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13 January 2010



I've been trying to ignore the TV when there's not a specific program I want to watch. I no longer sit around and surf the channels. I shut off the TV. I exercise. I read. I play Scrabble with my mother.

Good for you!


Congratulations! We have a Netflix account (so I can watch Battlestar Galactica, mostly), but otherwise no TV, and we're now in our 11th TV-less year. The biggest thing that surprised me was how little I missed it, once it was gone. We were visiting relatives last year, and their house is one that has a TV constantly blaring in the background. I found it a jarring, disturbing experience, like something was invading my internal dialogue. And the big shock was how I couldn't really understand TV anymore—it's like America and its TV culture had evolved (devolved?) in my absence, and I was a pop-culture relic. I had a lot of trouble wrapping my brain around all the quick jump-cut editing and strobe-like switches and changes. (And when I watch really early films, from the early 20th century, it's the opposite: cuts and sequences are way too long, and everything feels slow.) I guess the collective attention span has shortened, and TV has adapted to match. It's eery.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on your new venture at certain milestones—what will you have accomplished in a TV-less month? Year? Decade?


Interesting concept and execution, thanks for sharing. You might add (if you haven't read or added it already) Neil Gaiman's American Gods to your reading list. It's especially relevant in light of your new no TV world. Good for you!


Welcome to the club.
I justify my computer overuse by saying that I need the positive reinforcement from my imaginary friends. I am shutting it off earlier and for longer periods. Maybe if I meet more people locally, I can get rid of this, too.


I have a 13" with cheapo cable that I keep around so I can watch Antiques Roadshow and NOVA...but even PBS is streaming video online now. If I discover that I can still pick up PBS after undoing the cable tonight, that $10 won't go to Time-Warner either. I have Netflix, but don't use it for movies very much (Michael Palin's "Great Railway Journeys," anyone?). I'm pretty bad with pop culture.

The other secret? No wireless connection for the innernetz. I have high-speed and don't plan to trade that in, but if I have a wireless router, I will surf around for hours at a time whilst sitting on the couch. Being chained to an uncomfortable desk chair (another secret) cuts down on that dramatically.

donna lee

I haven't owned a television in a few years. I noticed that no one was really watching it and had the cable turned off. Then one of my daughters moved out and I gave it to her. No tv in the house. What does this mean? It means more time to talk with my spouse, more time to read, listen to books/music, spin, knit......

It means more time. I don't even feel left out when people talk about tv at work (and boy does a lot of conversation revolve around the tv). They look at me funny and say 'oh that's right, you don't own a tv'.


Welcome to the TVless world!

We haven't had a TV for over 10 years now - and don't miss it! I listen to more music and radio, and watch the occasional TV programme online. Also watch DVDs on the laptop.

I don't know where time goes, though - there's not enough time for knitting, and certainly no time for cleaning.... I wonder if that's got something to do with the evening wine consumption?

Robyn in the Northwoods

It's so freeing to NOT have the tv. I get so much more of *everything* done. I'm working on a quilt right now that is almost finished. I can't tell you how many books I've read since we got rid of the tv. Hundreds! A year and a half later...SO worth it! Yay for no tv!!!

Tiny Tyrant

Turn the TV cabinet into a bookshelf or yarn storage. :-)

And I only watch TV when I'm sick, which thankfully isn't often. Haven't watched prime time television in over 5 years.

My lovely plasma is reserved for movies and those are few and far between.

Enjoy the freedom.


Hello. My name is Evalyn and I'm a TV addict.
Last time I moved I didn't have the funds for cable or internet, so I've never had either one connected. My phone is cell service only. I have internet access at work. I have a TV for watching movies (and sometimes I can burn a whole day just doing that). But I don't get pulled in by just one more episode of Bowling with Turkeys in Yiddish just because it's infront of my eyes. The silence sometimes is scarey and now and then something happens in the world that I wish I could see on CNN, but nothing is worth the hours of my life I would spend staring at that flickering blue light. I don't want my headstone to say "She never missed a re-run of MASH".


A while back I noticed that I was getting worse about watching TV when I wasn't even enjoying it. I was going to bed really late and not getting anything done and I wasn't even entertained! Getting back to using my public library has helped a lot. I have such great books around all the time that I will go entire weekends without turning on my TV. Which completely freaks my family out. But I like it and I think I'll work even harder at only watching TV when I intend to watch something specific.

I'll never put a TV in my bedroom. I just really can't ever do that.



When I divorced my ex I left the TV with him. He was addicted to it. That was ten years ago and I seldom miss it. And you're right internet is similar but less of a time suck for some of us.

You'll find you write more, read more, listen to music more, knit more, create more, get out more - LIVE MORE!


