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Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Comments

Well, if a book can't transport you to another world, TV sure won't;-}

We do have a TV and I agree that your description fits most of what is on TV these days. I do like an hour of news at night local/national but the rest of our watching is streaming on Netflix and/or Amazon Prime. A lot of good shows, no ads, pause and return. On top of a book or two a week it fills my spare time well.

good on you Mike! Wish I had the fortitude. It is really sad the percentage of our population that lives inside their heads and gets their inputs from TV.

Interesting. We have a TV - a nice 50" 4K Samsung - which we use to watch drama series and films. But never the news! - I can't remember the last time we watched the news on TV. Instead, I consume news via my mobile equipment - the iPad while I'm at home, the iPhone when I'm out, and on both it's the BBC News app that I'll be using.

Thinking about it, that's a huge change. In those pre-internet days we would always watch the BBC 6 o'clock news - national news first, then a short local news bulletin - followed by the national weather forecast. The newsreaders, TV journalists and weather forecasters were nationally-known. And once the TV was on it tended to stay on, of course.

So for us, the big box in the corner is used for entertainment only, and pretty sparingly at that. Although I must admit that watching YouTube videos on the big screen via the Apple TV box is become a thing for me....

I don't think I have ever tuned to an all-day news channel on TV.

Good choice Mike.
When just starting out, I couldn’t afford a TV. I think I was the only one of my age who didn’t see Neil Armstrong take a small step for a man on the moon, but heard it on the radio.

I own a TV, but I think the last time I used it to watch one of the Big Four networks was this year's SuperBowl, and before that it was probably the previous year's SuperBowl (I'm not a football or sports fan, really; the SuperBowl is my only regular sports event, and I watch it for the commercials as much as the game). Mostly I use my TV to watch streaming content from Amazon Prime or Netflix. Once in a while a show on HBO will get my attention (Westworld). Nor do I turn to TV for the latest news, even for fast-breaking events; I get that from various web sites.

Aside from the dreadful quality of most broadcast TV programs, the thing that most irritates me about traditional broadcast TV is the commercials. Maybe I'm looking at the past through rose-colored glasses, but it seems to me that when I was a kid in the '70s, stations devoted fewer minutes per hour to commercials than they do now (or than they did the last time I looked, at least). Back then, they'd interrupt a show every ten minutes or so to play two or three commercials. But a few years ago I watched something (I forget what) on a broadcast station and it seemed like they ran blocks of up to six commercials at a time, AND they seemed to be doing it every five or six minutes. Not only was it really annoying, it left me wondering how much of the original program had been cut out to make room for so many ads. Because of experiences like this, I'm no longer willing to watch TV programming with commercials (except, as I said, for the SuperBowl, where the ads are entertaining in their own right).

I'm envious (but we as a family are not there yet). I suspect an appropriate parallel can be drawn to life without smartphones, something we've already achieved.

Good for you Mike!

We are remote and have a large tree-lined hill to our south, so most content providers are not in easy reach. Haven't watched a TV series in years, but I do watch sports scores on this here little box - not actual plays, just live-update text + graphic pages like PGAtour or the cute NFL field with a moving arrow. Wow now I miss the little vibrating football game, what goes around returns in a new form.

We'll admit to the occasional library DVD or Am-Prime movie but that's about it. Hard to justify a larger or 4k TV with the little use it sees.

hi mike,

i used to like watching some nfl games because i found them interesting ... watching how each play developed, between plays thinking about potential offensive and defensive strategies, identifying the offensive and defensive alignments, likely a run or a pass, man-to-man or zone coverage, potential blitz, go for it on 4th and 1, etc.. for a few years i recorded a game or two every weekend and was able to keep some semblance of flow to the games by fast-forwarding through the many commercial breaks.

now, however, the networks, and perhaps the majority of viewers as well, seem to have lost all interest in what is truly interesting about the game. it's all about creating "excitement" rather than developing "interest". without great mental fortitude and discipline, it is almost impossible to focus on and just enjoy what is interesting about the game, so i rarely watch any games.

