of our generation.

  108. Nick says:

    Here’s another good reason to turn off your TV: your kids will be brighter! Just saw yet another study, from a Parenting magazine article cited at http://www.babiesandtv.com, that drives home the point that nothing teaches a child better than interaction with a loving parent or other concerned adult. And speaking of saving money, think of what you’ll save in private tutoring for your otherwise TV-stunted kid later on!

  109. Chere says:

    I couldn’t agree more. My husband and I shut off the cable 4 years ago and, after the weird transition period, can’t imagine how I used to fit in 2 hours of Law & Order everyday plus hockey every other night! My solution for occasional entertainment is Netflix. I never see commercials and I tend to do crafty things while I watch to maintain productivity. Haven’t worked in learning another language yet but…well, we’ll see.

  110. sam says:

    It may be hard to believe that watching TV can damage our health, but there are many reasons that this is true. The obvious one is that time spent watching TV means less time spent doing physical activity, and inactivity is definitely very damaging to one’s health. Many people watch over four hours of television a day, and that is frequently in addition to sitting at work for eight hours! The more the TV time, the fatter we are. Childhood TV watching is clearly linked to childhood obesity.

    Evening television disrupts sleep, as the light emitted from the television is too stimulating to our systems. So get that television out of the bedroom! Our night-time rest and repair hormones like melatonin don’t get activated if there is light flickering from the TV. And if you turn on the TV in the middle of the night, those ever-important-for-health hormones get shut off, unable to complete their overnight tasks of immune-system building and tissue repair. To get adequate repair time, we need 8 to 10 hours of complete darkness each night. Amazingly, the sleep cycles of children, even those under the age of 2, are disturbed by as little as an hour of TV a day. When children’s sleep schedules are disrupted, usually so are the parents. Poor sleep has real health consequences over time.

    Television viewing is particularly unhealthy for children for a variety of reasons. Using a television set as a babysitter may seem easy and be extremely tempting, but it is important to remember that television is a form of mind control which can have a huge influence on the attitudes of children as they grow. Research has shown that children are very susceptible to television commercials, making them more materialistic than they otherwise would be, negatively affecting their food choices, making them more likely to smoke as teens and go into debt as adults, and increasing their reliance on pharmaceutical drugs. Watching television also tends to make kids more aggressive by desensitizing them to violence, and surprisingly, makes them more susceptible to injury, probably because they do not realize that an activity is risky after watching TV characters continually surviving incredibly risky behaviours.

    Weaning oneself and the kids off TV is tough, but families that have managed don’t regret it. They have much more quality time with each other, improving their family relationships. They are healthier and happier, and the kids are better adjusted socially. So, either go cold turkey and get rid of the television sets in your home, or remove them from the bedrooms first, and then gradually decrease viewing times by planning other activities instead, until the TV is never on. Then get rid of it.

  111. atron says:

    I stopped getting TV reception about a year ago (I know I could just buy rabbit ears, but I didn’t want to). I’m so much happier! More time to take classes, read and get fresh air. I also don’t get that “drugged” feeling that I used to get from watching an hour and a half of Fox before going to bed.

  112. Steve says:

    I often feel guilty knowing that those $50 a month go mainly to pay for the salaries of people in the entertainment industry. In other words I’m slowly feeding the beast that’s killing us.

    The only complaint I have on this blog is that it jumps on the “Books smart, TV dumb” bandwagon. Simple fact of the matter is that I could go to any bookstore and buy thousands of pounds of mindless garbage or I could scan my channels and find a dozen programs at any one time that have intellectual value. I’m also going to go out of a limb and suggest that most written and video media suffer a fundamental flaw in that they are one-way and non-interactive and that is a major limitation on anything that attempts to make the claim that it’s mentally stimulating.

  113. Its funny when people use the excuse of they don’t have enough time. But i think that if people really sat down and looked at where most of their time was being spent, they would be pretty dam amazed.

    Even if we just watched one hour of television each day thats still 365 hours that we have lost. Thats 15 days straight of just being in front of the tv in year!

    You could totally use those 15 days on a holiday, or dedicated to learning someone new and exciting, or spending time with your loved ones.

    Thats not to mention that most of us probably spend more than one hour each day watching tv.