I had no TV for 20 or more years and only bought one when I found a little set with a vcr built in. I watched movies and hooked up the TV antenna only once - on 9/11. After 2 hours, I unhooked it as it was too depressing. Then I married a guy who didn't have cable, but said he didn't watch "much" TV. Well, much to him means morning news, evening news and one show every night at 9pm. I have watched regularly only 2 shows in the last 5 years and both were canceled after one season (shows what good taste I have). Otherwise, it's movies only. I apparently missed out on a lot of American Culture (Sex in the City? Seinfield? MTV?) but I never missed it.

BTW, thanks for the book suggestions you throw out. I have been challenging myself to read at least one book a month by an author I've never heard of, rather than relying on my old favorites. I've had some successes, some bombs. Did you finish the Russian Debutante book? I lost interest before I got halfway.


Congratulations! I laughed at the Barbara Walker bit - I hadn't heard that - my TV broke back in September and I still haven't bothered to replace it. And I'm with Sarah Jane - I store yarn in my former TV cabinet, too.

New England Girl

Oh, good for you! This will make such a change in your life; I'm sure of it. It's something I struggle with myself but I don't see us getting rid of it as long as baseball (and my husband's desire to watch it) exists. But it would improve our lives tremendously if we did.

When one thinks of the achievements made by people before television...

Oh, and I second what someone else said...fill the cabinet with yarn.


OMG! You gave away what?!!! I admire your strength.


Yay for you! I used to have no tv and then Dude came along and now we have tv. But only in one room. He has cable but if I'd watch football/baseball/hockey/basketball he'd never watch anything else. So its o.k. Sometimes, when I want to knit, we watch a movie (He records them for me for free off the cable.) Otherwise, he treats it as background noise. He even mutes it if the noise is getting on my nerves. (And I ask myself why?????)

(Also: how did I ever fall in love with a guy that likes pro sports?)

AnneMarie in PA

We watch very little TV, mostly because when it is on, my husband becomes compltely mesmerized. It could be showing nothing but random images of goo, and he would still sit, eyes glued, ears closed to anything but the soundtrack, unable to look away, as if in a trance. I hate it. The house could be burning down around his ears, and he would not budge if the TV were on. And our daughter used to be the same way-- I have made some progress with her. So 7 years ago, when we moved in together for good and made it legal, I began my campaign to lessen the presence of the TV in our lives. Now we have maybe 4 programs we watch, and only if we remember. And that's it. Most of the time it's off, and we listen to the radio and read or do other things. Saturdays are Absolutely No TV nights. Radio only, and games or reading or something else. It's definitely improved all our lives. TV shows no longer run our schedules, and our daughter went from a B or C student to an Honors student with a GPA over 4.0 (because of all those honors classes, which count for extra if you get an A in them). She now actually sits with us in the living room while we watch a TV program and READS while the TV is on.
I have been told that for Muslims, the devil is a short, squat little man with one great, huge eye. Sound like a TV???


I'm not a big TV watcher and couldn't even name you a current popular show. So, although I can't viscerally grok how big a deal this is, I do get it.

Good work.


I have been having the same thoughts, but thinking of moving the TV (and we only have one, none in the bedrooms or anything) into a different room rather than getting rid of it, as I'm sure one day my little boy will want to watch stuff just not to be 'left out' when he's school age.

We're halfway there; We don't have SKY (because we refuse to put money into the Murdoch empire) or cable, so only whats on Freeview here in the UK (the main BBC and commercial channels, and loads of 'repeat' channels). I feel a bit less guilty about the TV I do watch becuse I'm usually knitting/tidying/entertaining the small boy at the same time. But I *know in my heart* that the TV being on does prevent me from doing any spinning or full on sewing projects, or practicing my music.


Now I will tell you this while at the same time saying that I do not personally have any wish to relinquish my television.

Boywich and I used to routinely vacation at B&Bs where there were no televisions. We liked it that way. It was restful and, I'd argue, more romantic.


If only I could convince Thom to go for this idea ... I was happily cable-less for 18 months or so (March 07-August 08, got cable for the Olympics and never turned it back off), but he really missed it. Gotta give the dude something...


The magical thing about not watching TV is that you stop hearing about new shows, so you never start watching them, until pretty soon you find yourself walking past a TV that has characters you can't place, or a reality TV show with rules you don't know, and it makes about as much sense as a Russian telenovela.


The only time I watch TV is when my husband commands me to sit down and watch something with him because he thinks it is interesting and I will like it. It's almost always something on PBS. No cable, no satellite.

Now if I could trim my online time...


Good for you! I haven't owned a tv in years. Good riddance.

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