Gave Up On Television

How did you stop watching TV? Did it change your life, and if so, how?

Note: There is an important distinction between giving up on broadcast/cable television, and giving up on any use of a television (such as console games or watching recorded material). This page is (arguably) about the former, namely, giving up on broadcast and cable television.

I am only 24, but just the sound of a television set drives me insane. I was a TV addict until I went off to college. By the time I graduated, I had been very social, academically productive, and grown completely out of television. But as a result? I feel ostracized. My girlfriends look at me as though I were a CRIMINAL when I admit I've never seen a "Sex and the City". EVEN MY PARENTS SCOFF AT ME! I've been labeled as pious, uninformed, 'in a bubble', weird, etc.

I've always felt it's much more worth my while to either spend time with a live human being, or read, or write, or create (art, in my case), and even to surf the net. As someone below mentioned, one can use the internet in an active fashion, contributing and rejecting and digesting all sorts of new ideas.

Here's something sad: Being only 24 years old, and an artist, and just trying to figure out how I'll make my millions, I'm broke. My mother offered to buy me cable, but when I mentioned I'd rather have DSL she paused and said...well, no. I thought it'd be nice to buy you cable.

-- Alizarin

I arrived at this destination via an interesting path:

Let's just say I was 'borrowing' my cable signal, thru subscription to a cable modem service. One day, the filter police caught up with me and my cable channels were cut down to local 2(CBS), 4(NBC) and 5(WB). Some strange things began to happen:

Cured for life? Not sure - let's just say we're in tele-remission.

The best thing I ever did, took back my life from the Devil's picture-box.

Once someone does stop watching television, a number of interesting things happen:

Television, it'll keep your ass wishing forever./ You'll never get your life together. -- Ice Cube

Don't need your religion ; don't watch that much T.V. -- Guns n Roses

From (

"Television, however, is pure poison," Madonna said.

"To be plopped in front of a TV instead of being read to, talked to or encouraged to interact with other human beings is a huge mistake and that's what happens to a lot of children."

I found this WikiPage, today. So I wasn't alone...

I hardly ever watch TV. There's so much more interesting things to do, like others have mentioned. Such as being with people, reading, writing, surfing on the net and talking with others there, programming, and so on.

This goes especially for news, and so called debate programs, which, as others have said, are sensationalistic and tends to focus on violence and conflicts, rather than the big picture and understanding.

I like good movies, though, but for me, they are few and far between.

-- TerjeSlettebo?

Back in school, I once dated a woman who was raised without television. Her father was a university professor and he didn't believe in T.V. Her worldview was very different, very refreshing.

I GaveUpOnTelevision around the age of fifteen, voluntarily. It was easy - that was around the time that, in my mind, cartoons died, and I had never been in the habit of watching anything else. (Note that I do enjoy VideoAddiction.) I intend to devote the next few years to finding a woman who has done likewise... -- DanielKnapp See how easy it can be to eliminate yourself from the gene pool? Didn't say that I considered it an essential criterion; sigh...

Besides, it might not be hard to do. I should give up on Television, and I'm dating someone who virtually never watches it.

I didn't even own a T.V. for the first six months out of college. I had the money but didn't think it was a big necessity. Several of my co-workers at the time couldn't even comprehend the idea. I think I would have gotten a milder reaction if I told them I was from another planet.

I don't own a T.V., and gave away the TV card I had in my PC. I just don't have enough time for watching mediocre T.V. shows while there are so many great books to read. -- FalkBruegmann

Right after I graduated from high school, I was hit by a car while riding a bike. I was laid up for about six months. I never did watch the soaps, however. I'm kind of proud of that. It took me two years to be able to stand watching T.V. again. I don't have time for much T.V. now.

I think that the lesser thing that I do to keep myself sane is avoid the local news. It is invariably sensationalistic and morose. The only time I miss it is when there is some hurricane offshore (I live in Florida). But if you don't hear about it from someone else, you at least have an indication by the way people scurry around and flood the grocery stores.

-- MichaelFeathers

I'm no fan of TV news. I occasionally try to catch the weather on local news (when I get frustrated trying to hit the local forecast on the Weather Channel). On rare occasion, I'll turn to CNN for coverage of a particular story. On top of that, I stopped getting the newspaper 10 months ago. (It seemed like a lot of paper for what I actually read.) So now I get most of my news from the web and that not too often.

Frequently, I am totally ignorant of a major story. OTOH, in the past year I heard a hell of lot more about one story that I could stand. Now that it is in a lull - I'm sure there will be more chapters - I think I'll be more inclined to actively seek out news. I'll still avoid TV news. -- KielHodges

TV news is a waste of time. Anything important on the news you'll be able to read about later in history books. :-) Anything urgent will be on all the TV stations and radio stations as well as on the lips of passers-by, so you'll figure it out eventually.

I have never had a TV. And feel that it was a very wise decision on the part of my parents. If I did have one, I would either

Anything except the first would be a shame.