    Thanks for the post … Its just a reminder how much we should value our time here and why we should make the most of what we have got

    Young Investor


  114. Sagitta says:

    What about playing games like World of Warcraft? My fiancee has been playing for 20 hours or more a week for the past year. I keeo telling him there are so many better things he could be doing with his time. I think many of these rules apply to gaming as well.

  115. Dana says:

    It’s amazing how this becomes a huge moral debate where each side’s so sure the other side’s going to hell, metaphorical or real. My own thoughts:

    1) OMG SOMETHING MIGHT MAKE YOU FAT. I’d rather be fat than get my jollies out of judging other people by how well they adhere to the insurance actuarial height/weight tables. Thanks anyway.

    2) I think parents let their kids get addicted to TV because we’re stuck doing it all ourselves and we need SOMETHING to help keep the kids engaged so that we can, y’know, keep the house clean enough so CPS doesn’t take said kids. If we were still living as tribal people it wouldn’t be as big of a deal. Frankly, there are no children in this neighborhood that I would want playing with my daughter, nor playgrounds I’d want her to play at, and we have lots of sex offenders living nearby… the TV seems safer, somehow.

    (Don’t start in with the throwing solutions at me business. I’m not *stupid.*)

    3) With all that I still think the TV’s evil, and evil in a different way than getting addicted to books or the Internet. With the ‘net in particular, I can choose what I look at to a much greater degree than I could with television, even if I’m only watching DVDs (and that’s all we watch; I will NOT shell out the bucks for cable TV even if I could afford it). Also, books are easier to put down and come back to later. And we are more a visual species than a literate one; we were looking at real things like animals, plants, and other people long before we invented writing. We are therefore greatly influenced by imagery. That’s what TV gives us. That’s what makes it so insidious. You think the advertisers haven’t figured this out? They shell out billions a year to pay for little snippets of film to influence us even though they tell us at the same time that TV doesn’t really influence anything. Whatever.

    But knowing it’s evil and giving it up are two different animals, I’m sorry to say. I want to accomplish that this year because I worry what it’ll do to my daughter in the long run, but it’s going to be… interesting. She has just hit her terrible threes, for one thing…

  116. henry says:

    i really love tv i dont see why to turn it off….

  117. thehungrydollar.com says:

    It’s amazing how much more you can accomplish once you give up television!

  118. Great article – I think that if and when someone decides to cut TV they need to know why they are doing it. Some have posted comments about it being a matter of self control and that TV isn’t that bad. My point is this – if you don’t know why you are cutting TV then don’t cut TV until you have a valid reason. Any of the benefits outlined in the article are valid reasons. All you need is one valid reason – more time, more money etc.

    I think the key point in the article for me was the stress inducing commercials that make people feel inferior and want to go out and accumulate useless junk for the sake of keeping up with the Joneses. There is an easier way. Turning off your TV will let your mind detox from the useless commercials and free up your mental capacity for much more important things.

  119. Sarah says:

    We are studying Mandarin using chinesepod.com. It’s not that we “have learned” it, but there is a way to work on it anyway! (It’s a great use for commute time if you can manage it.)

  120. partgypsy says:

    I’m with you that most Americans watch too much tv. The only show my husband and I regularly watch as well is Lost.
    However one negative thing about not watching tv and in particular cable tv is missing out on water cooler/popular culture currency. There has been a number of times where people would start a conversation about the Sopranos or the Daily show and I would have to confess I didn’t see it, so they would just continue the conversation with someone else while I stand dumbly by.

  121. AJ says:

    It was serendipity that led me to this blog and this post today. I finally got the okay from my DH to pull the plug on our dish. I promised him that I would get something setup for him when football season starts again but that is the only time he even cares really. He and I are both too busy to get sucked into the TV, but it does happen occasionally. I love HGTV and watching all the decorating/remodeling shows and if I happen to turn it on that channel on the weekend my day is shot before I know it! I only have one show that is an absolute must to watch – Know the Cause with Doug Kaufman – but now he has it available to watch on his website. DH watches shows on Discovery channels, mostly as he is going to bed, but that is the only time he really sits down to watch.

    Now the kids are another story! I have 3 kids, 13, 11, and 4…and they all have different patterns. But the 11 y/o is a TV Zombie! If it is on anywhere she can’t take her eyes off it. She has such a short attention span…Oh it is the biggest aggravation I have with her! So I definitely believe that pulling the plug on TV will be good for her. She is the only one who whined about it when I announced my plan.

