The End Of Network TV (For Me)
It’s pretty much a year ago now that I stopped watching network TV. When I quit, I was still in the Hospital recuperating from spinal surgery and rehabbing my legs which were pretty severely affected by my surgery. Needless to say I had a lot of time to kill. I also had good internet access and during that the time leading up to my withdrawal from network TV, I was mainly watching streaming videos of all kinds on Netflix, Prime and Apple TV and Acorn, which is a British streaming service.
And because of that, my tolerance for network TV with all its commercials really became a pretty serious irritant.
Yesterday I was talking with my son Dan about it. He’s 42 and I’m pretty sure has never had cable TV and still does not now. Back in the day, he was one of the original pirates, and taught me how to do it as well. But then when the streaming services came along neither of us needed to do that, and I’m pretty sure the steam when right out of the pirating industry.
When I told him I was no longer watching network TV, he simply said, well then why are you still paying for it every month? Cancel it and use the money to add a couple more streaming services to your package.
I thought this was a pretty good idea, and so when all the gardening and pool stuff is on cruise control that’s what we will do.
Is Cable TV Becoming A Relic?
I suppose for the relatively small percentage of people out there who don’t have internet service, and even that is shrinking all the time, cable is where they get all the stuff they watch. And you could argue that if you have a personal video recorder you can just fast forward through all the commercials and be at sort of happy camper.
But I was surprised to find that about 40% of everyone who could do this doesn’t. They simply sit through the commercials or go to the can, or raid the fridge. But they actually don’t record the programs to they can watch them with a minimum of commercial interference.
The Big Difference
Well one of the biggest changes that happen when you go from avid to non-network TV watching is that you don’t constantly have to be scrolling through the directory to see what’s on and what you think would be worth recording. And that’s time you get back to spend scrolling through the streaming directories.
The other thing you get is the opportunity to see what other countries are putting out. I already know pretty much all the formulae that the US and Canadian networks apply and no longer feel the need to be watching more of the same old same old.
So I spend a hell of a lot more time watching stuff from Scandinavia and Europe.And a lot of it is pretty good. There’s something about watching stories that feature people you are completely unfamiliar with that makes the viewing quite interesting.
Another advantage of watching streaming vids is that if you are so inclined, you can watch three episodes in the time it would take to watch two on network TV.
What About News?
The 24 Hours news cycle has turned TV into basically a massive game of trivial pursuit. We get fed way more information than we need, and we can put it in the great Bob Dylan inspired category of Useless and Pointless Knowledge.
Even a short scroll through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter will give you access to quick reads on anything that’s happening, the eliminating the point of sitting numbly waiting to hear something relevant in the blue ocean of opinion that most cable news has become.
What About Sports?
I’m 74 and have no idea how much time I have left before I shuck off this mortal coil, so my interest in sports has waned to the point where I am perfectly happy to just watch the highlights on ESPN.com.
I now look at watching sports as time I will never get back.
What About The Stuff You Can Only Get on Network TV?
Oh yeah. There’s a certain amount of that isn’t there? But from early observation, I have determined that it is primarily targeting the brain dead and the extremely bored.
Do I really care how many aspiring actors and received a wrist slapping from Judge Judy? Nope. Do I really care what the women in The View think about, well, anything? NO. Do I care about who won a brand new car they can’t afford the insurance for on the Price Is Right? Or how many lives were inextricably altered by some nasty ass person on (soap opera goes here)? No and No. Do I really care who gets voted off the island or even what island all these desperate narcissists are trapped on? Sigh. Or who is going to end up with a big recording contract and then never be head from again, because the music industry swallowed them whole. No.
And that, in a nutshell, was my analysis and rationale for the decision to ditch cable TV and live out my days
I suppose I should have done this a couple years ago really. But a whole lot of weird shit got in the way. Now that things relatively stable, I can get on with a lot of things Like selling the stuff I’m probably never going to be able to use anymore. And jettisoning all the things that I have no use for. This includes a lot of books, since I have become totally comfortable with my Kindle. And, of course, network TV.
Will I miss it. Well so far I haven’t even noticed that I now longer watch it. When I feel like watching TV I automatically just open my Internet and see what’s tweaks my interest. And there’s enough there so that you always find something.
I have always been impatient. I think it may have ...
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