Because I have never had a TV, I have done things which perhaps would otherwise not have been possible:

I am not of course saying that a TV is evil, merely that time can be spent better doing other things. Although, about every month, I hear about a really fascinating program that I wish I'd been able to watch. But that's only every month.

Of course, I -love- the cinema.

-- MatthewTheobalds

Kill your TV.

See also

I moved to San Diego in August, 2000 and never got around to setting up my TV. Among the many benefits mentioned above, it gave me a nice perspective on the U.S. election. I didn't see a single campaign TV ad. I listened to the debates on the radio. I don't even know what George W. Bush looks like. It's better this way. -- BenKovitz

Further reading:

See Also: VideoAddiction,,

It is easy for someone who has escaped any addiction to sound a little preachy. What can the television-free do to help others without sounding like a scold?

Interesting question. Tell how you gave up TV, but don't bother selling the idea as part of the package. People who aggressively sell their personal preferences always impress me as people who need an inordinate amount of attention. On the other hand, if it's attention they need, might as well preach and scold away full blast. To attenuate the signal belies the motive, and who does that serve?

See also: PersonalChoiceElevatedToMoralImperative

Here's how I gave up television: I got a new job in London, and moved there from Edinburgh. For the first few months, I shared a flat in Greenwich, which had a television, which got quite a bit of use. One day, the television broke down somehow, and my flatmates took it to a repair shop to get it fixed. I don't know what was wrong with it, it just wasn't there when I came back from work one day. It took a long time to get repaired, many weeks, and by the time it came back we had all found other things to do during the time we used to watch TV. That TV was very rarely switched on after it came back. Not long after this I got a place of my own, an unfurnished flat, and moved in. The flat didn't have a TV in it, I didn't own one, and since I hadn't missed the one in the Greenwich flat when it was away, it never occurred to me to buy one for the new flat. -- KeithBraithwaite

OK Keith, so how did you solve the problem of the TV Licence Inspectors? In the UK, every household having a TV must pay an annual licence tax. It's hard to convince the inspectors that you really don't have a TV (especially if there is still an antenna from a previous installation). I know someone without a TV who gets an investigatory visit every six months. I know SilenceImpliesConsent, but if my wife didn't "need" the TV, I'd feel pressured into buying a licence just to avoid the harassment. -- RogerBrowne

TV licence inspectors? I ignore them. My moral outrage at being faced with a opt-out tax on an opt-in service is such that I just throw the (increasingly frantic with time) threatening letters from the Licencing Authority in the bin. What motivation do I have to help them "update our records"? Does this person you know fill in the declaration that they have no TV and send it back? If so, I have to suspect that this is asking for trouble. Currently the TVLA simply has no information about me, not even my name.

There have been many cases of the TV licence inspectors harassing people, creeping about in their gardens trying to see in the windows, etc. As the TVLA will admit when pressured, it isn't enough for them to observe that you have a TV but no licence: before they fine you, they have to show that you use your TV to watch broadcast programmes. Possibly unlike your acquaintance, I lived when I wrote the above, and live now, in a second floor flat not easy to see into the windows of, or find the door-bell. As far as I know, no inspector has called. A visit every six months seems excessive. Has your acquaintance investigated their legal position? Unless they turn up with a warrant, there seems no reason to let them into one's house. But I am not a lawyer. -- KeithBraithwaite

Getting back to the question of encouraging folks to give up TV without preaching: I think that having an alternative goal helps tremendously. It's not just giving up TV; it's giving up TV so that you can do something else. For me, it's increased socialization with family and friends, and a variety of small-time hobbies like drawing and learning Japanese. That way, when the remote's in my hand, I can say to myself, "No, I want to be a better artist" and press the "Off" button. -- BrentNewhall

I gave up television by trying to live life intentionally, by asking myself what enjoyment or accomplishment I was getting out of every day, every hour. So when I wanted to turn on the TV, I asked myself "Now, are you actively looking forward to watching television, or are you just trying to avoid the decision of doing something else with your life?" I ended up watching a lot less TV this way, and doing more reading, writing, bike-riding, hanging out with friends, etc., etc. I do still watch TV from time to time, but it's shows that I actively want to watch. It's not just killing time.

I gave up TV too. Now if I could just give up Wikis...

Yes, think how much free time you'd have if you never used it for anything. -- DanielKnapp

I gave up on television. But I still watch it sometimes. -- WaldenMathews

I watch it in very strict moderation only to keep up with the pop culture in movies and television. Of course, my roommate will tell you I hate TV... -- ChuckSmith

The last few weeks I've been watching more TV than at any other time in my life. This is because I just bought a TiVo. Maybe the novelty will wear off soon. -- DaveHarris

I watch a little TV... though the "better things to do" have often been reloading the same three webpages over and over to see if they've been updated (WebAddiction). I forget that, for example, I own a guitar, and books. I've learned the guitar, I've done neat computer things, and I've learned a little cooking. And, as always, there's the BigRoom. Even though it gets awful hot out there, I've gone out quite often, and even taken swing dancing lessons every week for a few months. I haven't yet rationalized giving up TV completely, but I recognize that there are better ways I could be spending my time. Generally, when I think of something better to do, I do it instead. I'd certainly prefer to spend my time hanging out with friends, but it seems they're all watching TV and endless hours of anime, playing endless hours of video games. So what's a good way to make new friends? -- NickBensema

I thought about giving up on TV. However, I thought "What About StarTrek? What about getting announcements on weather, road conditions or other Emergencies?" Perhaps you do not watch TV, but does anyone not even own a television?