    I do think that there are tons of great programming out there, but I hate the propaganda that comes along with it and the fact that you can just hit the on button and zone out to anything at anytime 24/7. Makes it too easy to fall into unhealthy habits.

    I love Heroes, Ghost Whisperer, and many other series, but I found them available from Netflix so we can just watch them all at our leisure.
    Also there are alot of sites like Disney Channel and Fox that will have the episodes online a few days after airing…so there is still things to watch…we just have better control of it.

    I can’t wait!!! It is funny how controversial this is…I remember hearing stories about when my father was very young that his family was the first to have a TV in their little rural community and how people would gather to their home to watch…now we have 4 tvs in our house.
    When I go to my father’s house now you can hardly have a conversation with anyone because he is always watching something on one or both of the tvs (yes at the same time, one in one room, one big screen in the other room, set up so he can place himself where he can see both is so desired…) and he will just keep turning up the volume because I geuss he can’t hear over us…I think it is so rude. And when the kids go there to visit they of course have full access so they come home all zombiefied from excess tv consumption. I try to limit it at my house, but soon that will be much much easier.

    I think we need to spend more time living life and not watching it!!!

  122. MoneyBlogga says:

    As long as I can watch Gordon Ramsay on YouTube, the TV could explode for all I care. Ramsay rules! He’s the sole reason I pay the cable bill but I am thinking I can get my fix on the internets. Cool.

  123. metadet says:

    I had satellite for a couple years and was fed up with the lousy programming, so I cancelled it.

    My flatscreen does not have a TV tuner, so…no TV at all now.

    More free time now, no surfing 200 channels of junk and finding nothing worthwhile. I am reading more, among other activities. I don’t miss TV a bit.

    Netflix is far cheaper and I create my own programming.

    As for Mandarin, the best method I have found is Pimsleur. I have also used their Vietnamese with good results.

  124. Carrie says:

    I wholeheartedly support turning off your TV. It’s amazing how much TV permeates your life. My husband and I have made an effort to turn off our TV for the entire year and the results have been amazing…I can’t imagine life with TV anymore because our lives quickly filled with other things to do. Now, we don’t have the time to watch TV!

  125. When I was in university I gave up cable. After about a week I didn’t miss it any more. I was out with friends, reading books, and just enjoying life.

  126. Fern says:

    I agree that spending $60 or more on TV is ridiculous. But if you can’t go cold turkey, you can still indulge and spend far less.

    I’ve never subscribed to anything but basic cable, which mainly means i get good reception of the major networks. All i pay is $15 a month. A lot of the programming is junk but i admit to being an Idol fan and i watch a lot on PBS.

  127. Kristin says:

    I gave up TV for Lent about 6 years ago, and have never gone back to it to the extent I used to. I still watch some, mostly sports and the local news. My husband, whom I met after I gave up TV, is a complete addict!

    Any tips on how to “cure” him?

  128. John Stein says:

    I have read some great tributes to using less TV.
    I say using because it truly becomes a addiction. My reasons for change are similar but my main reason was Comcast. I was paying for highspeed internet and cable with HBO. About $120.00 a month and after another pending increase and a billing issue and arguing with braindead idiots about bills I had already paid I said to hell with it, turned in the modem and cable box and I must admit felt like a fool when leaving Comcast’s Office and realizing how much money I had pissed away with people who valued my business NONE! It was hard I admit at first, I missed the travel channel and Fox News. I got rabbit ears and there are a couple of shows I watch. I find now we rent more movies through Netflixs and with my dslextreme for $12.99 I have found plenty of news to fix that need. I have found I am watching much less TV but better quality, a good movie is hard to beat! But I have stopped the mindless zombie activity of constant TV watching, I have my money and the jerks at Comcast don’t and I feel less depressed without the constant flow of negative 24hr news. It’s simple Cable Companies, Satellite Companies and going to the Movies simply puts money in the pockets of people who screw us with inflated prices and treat us like crap. Save your money and enjoy your life!

  129. Anon says:

    I have not watched TV in ten years.

    Thank goodness.

  130. matt says:

    i agree in general. however… the tv is the biggest form of media ( besides the internet).. and there IS some value in knowing whats going on in the world. USE technology to your advantage (wisely), dont shy away from it.

  131. Kennedy says:

    In five years, most people in this country will not be able to afford TV. This economy is horrible.

