In a few weeks my significant other and I will be giving up cable TV for good. We are definitely not the first people to do this but for a couple that follows as many television shows as we do it is a big step. A few different factors led to us making this decision: the rising cost of even basic cable, the extra 10 to 20 minutes wasted on commercials for every show that we watch as it airs, and the low quality of entertainment for most channels on most nights of the week.
There’s also the internet factor: we can now download most if not all of our favourite shows online. iTunes sells individual episodes of a wide variety of programs for a few dollars per episode or an entire season of a television show for about the same amount of money one would pay for a movie on DVD. If we download the same number of shows that we watched last year we will be paying about the same amount a month as we did for cable. (We are planning to cut back on our must-see list, though.) On the other hand, we will never have to watch any commercials and once a new episode airs and we download it we can watch it whenever we both have the free time to do so. Television will no longer rule our schedules.
In previous years we’ve used television most heavily over the winter. My husband has a fatigue disorder which becomes much worse during the winter. It often makes it difficult for him to do much else other than going to work from late December to the middle or end of March when the weather warms up, the snow melts and we have more hours of light again. If we have a particularly dark, cold autumn or spring he can go into what I think of as his hibernation as early as the beginning of November and not emerge again until April.
During this time watching our favourite TV shows is part of a rather short list of activities in which he is almost always able to do. Eventually I’d like to compress most or all of our television watching into those months so that we can spend more time during the rest of the year doing everything that isn’t easy for him to do while hibernating: going on road trips, camping, visiting friends and family members, and spending a fair amount of time outdoors. We will have to see how our habits change this winter and if this plan works for us!