I haven't owned (or watched) a TV for about 8 years...

Yes. No TV since 1999

People may not be getting the slight hint of a question here. How does a person get the emergency information typically displayed on the TelevisionSet? during an emergency or a tense situation; radio? The situation I am living in is the UnitedStatesOfAmerica.

For weather, there are alert radios, that detect the EAS signals and start playing, so that should cover weather, flood, nuclear attack, etc.

Also, speaking to your neighbours can be an effective means of finding out important things (and not so important things, use with care).

Just to put in the opposing view, there are a few TvShowsWorthWatching?, such as BuffyTheVampireSlayer?. I can watch that show and a couple of others each week and still work forty hours, go bike riding, hang out with friends, read some books, play some computer games, etc. TV, like anything, must be used in moderation. -- BrianRobinson

I wrote the preceding a couple of years ago. Recently, BuffyTheVampireSlayer? ended its run and I moved. I elected not to get cable and most of my TV watching is as a result of NetFlix? now. I am still a CouchPotato?, just one who sits in front of the computer all night instead of the TV. --BrianRobinson (2003-7-1)

See TvWatchers for these.

For a while, I gave myself a ration of eight hours of TV per week. It made me focus on only watching the good stuff, rather than just turning it on whenever I couldn't think of anything better to do. -- KrisJohnson

Most people do not watch TV because they want to watch TV. They watch TV to relieve themselves of the burden of finding something actually enjoyable to do. I've been watching much less TV as a way to make myself more conscious of my life, and I haven't regretted it.

There's an interesting parable about watching news, that goes something like:

"I don't watch TV." "How do you know what's going on in the world??" "I go outside."

I'm not advocating a complete dismissal of news, just stating that there's about a 10:90 signal-to-noise ratio in most of it :) Something important happens? You'll find out. -- JasonMcManus?

Interesting corollary is that the news media often has a different idea of WhatEveryoneIsTalkingAbout? than your social circle. For example, nobody I know, on the Internet OR in real life, talks about Gary Condit and Caroline Levy. But you can't watch CNN for five minutes without someone bringing it up, and it's been months since I've seen Larry King talking to anyone about anything else. If you want to know what's going on in the world outside your own sphere of influence, you pick up a newspaper, magazine, or a relevant Web site. I couldn't tell you who's getting divorced this week in Hollywood, but I can tell you what's new in the latest version of MAME. -- NickBensema

It's "Chandra" Levy. Obviously, you aren't watching enough television.

just stating that there's about a 10:90 signal-to-noise ratio in most of it :) - That's what I call exaggerated optimism. Or maybe you don't live in the USA.

I've lived (in the UK) happily without a TV for perhaps 7 years now. I have moved four times in that time and every time I move house I get plagued by the dreaded TV Licence Inspectors. They are rude and send threatening letters which I throw in the bin. There is a form to fill in but I seem to remember that it has no way of telling them that you do not own a television. It never seems to have occurred to them. Now I redirect the letters to my MemberOfParliament's home address. -- DaveBerkeley

I've reduced my tv ration to about 7-8 hours a week, which I consider a acceptable portion of time for keeping in touch with the virtual world. Since I've done this, I'm sleeping and dreaming differently. I have a feeling of 'escaping' my mind from the machine like neo getting plugged of the Matrix! I'm free! There is a second goal, which has also the potential of changing your live (no, not sex you fool...), it's KeepYourSpineStraight. While changing my tv habits changed the way I'm sleeping and dreaming, keeping my back straight is changing the way I'm thinking! -- ManfredSchaefer

This would be a very bad idea. Your spine has a natural curvature. Most programmers have too much of it. Google for posture.

See also

Much like giving up diet soda, I find giving up television really difficult. A great alternative is a Tivo - at least then the time is wasted more efficiently and you can skip all of the commercials(which the more I'm away from them, the more they remind me of something from TheyLive). -- KenRawlings

I took part in a televised "Question Time" debate before the last election in the UK. Attending that event made it clear how political coverage is framed on TV:

  1. Only cover issues that have widespread appeal.
  2. Don't touch any topic that takes too long to explain.
  3. Prefer emotive topics. (Perhaps they're more crowd pleasing?)
  4. On certain points, doggedly force the politician to answer "Yes" or a "No" - even when it's obvious that the question is overly simplistic.
  5. Time always wins over depth of subject matter.