  132. psalm3rd says:

    Way back in the early 90’s when I was stationed in Germany, I spent 3 frantic hours one night trying to get my tv reception back so I could tape the soaps while I was in the field. Suddenly I had a vision of myself. It was late and I hadn’t even eaten, I was so desparate for TV. On that night, I turned the TV off and haven’t looked back. My dd is 10 and has grown up without cable in our home. Though she does like to visit relatives with cable, she knows how to entertain herself without it. I can only imagine the money I have saved as a result. We manage to keep abreast of what is going on from radio (free) and internet (about $36) and we can choose when and what we want to see through Netflix, instead of having it chosen for us.

  133. Amy says:

    We also canceled our cable and now use free digital OTA cable. Our reception is sharper than our old cable and we watch our old cable favorites vis Hulu or Netflix.

    Our digital box only cost $19 at Circuit City (using a $40 coupon we received from the digital cable transition site.

    We blogged about our experiences and posted photos of our set up at: CancelCable.com.

  134. James says:

    Great article! No satellite for 7 months now and can’t be happier! What a waste of time and money TV truly is. Yes, I still watch, but no more flipping channels. I simply turn on to watch one show and turn it off. I set up a cheap antenna and can get the major broadcast networks for free. My TV is on for less than an hour a day now.

    Hard to think how these cable/sat companies have trained most of society to think that having 100+ channels is a necessity, and that we need the latest HDTV channels, DVR, etc. all costing more money. Hopefully more people will wake up and reject this consumerist culture that is permeating society and get back to doing good old-fashioned activities like going outside, reading, or spending time with other people.

    TV has a place in life, but just like everything else, in moderation.

  135. TV is a tricky issue.

    I don’t have cable or dish, but it is nice to have.

    I rarely watch broadcast TV, but do love to watch DVD’s from the library. There’s hardly anything you can’t get. From cable series’ to first run movies, they’re all there.

    The key is to not have TV in the bedroom or living room. Then it’s a conscious decision to be watching it.

    I keep the TV/DVD player/etc on a single power strip. It’s turned off when not in use. Not only does this save electricity, but makes turning it on a bit of a pain in the rear.

    “Is it worth reaching into the back of the cupboard to turn on the TV?”

    Often, no.

    -Katy Wolk-Stanley

    The Non-Consumer Advocate


  136. steve says:

    I have not watched television for maybe 15 years, except when visiting my parents or some friends.

    I had my turning point when I was in my 20s and was staying up late. I got addicted to ESPN2 and would watch boxing and Formula 500.

    Then I did the math and realized I was spending the equivalent of maybe a month and a half per year sitting on the couch. I made a conscious choice to free up that time for making my real life better, and the next day I rolled the entertainment center and tv into a closet, closed the door, and pushed a bureau in front of the door.

    That broke my habit.

    Now, 15 years later,

    I am friends with a couple who have two young children (aged two and five). They Waldorf educate their children and have no TV in the house. Actually, the kids only have about 5 books altogether, too, mostly used as “nighttime story” books’–the kids pick one each night from the small number that are available.

    These are the most delightful and intelligent children I know. I think a big part of it, beyond the inheritance factor, is that they spend most of their day interacting directly with the physical world, with each other (they play together), and with their schoolmates, who also are exposed to very little media.

    Although I was inclined to think this way before I met this couple, knowing them and their children has reimpressed me with the fact that with kids, less is much much more. (I have known other delightful kids, too, and most of them have also been low-or-no TV/pop media kids) Let them have real interactions and real play, rather than manufactured play that is really intended not for them, but for someone else (an adult) to make money off of.

    Also, I never noticed the children getting in the way of their parents doing chores, even when one parent was away. They know how to be alone and how to entertain themselves. They have significant attention spans to the things they are doing. And, except for when their parents are doing “adult stuff”, their parents pay attention to THEM or to other important people in their lives, not to a talking box. That’s one of the most important formative lessons I can think of. It does help that they are two kids, not one, and can play together, though.

  137. anna says:

    t.v. isn’t always the demon everyone makes it out to be. some people do take it a bit too far, but i for one can say that my life wouldn’t be nearly as fulfilling without t.v. and the internet. when used properly, they can be a fantastic way to stimulate imagination and sharpen comprehension skills. i learned much more from the internet alone than from thirteen years of silly public school curricula.

