Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Joining the Ranks of the TV-ed

For something over a year now, we haven't had a TV. Our previous one had died a slow and painful death as a result of the injuries sustained while being knocked over several times by young Darwins scaling the entertainment cart. (Smashing a coffee table, on one occassion.) And as it was hard to justify spending several hundred dollars on something like a TV at the time, we simply cancelled the cable subscription (keeping the high speed internet, of course) and settled down to watching the occasional movie from Netflix on our iMac.

This also allowed us to go around making ourselves annoying by saying in regards to cultural attachments, "Why, we don't even have a TV."

Have we been watching The Amazing Race this season? We don't even have a TV right now.

Oh I just love Dancing With The Stars! Never seen it. We don't even have a TV.

Yes, it's been fun. I get a kick out of telling people that we don't have a TV, because it generally kicks off interesting conversations focusing around topics like: What do you do at night?

But all good things eventually have to come to an end, and good things which involve annoying those around you should probably come to an end sooner rather than later. Plus it does get a bit annoying, when we want to relax and watch a DVD, to have to do so clustered around the computer on chairs. So when an opportunity came up last week to get a 32" flat panel TV at a very low price through the company at which a work, we decided to fulfill MrsDarwin's decorating dream of getting a TV which could hang up out of the way on a wall and not take up any valuable floor or furniture space.

I expect we'll enjoy the new addition to the "digital home" -- but I must confess that I will miss having the chance to brag about not having a TV. We aren't completely giving in, however. Thus far, the plan is for this to be a DVD viewer only. We are not getting cable back (and reception is non-existant in our neighborhood) -- at least for now.


Anonymous said...

We haven't had 'real' cable in probably 10 years. But our cable company does offer a $9 Broadcast package that is for reception of local channels only.

I think that cable companies are required to offer something like that, on the off chance you are interested, but you have to pester them about it before the customer service reps will admit it.

For my part, living in Pittsburgh, it would be considered a moral failing to not be able to watch the Steelers, and I agree with that assessment. Thus poor reception on the CBS affiliate is not something that one can ponder in good conscience.

Unknown said...

The best tv shows are available on DVD anyway. And without all the commercials.

mrsdarwin said...


We used to have a standard cable package, which allowed us to waste far too many evenings (while I was pregnant with #3) watching Cartoon Network. Then we dropped down to the basic package, which was around $12 here, so we could still catch Masterpiece Theater and Mystery! and Lost. It's possible that we may sign back up for the basic package -- I do love Masterpiece Theater, and I've missed it -- but I don't want the kids to get in the habit of turning on the tv. However, since right now they're strictly forbidden (under pain of our extreme displeasure) to even touch the thing, maybe we won't have to worry about that. Dunno yet.

Kiwi Nomad said...

Ahhhh no TV....but you did have an iMac;-) I am typing this on my iMac.... we are in the same club ;-)

Anonymous said...

Mrs. D,
It's definitely a battle to keep the screen time down (by screen time I include TV, Computer, Video Games).

The one trick we've been using the past year or so is to use 'Screen Tokens' (just colored counting chips).

They get a set number of tokens each day (set on top of the TV), each representing 1/2 hour. They have to hand them over to mom or dad when they want to use them, and they can use them on any type of screen time. Once they are gone, they are gone, and screen time is finished.

The funny bit is that they are usually so protective of the tokens that they try saving them for the end of the day, and often times end up just not using them.

We've found this to be a pretty painless way of keeping things under control.

Kyle Cupp said...

Thus far, the plan is for this to be a DVD viewer only.

Include a Playstation 2 and that is our plan. No cable or commercial TV.

Kyle Cupp said...

BTW, our current computer soon to return to ashes and dust, and so we're looking to buy a new one. Right now, the plan is to get an iMac. Are you pleased with that machine?

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

I have a TV which has been in the garage ever since we moved here. I just can't justify the floor space it would take up in my small living room. So actually, I'd love to have one of those flat screens that you can hang up in the living room. Though like you, I'd only use it for watching DVDs. In the meantime, our old eMac suffices.

Tito Edwards said...

I use rabbit ears, so I get three of the four major tv networks, a Christian (Protestant) network, 2 indepedents, and about 12 spanish networks. Go figure.

Sabado Gigante!

Kiwi Nomad said...

Kyle.... I love my iMac;-)

Daddio said...

Good for you. We've considered cutting the cable numerous times, but we really want to see the Cowboys and Mavericks play. We often swear that's all we'll watch. But we're into The Office and Top Gear and maybe a couple other things. And we justify it by saying the DVR actually allows us to watch LESS TV because we skip all the commercials. But still, we end up watching something almost every night after the kids go to bed and feel a little guilty about it. Maybe one day we'll totally pull the plug and have DVD-viewing only.

Unknown said...

Don't forget Mrs. Darwin that you grew up for the most part without TV. And all was fine. Remember crowding around the little VCR TV at the Va Tech library and watching Ben Her?

lissla lissar said...

We're some of the annoying people. We do have a tv (a birthday present after four years of marriage), but we don't know if we have any reception. We haven't tried. Anything we want to watch is available on DVD, and we're both completely allergic to commercials. I think we watch forty minutes, maybe twice a week, sometimes less. Of course, we both spend huge amounts of time on the computer. :)

The downside to not having a tv going all the time, we've found, is that when at bars or other people's houses the flickering screen is mesmerizing. We're not de-sensitized to it, and we both tend to stare, gape-jawed, at the flickering lights. It's embarrassing.

Darwin said...


We've observed the same phenomenon -- of children with no TV in the house (same goes for no video games) being utterly mesmerized when they do get the chance to park in front of one. Ah well...


We do indeed like the iMac very much. The one hint not made much of: If you're used to Windows the Mac's standard mouse can easily be configured to register the right click/left click distinction, but as least as of when we got ours it did not do so be default. Go into your mouse preferences and set it up if it's something you'll miss.

Stuart Buck said...

I canceled my family's cable subscription coming up on three years ago, and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. No commercials, no annoying kids' TV shows, no evenings totally wasted flipping through channels. We still do watch Lost (the few weeks a year that it's on) by downloading it.