Moved here from VideoAddiction

It's hard to give up on television when there's so much pressure that one wonders if there's any reason to try, other than to please those who criticize the way one lives. But I should be used to people criticizing my lifestyle. People think I'm a murderer for eating meat, and I'm a vegetable because I watch TV, and I'm a nerd for being on the Internet, and I'm going to hell because I haven't taken on religion, and I have bad taste in music because I own a "Best of Journey" album, and that I'm a hopeless corporate shill because I own a T-shirt with a logo on it. But I generally try not to look down my nose at people, and I'd prefer not to ridicule people who live their life differently than I do.

If one wants to help people give up television, one could enable them to entertain themselves in ways that one considers more productive. For example, one could talk about the things one does to relax or stimulate themselves; many have and I applaud them. One could start a club, or join an existing one to help it out; many of you already have. One could teach people a skill, or become a mentor. One could invite one's friends over for dinner, or out to eat. One could invite people to play tennis, or chess, or rock-paper-scissors. And if one hears "But I'll miss the show with that guy that says IllBuyThatForaDollar!" that's not a cue to call them stupid. That's a cue to remind them, politely, to tape it. They'll program their VCR, and very likely forget to watch the tape, and they'll learn for themselves. See how easy it is to do things without hostility? -- NickBensema

Imagination is its own reward. Why didn't you people who GaveUpOnTelevision invent the WarpDrive? You're the ones with all the free time to think and do useful things. -- RonJeffries

"Doctor, will I be able to play the violin after the operation?" - I don't know, Ron, but I'll venture this: no one who watches television 2-4 hours a day will invent a WarpDrive (or much of anything else) any time soon.

My experience of this:

When I lived in Sydney, I did a lot of creative stuff in my own time. Sydney has very little television - 5 channels of even worse crap than American TvWatchers endure. Among other things I did with my spare time, I built an interpolation of LaoTse, and an epic rhyming poem, and a software startup, and a monthly column for InternetAustralasia?, and a successful campaign for online free speech which involved activities from personal testimony to the oz senate to a front-page appearance in the papers to leading a street march on the NSW parliament. And getting a start on the StoneSociety.

On landing in San Diego, for the first six months I didn't have a TV. Or spare time. Still I managed to apply for a patent, establish a consulting business, and move house twice. Then when I finally had a chance to catch my breath, I got a TV. I only got it to watch StarTrek. I didn't anticipate the seductive power of 70 channels (80 if you count the wriggly blue women). I had never had the experience of channel surfing - there is no such experience when there's only 5 channels.

So I evolved a VideoAddiction. Like a frog being slow-boiled, I never noticed. All I noticed was that I didn't seem to have a lot of time any more. I just worked, came home, ate dinner and watched until bedtime, with maybe an hour off for email. My creative activities simply stopped, and I didn't realize. It just seemed like I didn't quite have enough time for them.

So, now I GaveUpOnTelevision, I don't know that I'll make any WarpDrive(s). But I'm very pleased with my new progress on the StoneSociety, and I have high hopes for that. Of course I'll most likely fall flat on my face, but that's still better than sleeping with eyes open in front of the gigglebox. -- PeterMerel

Check out the cover of the Feb 2002 Scientific American. The article on TV Addiction is also online at: -- DougPhilips

FWIW - I found the solution to crappy TV was to just buy more of it. It appears the song lyric "57 channels and nothing on" is not quite true. It's actually more like "57 channels and 0.1027 good shows on". Bruce Springsteen was just taking the liberty of rounding down to "nothing".

If you multiply 57 channel options by 10 (570), you'll find approximately one good broadcast at any time of day. ;-)

I can always find at least 1-2 hours of good programming on OregonPublicBroadcasting (Nova, ScientificAmerican) or the Discovery & History channels.

-- MichaelLeach

I stopped watching a lot of TV when I realized there was nothing worth watching on at all. The only things that are good on television are movies, and foreign ones at that. There are one or two thought-provoking programs, but watching TV is a passive activity that doesn't make you use your brain. Hence the success of TV advertising--people are more open to suggestion in a slightly vegetative state. I wonder, though, if Internet addiction has taken the place of my television watching...

I haven't owned a TV since I moved out of my parent's house 10 years ago. (We can watch movies on a computer monitor, but don't do it much.) The biggest change is that I have lost the ability to hold a conversation in a room with a television. When the TV was on a lot, I learned to ignore it and talk at the same time. These days I find a TV way too distracting, and can't focus on something else. -- EricHerman

When I occasionally watch a TV documentary, I notice that, compared with reading a book or even listening to the radio, the data rate is so sloooow (yawn). Unless it's a really good programme, what you get is an interesting sentence and then two minutes of supposedly relevant pictures and music designed to 'illustrate' the point. Then another sentence, and another two minutes of pictures, etc. . . At this rate, it takes half an hour to get what I could have read in a couple of minutes. Why these guys haven't worked out that people can listen to the words and watch the pictures at the same time beats me. -- StephenHutchinson

I never explicitly GaveUpOnTelevision; its role in my life decreased until I found I was no longer watching it. I went from several hours a day as a youth to decreased viewing in college. (Each year of college, my father offered me a television, which was politely refused.) After graduation a friend and I moved into a new place and the only TV was in his bedroom, which effectively ended my television habit. Since then I've lived in places ranging from a city apartment to a proverbial OffTheGrid? cabin in the woods, and haven't missed television in any of them. On the rare occasions when I watch commercial television, the constant advertising is too distracting, and I turn it off after a few minutes. It seems that when I GaveUpOnTelevision, I GaveUpOnAdvertising too.