  138. Scott Palmer says:

    In My city most of the popular tv shows from yesterday and today are on dvd at the library. You can order from other branches etc. Or just hop around from branch to branch who knows you may meet someone cool lol.

  139. Sara says:

    Um yeah… so apparently the consensus here is that people who have given up TV are enthusiastic about that decision and have no regrets, and the people who refuse to go without a TV are utterly belligerent about it, and feel the need to attack others who are happy with their decision.
    I personally still have the TV, and really I don’t watch it much. Im usually watching DVD’s, or I put on PBS for my son to watch some cartoons. My boyfriend however likes to dissappear upstairs to watch shows on the computer for hours at a time. And, we have tendancy to eat in front of the TV.
    As great as it is to be able to spend some time doing something “mindless” – I know I feel really drained after the fact, and if I watch a show, will end up sitting there to watch another show afterwards just because its coming on.
    The internet however is a major addiction for me. Granted I’m mostly stuck on it all day while I’m working…. and by all day I mean 24 hours a day for three days straight while I take care of an elderly woman. But at least I’m using it to stay in touch with friends, learn new information, and plan my week. SOMETHING consructive comes out of it. Although… there is time spent watching movies or playing mindless games.

  140. bleugeu says:

    I think you can write about DDR by explaining how exercise doesn’t have to cost money, you can use things you already have: sidewalks, bikes, nature paths/trails, DDR, Wii. It’s a stretch. But it’s your blog I believe you have enough of a following that you can write about what you wish.

  141. wowser says:

    reading many of the replies defending television reminds me of the defenses an addict makes about any habit of their choice.

    i would challenge those inclined to agree with the defenders to give up TV a bit and see if it makes a difference in your quality of life. even a conscious choice of preferred programming times vs. passive ingestion of “what’s on” or left in the background is a radically different mindstate.

    same goes for online usage nowadays–

    make up your own mind about life!

    –suckled at the teet of TV

  142. Zahir says:

    I watch like 10 hours of TV a week on an average. Internet mostly took the time I used to spend in front of television. Though I must admit giving up TV totally is not easy and I most prolly not to do it. For some people, 10 hours is just a couple of days worth of watching TV so I guess I’m not doing too bad.

  143. Grace says:

    I took the netflix route, too. In times of crisis when I just want to zone I’ll hit the local video store with a coupon. The news commentary I read in the Wall Street Journal the next morning. National crises I find on the ‘net each morning when I power up. Don’t miss the commercials: they either created anxiety, which I don’t need, or hunger for fast food which I don’t need either. Shame that something that started so fresh and full of promise has been downgraded to reality shows and news buzz. G.

  144. josie says:

    It’s been almost a year since I’ve been T.V free. I’ve taken up running, lost 40lbs. and found a new relationship with my children. I didnt realize how much they were behind in their physical development till the t.v. was gone. We only watch one movie a week, and get a lot more entertainment from each other.

  145. Central Coast Accommodation & Tourism says:

    Another great article, thank you!

    With the time and money you save by not watching TV you can plan for a holiday away with your family, or even weekend leisure activities.

  146. evi says:

    I’ve been without a tv for three years – just threw it out. My boyfriend moved in with me recently and brought his but it’s not connected, just for watching DVDs. My sister records my two favorite shows for me so that I get my weekly fix. ;-)
    Besides that, I enjoy cooking, reading, cross-stitching (so you say so?), and just TALKING.

  147. For me the internet is the new TV. I watch no TV and pay no cable bill, but I spend two or more hours a day surfing around on the internet.

  148. Lynn says:

    My spouse and I dropped full cable (hundreds of stations) four years ago and get no local programming. So no TV at all. We don’t miss it a bit. At hotels we often forget to even turn it on. Our lives are absolutely better for it. We do sometimes check out dvd’s from the library or rent from the video store. Certain channels do offer their programming online. For instance the BBC has iplayer if you wish to view their recent programs for free. For instance, currently you can view the episodes of Little Dorrit (Dickens) which have been aired up to now. Dropping TV forces you to be more selective in your viewing choices, as well as providing all the benefits as were listed in the article.

  149. Rose says:

    I’m so fed up with tv. I only have basic cable now and except for 3 half hour shows on early…between 5am and 8am, Mon-Fri…There isn’t much to watch unless I watch repeats of a few good views on PBS. AND I get pretty disgusted with the time I waste sitting in my recliner watching ‘nothing’ while my brain goes to seed. Good way to dumb down America too. I wonder if it contributes to Alzheimers.

