Cutting the cable

It’s official. The cable has been cut. We no longer have cable TV.

Not that we were big TV watchers to begin with. We have always felt that TV can turn us into lazy lumps. But we did enjoy a bit of downtime. So, we indulged. But recently we have got discouraged with the advertisements, the cost of cable, and the lack of programming that we wanted.

After borrowing a friend’s cord to connect our laptop to our one and only television, we quickly realized that the shows we watch can easily be found online and then viewed on our television set. We also reasoned that we could always borrow movies or season series on DVD from the library.

Cutting the cable is part of our effort to slow down and simplify our life. Rather than watch TV, we know that we’re better off doing other things as a family or couple. We are also trying to save money, and the cost of cable is a simple thing to cut out of the budget. Additionally, the shows that we will end up watching online or on DVD will be planned and controlled. This is in contrast to settling onto the couch to ‘see what is on’ or channel surfing.

I’m excited about the impact on our daughters’ lives as they grow up with limited and planned television…

The Bear had a friend over the other day. When her friend came into our home, one of the first things she asked was if she could watch TV. I explained that The Bear was only allowed TV on weekends and that there were lots of other things to do. After an afternoon of play dough, puddle jumping and sidewalk chalk, she didn’t want to go home. In my opinion, it was a far more enjoyable afternoon than one spent in front of the television set.

Imagine when, as a family or couple, we experience such a realization on a daily basis! Here’s to more enjoyable, worthwhile and productive time together.

Some things to think about:

Estimated time per week that MJ and I watched advertisements:
80 minutes (5 hours of TV per week, approximately 8 minutes of ads for each ½ hour show)

Average number of hours an American watches TV per month:
153 hours (NielsenWire, May 20, 2009)

Average number of hours a Canadian child watches TV a week:
14 hours (Statistics Canada, 2005)

True or false? True TV watching is down because people (especially those aged 18-24) are consuming more media online.
True, however only slightly. And the number of hours spent with other screens (IPods, video games, computers) has increased. (National Post, March 9, 2010)

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  20. 20 tideline March 16, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Good for you. Our family had always been cable free until recently. I have to admit that it was nice to have cable during the Olympics, but now I find myself settling down on the couch to watch reality TV shows that I am wierdly being drawn to. I can forsee that the decision to get cable will be reversed again soon, especially as the warm summer weather approaches.

    • 21 Mama Tortoise March 17, 2010 at 4:55 am

      As a devoted Survivor fan, I completely understand the reality TV compulsion! (And MJ wouldn’t let us cut the cable until after the Olympics!) But it’s interesting what we perceive as necessary to our lives when it’s readily available. And I agree that with the summer approaching, TV watching drastically decreases anyway.


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