Now I'm a WikiAddict, though, so I'm not sure I've gained that much, just changed. I still read about 70 books a year.

I remember the hours of stupor. It's amazing how channel-flipping alone can "relax" the mind to near coma. Nowadays, I sometimes miss that state, actually, after a long burn session. My TV habits changed when our TV broke a couple of years back, and there wasn't any convincing reason to fix it. Two (bad) English channels and the occasional Italian game show (with a LOT of beautiful women that I do miss at times) were not much to cry about. These days I do watch the occasional TV show, but only what I download--no ads, and 100% choice. It's good (better than a book or socializing) at switching off the brain after coding. Do I miss it? Absolutely not. The only oddity I experience is the strange attraction I feel towards TVs at public places or at friends' homes ;) -- SvenNeumann

near coma ~ Apparently, your brain is less active watching television than when sleeping.. -- ChrisRudge

I use the time saved in not watching television to tell tales and sing songs to my children.

I can't give up my TV. I use it to play the Super Nintendo and PS2 and watch various movies. On the other hand, I did cut off the cable and don't usually watch broadcast TV(I did catch a show on Fox during Thanksgiving week). I really want a huge wide-screen TV for the movies. I've come a long way from high school though. For a few years, I could tell time by turning on the TV and looking at what was on and where they were at in the story plot. I still found time to play outside, read more books than during my entire time in college, and play video games. I'm still trying to figure out how I managed to do that. I had so much more time in high school.

Being in college, I found TV was a waste of time. I got rid of it. It's too difficult to study with a continuous distraction. Without cable there isn't much to watch anyway. I've found, however, that I've shifted to chatting with people online and posting on websites. It is slightly more difficult to relate to people now if they start talking about this or that show, but reading a book makes you more educated than watching the latest fad TV show. -- BlakeMason

I lost my television set in a nasty divorce in January of 1998. I replaced it with a monitor/DVD/VCR that has no connection to broadcast or cable. I use my broadband web connection for news and information, and I occasionally entertain myself with pre-recorded videos. Getting rid of broadcast has markedly reduced my fear, stress, anxiety, and overall horse-manure level. When I occasionally encounter contemporary TV (at friends, family, store, etc.), I am stunned and repulsed by its violence, stress, and incredible tastelessness. My kids, who are with me on alternate weekends, appear to be quite content with the arrangement; I get no complaints whatsoever. -- TomStambaugh

I gave my TV away to a friend and I found I had lots of free time after that.

I filled my new found free time by surfing the Internet. Surfing is a lot better as I get to choose what I read and look at, and it is a much better way to sit on my bum and wait quietly for death. :-)

I have not stopped watching TV yet. Does anyone else feel it flashes like a strobe light, especially during videos? It couldn't be coincidental that negative shows like videos flash strobe-like, but positive shows like educational programs don't strobe as much.

Don't know about that. I do spend a lot of time at work looking at very high refresh rate, high resolution CRTs and quite some time at home looking at a high-res LCD with effectively zero flicker. So when I do chance to see a domestic TV I am struck by the the flickering, blurry, unstable image they produce, even high end models. I find TV images very, very distracting and intrusive, and the flicker has a lot to do with it, I think.

See TvWatchers

I watch TV regularly, primarily movies on subscription channels such as HBO.

I don't really have a problem with it taking all my time. I bought one of those new televisions that come with an "off" switch.

This is all very interesting. Although I currently have 2 TVs I believe I could happily life without television (broadcast that is).

During the summer of 1990, I was homeless for a few months, actually it was about a year, but the genuine homelessness (no roof over my head), lasted for most of the summer.

That experience opened my eyes in ways which don't really fit here, but had the side-effect of releasing me from the daily habit that was TV. I became pleasantly disjointed from the flow of national and world events and also the torrent of meaningless pieces of gossip, scaremongering and advertising that make up 99% of television.

Since that episode I rarely watch TV alone, I simply cannot slump in front of the set and waste time having others' meaningless, soulless trash beamed into my unconscious. The only exceptions are:

Live football (the British kind) - as I can't afford to pay inflated ticket prices any more, and when I did go to a live event it was always much more entertaining and several thousand times more sociable watching TV.

Downtime - when my wife comes home from work, she works hard and likes to switch her mind off watching trash, I don't blame her but she knows I'd like her not too. I spend this time with her, so at least we are together.

Display - Using the TV simply as a display to watch DVDs or play console games, this is how the TV is used the most in our house. I'm sure people see our 42" TV and instantly think we are TV addicts, they simply cannot believe that I bought it to use an expensive monitor.