  150. Jenn B says:

    No cable != no TV
    Two words: public television

  151. Jenn B says:

    One big problem here: SPORTS (basketball in my case)
    It’s the only regular TV I watch, and I can’t cut cable for it
    The NBA Broadband League Pass blacks out games for my local team, the only team I care to watch

    PLUS I work out during commercials, halftime, etc
    So it doesn’t make me more sedentary :)

  152. Walter says:

    Why even bother buying the DVDs? A Netflix membership is a great way to go. I’ve watched all the interesting TV series on DVD through Netflix (BSG, Alias, Lost, 24, Heroes). Saves a bundle vs. buying the DVD set you may only watch once. The only downside is that you’re watching the series a year or two behind the people who watch it live. But, you also get no commercials, no waiting for next week’s episode, no reruns, and great quality.

  153. vinnie says:

    I dumped cable a year and 4 mos ago. Best thing I ever did. Also, tv is off most of the time…I watch about an hour of tv a week. Don’t even miss it. For movies I go to Hulu. I know im saving a lot of money. I like to paint, so I do that a lot….pictures that is. And I get a lot of other things done. It’s GREAT!!!!

  154. Michael says:

    As with everything else in life, moderation is the key. I’ve been reducing the amount of tv I watch. If I do happen to watch a bit of tv, it’s on Discover/History channels type of shows. If I’m going to be a couch potato might as be a smart one!

  155. KED says:

    Couldn’t agree with this article more! My husband of 9 years is definitely addicted to TV. At least 3 to 6 hours a night. Needless to say we have problems with communication amoung other things….I wonder if emailing him this link might spark an internal thought!?!?!

  156. Jihan says:

    Everyone here seems to be addicted to tv, that must be unfortunate! I am however, not addicted to tv. I use the computer very often to stream news or religious channels, but for a month, I probably watch tv for 10 minutes a day for the local news. I have nothing interesting to watch on tv anyway, I can live with regular channels and watch no movies. I already have all my favorite dvds too!

    Also the sex thing is kind of funny but true! I like your attitude lol!

  157. EngineerMom says:

    This is a great post. Some people can responsibly handle TV and some cannot, just like some people can responsibly handle alcohol and some cannot. Just because you can, don’t make the assumption that someone who can’t is lazy or lacks self-control.

    I can’t handle TV. If it’s available, I’ll waste hours per day, especially on the weekends, watching whatever. I knew that when I graduated from college, so I never bought a TV. Watching an episode or two of a favorite show on my computer via DVD was never an issue because at the end of the episode, the system automatically STOPS.

    When I got married, my husband brought a TV with him. We tried having it out in the living room for a couple of months, but my old bad habits of turning it on “just for one show”, and then totally losing track of time for hours returned. We finally decided to just get rid of the TV. We watch movies on our computer (which, incidentally, has a much bigger screen!) on Friday and Saturday nights, and the rest of the week we don’t even turn on the computer except for checking the weather or getting directions (we both have ‘net access at work which makes it a relief to have zero screen time in the evenings).

    We have a 7-month-old son, and we’ve noticed he is completely entranced whenever we’re watching a movie. It’s a little creepy because he’ll stop playing or even eating if there’s something on the screen to watch. Simply because of that, we know that TV is permanently gone from our lives.

    The only thing that is missed is watching the Chicago Cubs (for my husband).

    I love the complete lack of commercials in our lives. Even on the radio, I only listen to two stations, a public radio station and a Christian music station, both of which are commercial-free.

  158. Johnny says:

    As a kid growing up in the age of cable, I probably spent at least 8 – 10 hours a day watching the tube (back when it was a tube). A few years ago I had the fortune of having my TV break on me and suddenly finding myself with all this time on my hands.

    Let’s just say that I’ve used that time wisely since and haven’t looked back.

  159. noelle says:

    Absolutely! Found myself single a few months ago and realized how much time I spent in front of the tv when I could have been cultivating the relationship better :-)
    When I was a child (back in the early 80s), I did not spend hours watching tv but was outside. I look at the children today and they are generally unhealthy because they spend so much time watching tv, playing video games, and in front of the computer (mm..much like I am doing now!)….speaking of which, time to get up and get some errands done!

