“We didn’t have enough money to pay all of our bills, so it came between having the cable shut off, or our air conditioning. Sorry, but I’ve got certain shows I look forward to. The air’s off.”
It was one of the hottest and most humid Kentucky summers in history, with heat warnings becoming an every day event–unbearable. She had a house full of young kids. While I realize that A/C is a luxury as well, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
“We don’t really have TV”, my son has told many a shocked face. While that may not be true exactly, what he’s trying to express is that we don’t subscribe to cable, satellite or anything like that. We do actually HAVE a television, we just don’t have the bill that goes with it.
It started about 12 years ago when we were dirt poor. We had the satellite service shut off, and after not having that bill for awhile, we decided we don’t want it back. Like a bum boyfriend, you wonder why you didn’t break off the relationship sooner. Now even though we could conceivably pay for service again, we have simply chosen not to. We’ve realized that we don’t need television.
I imagine that some poor reader out there has chocked on breakfast. To those who have had some sort of service all along, this may seem inconceivable. To most Americans, the hum of the television is the background music to everyday life.
But here’s a newsflash: You don’t really need television either.
Also, if you are flexible, you can still watch TV, without the bill. As I mentioned, although we don’t have any service, we do own a television. We can hook up a laptop and watch all kinds of shows via hulu.com–you’d be surprised at everything that’s available on there, especially kid’s shows. Some networks stream their latest episodes online, too. Duck Dynasty anyone? Many of our favorite shows air on HGTV and the Travel Channel (House Hunters Internatonal, for example). Now, their parent company has launched Ulive.com where you can watch their shows for free.
Your local library can also be a good source for media. Some libraries carry whole seasons of popular shows, and many of the newest movies. If they don’t have something you want, most libraries will allow you to put in a special request. They may purchase it or borrow it from another library.
Still, because it’s not as simple as sitting on the couch and pushing a button on the remote, we watch less TV than the average family. One boy asked my husband, “If you don’t watch TV, WHAT DO YOU DO?” Well, I guess we are old fashioned. We do weird things like talking to each other and playing games, or getting together with friends. We look for new places to explore, or some new festival or activity to try. Instead of paying to watch sports, my husband and son went to a local hockey game and got good seats for less than what it would cost for a month of cable.
We want to find ways to get out there and live life, not just watch someone else do it.