Like probably most readers of this page I am almost constantly connected to the Internet in some way, for work, for entertainment, but most importantly out of choice. We will look back on these times, if indeed they have not already passed, as one of choice. I'm sure that there will be MORE to consume in the coming years and decades but I doubt it will be easier to CHOOSE as bandwidth expands and television invades the Internet.

Hey, we could well lok back and see the early 21st century as the Golden Years of the Internet (TM).

-- ToneLeMoan?,

Yeah, I'm the above's wife and I would be happy to stop watching TV. But it is an easy way to completely stop thinking, which is nice if you do a very cerebral job. There is only two programs I find extremely hard to give up, both are soaps and I am even sad enough to get through the day looking forward to watching them. However contrary to my husbands believes, I could and would stop right NOW if I had a genuine reason (i.e. TV breaks down, no more "Eastenders or Holby City" or I had my little hobby-area sorted out). But as none of these things have happened, I really do enjoy the brainless entertainment, letting my mind wind down slowly before going to bed reading (yes, I read an awful lot) for more than an hour before falling asleep. Really in an ideal world I'd like to live in a self-build hut somewhere, with no mod coms at all as I so had enough of the stupefied western societies. I'm tired now and will go home not watching much TV as my fav. program isn't on tonight. ;o)

I gave up T.V the same time my accidentally free cable disappeared. Strangely enough didn't have a T.V (I'm in college) until my ex-girlfriend found a broken one and brought it back to my apartment thinking I could fix it. I did, but all I watched on it were movies. Now, with no cable, no movies and no girlfriend (a GoodThing), T.V fits nowhere in my life. One way or the other it's not a big deal to me. -- SethLesky

I grew up watching TV every day for a few hours.

Then one day we moved to a place in the mountains where they didn't have cable, and we couldn't get signals from the antenna. It changed my life! Suddenly I realized that there's a whole world of books and other activities. I've fought off the temptation to veg out in front of the TV since then. The consumption of TV in our society has produced alarming complacency and mental moppishness.

On the other hand, sometimes I wonder if prior generations really were smarter than we are today.

We have a TV, but use it primarily for watching videos (horse related stuff mostly), and as a monitor when editing our own videos (also horse related stuff). We do watch about one or two hours of broadcast TV per month. Recently, my mother-in-law asked my wife if we'd seen something or other on TV, to which my wife replied that we don't really watch TV. My mom-in-law asked, "why not?", to which my wife replied that we don't really have time (we spend a lot of time on our hobbies, horses for both of us, and aviation for me). My wife was flabbergasted when her mother replied, "you have to make time!". What a concept, making time to do something we have no desire to do.

I gave up on television because it's a bit of a waste of time and I don't have enough discipline to watch only when I want to. It used to put a damper on my weekend if I missed the Waltons, which is a bit pathetic. (Now I'm a radio junkie and it puts a damper on my weekend if I miss the Archers.) I currently live in forced cohabitation with a TV and very occasionally watch something, but never ever switch the thing on. Now if I watch things like the news or adverts I have a hard time understanding what's going on. I have no desire to get in the way of other people's TV habit if they enjoy it for whatever reason, though I do confess to a slight feeling of smug superiority to the slack-jawed masses, which I try to keep quiet about (not always successfully).

When we got married (nearly 20 years ago) we made the decision not to have a TV. At some point we started listening to the Archers and it became a bit of a "habit" to the point that my #2 daughter would "shush" us if we talked during an episode. Luckily the script writers came to our rescue by jumping the shark once too often with some ridiculous storyline and we stopped listening. Now we don't have any listening habits. If we miss a radio program that we had wanted to listen to, so what? c'est la vie

I like pretending that I'm some academic/ascetic that holes up in his castle reading fine classic books and blahblahblah. I manage to waste my time without having had a cable subscription since I was in the dorms 2 years ago. Even then I didn't bother with much TV. I took an advanced English composition class about 3 years back that was oddly focused on the culture of mass media, celebrity worship, entertainment/corporatism/postmodernism. I became so attuned to what happened to me as I watched the tube that I got really bothered when I tried to watch shows, especially "news". I don't suffer so badly from my aversion any more, but I'm not absolutely DYING from the lack. My biggest qualm with TV-watching is when the watcher complains about not "having enough time" to do productive things like exercising or yardwork. Total BS. Mind you, I manage to waste my time as well as anyone else, but I have no illusions of this being the world's fault. But anyway, this is becoming a TimeManagement rant. -- DClaySiefken

I used to watch TV like crazy. I remember once when I was little, I got up, watched cartoons all day, and went to bed. Luckily I was smart enough to only do that once. We've never had cable or satellite and have no plans to get them.

Why? Mainly because there's nothing good on. Even if there was, I can't stand commercials. There's one North American show ("The Outer Limits" - New Version) that I would like to get on DVD and I'd watch that on my computer. I like it because it makes you think.