  160. Dean says:

    Here’s a good article on TV and the amount of time society spends watching it, puts it into perspective.

    “Put another way, now that we have a unit, that’s 2,000 Wikipedia projects a year spent watching television.” – http://www.herecomeseverybody.org/2008/04/looking-for-the-mouse.html

    I’ve lived with TV and without TV. Now I’m just addicted to the internet instead.

  161. Dan says:

    I had a friend who called me up one day and was ecstatic about dropping his cable bill. I asked him, “Why are you excited about dropping your cable bill?” He said, “It’s simple, bro. First, the internet has made it very easy to watch shows on demand. All I do is sign into Hulu.com and I have any show when I want it! I hooked up my laptop to my TV, and BINGO, free cable! Besides, the Ravens always play on regular stations, and most Orioles games are covered. Thanks to the new digital converter boxes, I can get the network stations (ABC, NBC, CBS) in full HD! Not only that, but I use Netflix at $9.95 per month and now I can stream movies and watch them on my TV. I can watch blu-ray movies if I want that cinematic experience as well. With Hulu, Netflix, and the new converter boxes, there really is no more any need for cable!”

  162. AJ says:

    Did anyone happen to notice the rather ironic ad at the bottom of the blog? – TIME WARNER CABLE!!

  163. Sarah says:

    I have to agree about the television of today’s society. As I am getting ready to move out on my own in a few months for the first time, I thought why not try and teach oneself to cut back on the television addiction? Well needless to say, 2 months later I haven’t regretted giving up all the 100+ channels and have spent more time researching the Net for topics of Interest to me, which 9 times out of 10 usually lead to a book marathon, which not only expands one’s mind but when around others, there is no mindless, but simply intelligent conversation.

  164. Mirvana says:

    What if you are too tired to do anything but watch tv? What if you do other productive activities while watching tv, like knitting?

    I don’t watch that much tv, but for me, tv is how I relax at the end of the day and unwind so that I can fall asleep, esp. if my eyes are too tired to read.

  165. Paul says:

    You could say the same for the computer and/or car. How many zombies are glued to their computer screens all day/night long? It’s all about self-discipline. It’s not the TV that makes things bad, it’s people’s lack of common sense.

  166. No_TV_for_2_years says:


    TV is a big propaganda by the companies to make us buy their stuff (99% of it unnecessaty stuff), a big propaganda to keep us dumb and get dumber by the day, and a big propaganda to keep us where we are and not progress in life.

    Don’t fall for it.

  167. No_TV_for_2_years says:

    and oh by the way I am without TV for the past two years. Before that I was addicted to NFL. I completely stopped watching it.

    Its not worth it.

  168. Karen A. says:

    I am struggling with giving up my satellite programming. However, it will save me almost $80 a month. Due to this recession, and being retired, I need to start working part time. But I can work less days and hours by giving up my satellite/cable tv. First I’m going to downgrade to a lesser package, and then cancel altogether. Paying for 150 channels and only watching MSNBC, CNN, Home and Garden, Hallmark are just about all I really watch. Most of it is commercials anyhow. So, it really doesn’t make sense to keep it. I am working on it — and I SHALL SUCCEED! Thanks for all the great comments/thoughts. You’ve all been a great inspiration for me. I loveD this website.

  169. TV Les says:

    I just stopped my Sat TV service. I also quit smoking about 8 months ago. TV is just another bad habit that has to go. Some posters have talked about self control. In truth, we all have different levels of self control. Temptation is a real thing and should never be taken lightly. Those that can easily walk away from temptation need to understand that we are not all the same and weakness does not gain strength through ridicule. It gains strength through accomplishment. I have been weak but now find new strength.

  170. Jo says:

    I need to step in here to counter-point why watching the telly is not necessarily a bad thing.

    My SO and I do have the nicer channels such as: Discovery, the Science Channel, the History Channel, Animal Planet, NatGeo, and TLC. Those are our absolutely favorite ones, and yes, you do have to pay a good bit for it. But I have to say that educationally, along the way I have learned a lot about many different things. Science, the arts, the oceans, space, how things are made, et. al. And as a result, I am able to pass this knowledge on to others, especially children.

    We don’t watch those silly sitcoms, which are, indeed, worthless IMO. So are the ridiculous commercials. Those go on mute while I attend to a quick chore or grab a snack. Yes, I know….my bad about the snack. Love those Bing cherries BTW, which are currently in season. But I digress….

