I have a confession, something that might make me unpopular among certain people, but here goes.
I love TV.
I love having satellite TV. I love being able to watch live sports, especially now that I’ve upgraded from my old school tube TV I bought with my very first adult paycheque back in 2001. I’ve probably spent weeks of my life watching episodes of The Simpsons. The business channel stays on in the background for hours at a time. I love watching educational shows on channels like PBS, or National Geographic, or old World War II shows on the History Channel. Heck, I’ve even been caught watching terrible reality shows like Storage Wars or Duck Dynasty. I just can’t help it, I love those crazy rednecks.
There’s a whole lot of love in that last paragraph.
In the past, Simon has outlined his reasons for cutting the cord on cable. The cost can easily exceed $100 a month. TV can lead to a sedentary lifestyle. The content is, for the most part, not exactly mentally stimulating, and I’m pretty sure it lowers your IQ when you watch. And, thanks to technology, it’s easy to catch your favorite shows on your own time on your computer.
These are all valid arguments, but I’m not cutting my TV anytime soon. Here’s why.
The Cost Isn’t That Bad
Everybody always sites the cost as the primary reason for cutting their cable, often citing that $100 per month cost. But it doesn’t need to be that way.
My satellite company offers over 100 channels for under $35 per month. You’re going to spend most of your time only watching a handful of channels anyway, and you can add other channels on an individual basis for only a few dollars more a month. For $40 or $50 a month it’s pretty easy to build a package of channels that you actually watch.
Assuming you pay $50 a month, TV gives you entertainment for under $1.50 per day. If you compare that to almost any other entertainment option out there, it’s the cheapest. And, assuming you have small children, TV is also the most practical entertainment solution for the only time of the day you have free, when the kids go to bed.
Netflix Kinda Sucks
I had Netflix for two months. Here’s what happened.
Days 1-5: Wow! Look at all the shows! (Watches about three different seasons of Futurama)
Days 5-10: Hey, let’s check out some of these movies.
Days 10-15: Meh, I’m kind of bored.
Days 15-60: (Doesn’t watch)
Netflix is great fun when you first get it, and then you quickly move through the content you’re interested in. Since Netflix content updates are sometimes few and far between, there isn’t enough new content to keep you interested. Netflix has a huge churn rate when it comes to subscribers. Lots of people end up getting bored with the service. So in the end Netflix kinda sucks.
Not that I’m encouraging it, but you can easily find websites that accomplish the same thing as Netflix, as long as you’re willing to put up with a few ads.
TV Gets A Bad Rap
One of the main criticisms of TV is that the content is mindless. Reality TV is terrible, and most sitcoms aren’t much better. Many dramas are filled with sex and violence, something we don’t want our children seeing. It’s filled with ads just tempting people to buy stuff. Heck, they’ve even found a way to incorporate ads into television shows. TV is terrible entertainment compared to some of the cheap alternatives, particularly the internet and books from the library.
There’s only one problem with that argument. There’s a lot of good stuff on TV.
PBS constantly shows some really educational stuff. I’ve learned countless things about the stock market and investments in general from my hours watching the business channel. National Geographic shows all sorts of good stuff too, as does the History channel, Discovery, and there’s decent stuff on lots of other channels too. There are good things on TV, you just have to find them.
Meanwhile, let’s compare that to the internet. There’s good stuff on there too, (like this site, because I like sucking up) but there’s a big bunch of trash. Youtube is filled with dumb videos. There are millions of websites that won’t enlighten you in the least. It’s the same thing with resources from the library. Some of it is educational and will expand your knowledge, while some of it is purely entertainment. It doesn’t matter the entertainment source, you’ll get out of it exactly what you put in.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be entertained. We can’t work all the time, and TV is one of the things you can use to relax. We seem to have this aversion to relaxing, being busy is seen as a badge of honor. When it comes to relaxation options, keeping cable TV isn’t so bad. Like anything, it should be enjoyed in moderation. It all comes down to what you’re looking to get out of the medium. TV can be interesting and enlightening if you want it to be. I like it, and I’ll continue to shell out a few bucks a month for it. It’s worth it.