Considering that all of my friends are computer geeks like I am, I don't really get much flak for my choice. Besides, I spend all of that reclaimed time reading, writing, programming, and maintaining several websites I which I donate space for. (though only one of them is mine. The others are ongoing gifts for non-geek iFriends) In fact, I can read your average novel in about 4 hours. (Which means I read a lot)

At the moment, I'm using my reclaimed time to run a Wiki-based experiment. My goal being to find the best way to use a Wiki for collaborative creation of fiction. (See CollaborativeFiction)

-- Stephan Sokolow

I've looked over this page several times in the last several months, but never had the courage to say, "yes, TV is bad, but I haven't had the conviction to abandon it."

After some consideration, I have to say that, if one wants to have his life back, he should eliminate television. In more than 40 years of watching the benefits vs liabilities of TV, I must say I have not found any valid rationale that supports keeping television. I submit that any perceived knowledge or wisdom that might be obtained through TV can be accomplished better through other media. Passive entertainment is the worst kind. Entertainment is good, but the more interactive it is, the greater the benefits. Passive entertainment is hypnotic, allowing the installation of bizarre ideas and values while one sleeps with eyes open. -- GarryHamilton

How about the movies? Much of what can be said about TV applies to cinema, except you gotta haul yer butt off the couch and down to the local multiplex, and shell out $8 a head, in order to have bizarre ideas and values installed by movies.

I view movies as distinct from TV. Movies are not continually interrupted by commercials, "news" (heavily edited), and so on. However, I have lately had the "pleasure" of seeing a number of movies that were clearly spun to deliver a "morality message" rather than just tell a good story. I like a good disaster movie as much as the next fellow, but a two-hour diatribe, transparently plotted and glibly acted, whose purpose is to help me fix blame, is not so much a story as a staged op-ed piece.

When I'm watching a movie of the I-paid-money-for-this type, I find I am less "AsleepWithEyesOpen" and more actively attentive. When it's on TV, it becomes more of a I'm-watching-this-because-there's-nothing-better-on experience, and I find I'm less alert. Later, it occurs to me that there were other, better things that could have been done with that time. But like one contributor above, I have a spouse who a) doesn't want to have to think, b) wants company.

I believe I'll see what I can do with this. Who knows, I might actually achieve something worthwhile. -- gh

1 month tv free, absolutely don't miss it. d.

I grew up in Austria. And I was THE TV addict. I watched everything. Especially shows from the US. At the age of 26 I moved to California for a year. My first time in America (err, the US). I had cable and I could watch even more of my beloved US shows now. But the weird thing was that I lost interest in watching them at all. It was too much fun to see and experience the real America now. Which has merely a slight resemblance with the things you see on TV.

I am now back in Austria. And I don't have a TV anymore. I get all the news from the net. Which is a lot faster anyway. And I don't have to sit through reports I am not interested in. Although the time I gained by not watching TV is lost with surfing the net now. (I should really cut back on my net time).

One thing I noticed in the states was that the news on TV are 99% about local incidents. Except CNN and some other stations which very few people are watching. Some folks here mentioned that TV addicts counter with lines like 'How do you know what's going on in the world?'. Let me tell you: they don't know what's going on in the world anyway. Not from watching TV. And I also got that feeling that CNN and the others are pretty biased. Of course I can't really proof that. Naturally, they transform the 'news' in a way that it boosts their viewer levels. And that's not much better in other countries. But the TV news in the states are especially 'melodramatic'.

One should really go out there and visit some places. And I don't mean those tourist enclaves that make you feel like you're back home in Kansas. :-)

I gave up on TV 3 years ago. But when I lived in SantiagoDeChile last year, sharing a house with 3 other students, they had a TV and I watched. When I came back to BuenosAires, I didn't buy one. Neither my wife nor I miss it. We are newly weds, so not having a TV is nice :D. AurelianoCalvo.

Actually, I gave up actively watching TV nearly 15 years ago, when I was 20 or so. Once in a while I come back to it in order to remanifestate my mental state of absolute denial of the media TV as a whole. Besides, they are just doing commercials and replication of old content and replaying old content. However, it is not the old content that I would like to be seeing, though. -- CarstenKlein

Besides, when did you gave up on GiveUpMobilePhones?? -- CarstenKlein

I haven't given up on TV completely but it plays a very small part in my life (less than an hour a week). The interesting thing is the less I watch TV the more I realise that it is just 24/7 rubbish. Like most people on this board I have found that I suddenly acquired much more free time as my TV viewing decreased.

I also found a link between the decreases in my TV watching and an increase in my knowledge and vocabulary (mainly through reading in my now extensive spare time). Unfortunately there seems to be a social stigma around the fact that you would rather waste your time reading boring books than experiencing the collective thrills of mass entertainment and the former is labelled as introverted and anti-social where as the later as necessary for a full social life. It’s probably this mentality that perpetuates success to populist trash such as Harry Potter as the experience of reading can only be accepted through some sort of collective exposure (films or TV adaptations also help to remove the social stigma) and only once the mass media (through TV) has rubber stamped it. There appears to be a strong link between TV and reading as books tend to be read only on holiday, in the absence of any TV in your native language, or where there is no access to a TV, such as on the train (though for how long as mobile TV takes off?).