    My SO and I are not party-goers; nor do we go out much out of choice; this includes eating out. So, this said, we keep the telly “premium” channels and avoid other costly expenses.

  171. Lanita says:

    For some of those who are looking to cut their cable bill and save some money but don’t want to miss out on the shows and movies they like to watch, check at your Public Library. Some libraries offer media you can check out. Instead of spending all that money on a monthly cable bill to get 200 channels you don’t even watch, you can check out a season at a time for free!! :) Just a helpful suggestion.

  172. Diane says:

    I’m not against TV, but I hate cable. I gave it up a year ago and except for Top Chef, have not missed it. I use hulu, netflix, and an OTA antenna. And I’m saving over $700/year.

  173. Caroline says:

    Compelling reasons. Good article!

  174. Nick says:

    Ha! How many hours did I spend reading about how to not spend all your waking hours watching TV?

    I think I should stop watching TV because the whole time I am watching I am thinking that I can be learning something useful. I don’t see how people become experts on topics just by watching a few shows. We are just being spoon-fed small bits of random information at a time, and you can’t really use that information in the real world because it is all jumbled up in your head.

    Learning something means actually going out and doing it. It is the only way. The only way you can ever know about geology for example is to actually see and feel different parts of the earth, to be a geologist for example. So what I did was that I found used previous edition college textbooks online for about $10 (yes!) and I am finding that I am thinking about the subject of the earth more than by just watching “How the Earth Was Made”. That is just entertainment, where you don’t really retain the information because they are trying to feed you a whole bunch in one hour sitting.

  175. I read a great book in college by an ad man from a few decades ago called Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. Really, really, good book. Check it out.

  176. Linda says:

    I gave up watching TV about 8 years ago and never missed it. Then I brought it out of the cupboard where it was stored and put it in the living room because I needed to watch numerous DVDs for a University course. Then after the course I started watching again. Within weeks I was back up to watching 2-3 hours a day.

    What an appalling waste of time the thing is! I got nothing done, read nothing, played no piano, didn’t make the phone calls I needed to make or anything else I was supposed to do.

    The damn thing is back in the cupboard, and that’s where it will stay. Life is too short to waste sitting like a zombie watching pointless garbage that passes for entertainment these days.

    And why would we need to be entertained all the time anyway? Only babies need to be entertained all the time.

  177. Mary says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more. I’m not much of a TV user, except for a few shows which I can catch on Hulu, Netflix or our made-at-home TV antenna. I’m also an NFL watcher, but catching our local games and the highlights to other games is good enough for me. Being a Steelers fan in Wisconsin, the only time I get to see their games is on Sunday night or whenever they play anyone in the NFC North. No big deal though.

    You have so much time to do whatever when you don’t revolve your life around TV. Chores get done, I take my dog for walks and get him exercised, I get homework done for my college courses…feel so much more accomplished.

  178. Joseph S says:

    I agree with you both Linda and Mary. After the death of my sister, whose bipolar became WORSE of TV, I quit my FIOS TV and took up tennis again. I watched my sister decay because she just led a vicious cycle of watching TV, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. When she exercised she barely needed any medication.
    I am SO SICK of what corporate America has done to our airwaves both radio and TV. They are charging us for OUR airwaves. Cable was designed for people in the mountains too far from the broadcast towers, not to charge money to watch commercials and pitiful broadcasting.
    AND if I hear another Comcast vs. Verizon FIOS advertisement, it won’t be too long!! It’s like choosing between two bowls of dog excrement! They both are horrible! Verizon ALWAYS gets your bill wrong and overcharges you. Hey, wait, Comcast has no service either. Why aren’t the CEOs of these companies in jail???

  179. barbara says:

    We have two choices for cable tv, comcast or verizon and both are obscenely overpriced for the content they offer. How about cart blanche? there is no consumer protection and you can thank the bloated corrupted FFC for that. THE PIGS!

  180. Dawn says:

    My brother dropped my TV while helping us move last year. My boyfriend and I debated for a while whether or not to replace it, and we decided to wait 3 months. Well, its already been way more than 3 months and we don’t miss it at all! If there’s something that we just *have* to see, we watch it online (hulu). We have so much more time and we’ve been cooking together every day! Byebye TV!

  181. more says:

    When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service? Thanks a lot!

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