In Russia we only had two TV channels. Channel One was propaganda. Channel Two consisted of a KGB officer telling you: Turn back at once to Channel One.Last week we made a major decision – for us especially – to have no TV channels at all.
Our love affair with the TV since we moved here in 1981 has been an intense and expensive journey.
It was immediately clear the first day we hooked up our television to the TV antenna on the roof that we are in a very bad spot for receiving the TV signal from the local network stations in Springfield. Other people were getting good reception, but not us.
We lived with it for a while and then decided to pay the local cable company to bring the cable to our house… and pay we did: $750.
We had the cable service for a while but became increasingly unhappy because we had to pay for channels we did not want to get the channels we did want. And, of course, the monthly fee kept increasing.
And then the huge satellite dishes became available. So we bought one of those. I’m not sure how much that cost – probably close to a $1,000. It was wonderful. We had access to all sorts of channels that didn’t cost anything – like channels from Canada with interesting programming that we couldn’t get here. One year, for example, we watched the Winter Olympics broadcast from the Canadian station, which was entirely different from what American television was offering.
Better yet, we didn’t have to buy a package deal for those that weren’t free. We could pick and choose the channels we wanted to pay for.
And then they did something with the satellites and we couldn’t pick up the signals any more, so we stopped using the huge dish and went to Direct TV and subscribed to just about everything.
Every year the monthly bill for Direct TV increased just a little, and when it finally topped $100, we cancelled all of the premium movie channels. We thought we couldn't live without the movies but discovered we could indeed get by without them.
And then the bill started started increasing again.
We took a long, hard look at what we were being offered on all of the channels we were getting for our $78 a month and decided about 90% were garbage and did we really want to pay for the huge selection of reality TV shows that we had no interest in watching? Toddlers and Tiaras? Here Comes Honey Boo Boo?
No we did not.
We have been without television for a week.
Oh, we still watch the television. We have numerous videos we have recorded ourselves and DVDs, and we can watch some programs we like off the Internet for free or for a small monthly cost.
I am amazed at how peaceful we both feel. We are no longer sitting in front of our respective televisions – he in the bedroom and me in the living room -- several hours a night flipping through the 200-some channels trying to find something to watch. And what a difference it has made in the noise level in the house without the barrage of heavy metal soundtracks that seem to go with most of the programs these days.
I have found a week in that I don’t miss the few programs that I actually watched from week-to-week. I certainly don’t miss the commercials, except maybe, the Cheerios commercials.