To quote a greater man than myself "I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book." -- Groucho Marx

I would deny that TV is totally void of cultural and intellectual value as that would be a foolish position to take. Great TV does exist it is just that it is rare.

I also found that once I GaveUpOnTelevision I GaveUpOnAdvertising very soon after and found myself free from mass cultural brainwashing. -- JupiterMoonbeam?

I moved to another town and the apartement simply did not have a TV installed. I suddenly realized that I had much time for books, reflection and contemplation, and that I actually enjoy the silence. My life without TV is definetly better.

-- ZeljkoVrba

I used to have DirecTV back in 2002, and it was great. We had the History Channel, A&E when it was still good, the Gourmet channel, Casaclub TV (home & lifestyle, it was my mom's favorite), the National Geographic channel, the Discovery Channel, and best of all: Locomotion, now ANIMAX. Every day, as soon as I returned from afternoon high school, I would turn on the TV and watch Neon Genesis Evangelion. Every Sunday afternoon I watched Serial Experiments Lain and Ghost in the Shell. And when I caught Modern Machines on the History Channel, I ended up watching at least 2 hours of documentaries.

Now, notice how my TV watching time was split between anime and documentaries?

Well, the reason why I stopped watching TV was because of a conflict between my dad's favorite shows and my favorite shows. While I used to watch pretty much only stuff that was indeed not for the lowest denominator (it was still TV, but at least I found it a little deeper), my dad somehow started watching those trashy TV shows from the Mexican public TV. And trust me, if you think public TV is trashy, this is because you haven't watched public Mexican TV! I'm talking about absolutely inane stuff outright designed by the top executives to shut down the society's brains and turn the people into mindless, docile sheep. I'm talking about stuff like an American Idol ripoff (La Academia), news reports that either have economic interests (Televisa) or are cranked out by far-right hicks (TV Azteca). And my dad used to watch these! Eventually, after SKY purchased DirecTV, and since SKY's monopoly was way more expensive than DirecTV, we ended up first switching to the secret cheap lame package (one step below basic), then we outright dropped our satellite TV.

Since I was dogged with nothing to watch other than my dad's inane crap, and since I can download my anime series anyway, I stopped watching TV at all. I still have the VideoAddiction -- I play a lot of videogames and I've plowed through tons of anime series -- but at least I'm relieved to know I'm free from the public TV's evil influence. ^^

-- DaNuke?

Contrast: GaveUpOnAdvertising, GaveUpOnWiki, GiveUpOnComputers, ThinkingOutLoud


The Television is obsolete. It is now just another monitor to me. When I cannot control what is on it, I become annoyed. Growing up with the internet and the ability to request only that content I wish to see, along with Adblock Plus in Firefox, has sensitized me to advertisements and unwanted content to a great extent.

Moreover, TV is boring and repetitive. From time to time I try to watch a series of television shows. IT seems that the writers of every series must be great friends, or all series are written by one author. They are very predictable in plot, character development, and style. Almost every part of series has become cliche and dull. This could be because producers only want to give what they know works, but this ends up causing people to leave out if disinterest or become pacified and passively interested, assuming people act in a similar fashion to me.

TV content is boring, repetitive, and unimaginative. The internet is whatever I want it to be. Is there really any reason to use the television these days? Maybe for news, but the news can just as easily be seen on the internet in a customized fashion. -- Kent Johnson

{I wish I had access to the Internet you use; mine is repetitive, unimaginative and endlessly disappointing and juvenile. Which isn't a defence of TV.}

You're using the wrong Internet. Try the other one. __________________________

my story of giving up on television sounds a little bit like a bad joke, but this is actually how i did it:

i didn't really want to give it up at first, but wanted to change my behaviour towards when, what and how i watched. i often played a great game with a friend that we used to call the one sentence game. this is how you play it: switch to any channel, let it say one sentence, move along to the next channel, etc.

for every hour there usually were about 20 minutes of great fun and content. then i realized that those numbers actually beat normal tv programming by quite a lot.

then after a few months i started to take what tv was saying seriously, as if somebody were in the room talking to me. i picked up the habit to respond to the most outrageous stuff tv was proposing. i started to realize that this roommate of mine was a lying bastard, commandeering me in the middle of the most beautiful stories to eat stuff i don't like, drink more alcohol, buy senseless crap, you know the deal.

boy, what a displeasing fellow occupying this beautiful corner in my living room which i had organized my spare time life around.

it took me two weeks only to cancel that bastard's tenancy contract. but it wouldn't leave, so i looked outside to see if somebody was underneath my window.

and then i threw the s.o.b. out of the window, literally. it went crack-pooofffff, which was quite a pleasing conversation.

-- .~.

EditText of this page (last edited June 17, 2014) or FindPage with title or text search