yes, let's keep the viewers adrenaline pumping for 3 hours and don't dare give anyone any time to think lest they get bored instead ... 20 camera angles, endless replays and close-up after close-up between plays, a constant barrage of statistically insignificant statistics, perpetually distracting scores from other games and fantasy football statistics hypnotically looping across the bottom of the screen all game long, etc.. what a complete disaster for anyone who simply wants to enjoy the game.

on a positive note, troy aikman's analysis and commentary seems to be first rate ... if only the overall focus and coverage of the game could reflect his standard or excellence.

louis

Longest I went with out a TV was from 1986-1993, then I married someone with one. I still rarely watch it just the occasional art documentary and if my football (soccer) team is on free to view, about an hour a month. It is a habit much like watching it a lot, but in the period of no TV I read nearly a book a day. I was too tight to pay for the license.

The picture is a little blurry.

There's traditional TV -- broadcast over the air using an FCC issued license (even if it comes into your house via cable) -- and there's everything else you can also watch on the big flat screen on your living room wall or bedroom wall or garage wall. And "everything else" is more than what we used to call "cable networks" like HBO and TBS and ESPN. Everything else includes Amazon Fire TV, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and others.

If you use your computer to watch 60 Minutes are you watching TV?

I do enjoy watching certain evening news broadcasts and select sports events on our TV, but I'd never find it tolerable without the convenience of a digital video recorder (DVR). That essential device allows us to adapt the viewing time to fit our own variable preference, and to pause, or rewind, or fast forward (through those endless commercials) as we please. Without a DVR, TV viewing would represent a self-imposed form of fundamental cheapskate punishment.

Bryan Geyer
San Luis Obispo, CA

15 years and counting... We decided to remove it looking at the huge attraction on our then 2yo daughter. Only a couple of times her teachers complained by the lack of common ground (!) with her classmates. But this was before the Internet.

As someone who makes their living in movies and TV ... I am deeply insulted! If everyone did as you are doing, I'd be out of a career!!! :)

More seriously, I think you may be missing some very very good motion photography with your approach. There is no need to have broadcast TV, but with internet, there are so many many good stories and photography to watch these days. If you already subscribe to Amazon Prime for the free shipping, then you have access to some very good original programing there, with no commercials. And there is not so much good programing there to keep you glued to the tube day after day. Recently, we've been enjoying "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and "Goliath". And there's also "The Man in the High Castle" which has a very interesting photographic style.

As a photographer, and writer about photography, I think you just might benefit from a little bit of quality films and serials these days.

But, I don't want to be the guy that pushes you "off the wagon" :)

BTW, I've never paid for cable TV and saved enough money to pay for at least one year of my daughter's college education.

But, ironically, she now works in .... broadcast TV :)

Different strokes for different folks . . .

I have lost track of how many years it has been since I watched broadcast television. Thinking about it, the last time was probably the 1980 Winter Olympics. On the other hand, the television set does get used occasionally to watch something on a DVD - usually a documentary such as the highly rated one I just ordered that deals with the British Spitfire aircraft.

I have no fundamental objection to broadcast television, it's just that I am a lifelong bookaholic and books are a much more attractive use of time to me than broadcast TV.

On the other hand, my wife - who is a very intelligent person - practically lives in front of the television set, so TV is not inherently a waste of time, IMO. Granted, most of what she watches are recent films, news, BBC America, and commercial-free cable series, so she normally avoids the worst of the categories you listed.

I found it amusing that when our son raved about a series of novels that were about to become a series, she watched the first episode and has been hooked on the series (Game of Thrones) for the last seven years.

Bottom line from my viewpoint - as I said at the beginning - different strokes for different folks.

- Tom -

I hadn't seen that Friedlander photo. It's fantastic. I haven't had a television for a little over 6 years now. I don't miss it one bit. I just got back from a 5 day hiking trip with my dogs. There was a TV in the hotel room. My brain is literally numb from watching multiple episodes of the Forensic Files every night after we got back from hiking......... I have been trying to get my Dad off TV news for several years now. I am dreading spending Christmas with him, Rachel, and Chris of MSNBC. I agree with everything they are saying, just not how they say it.

You can still watch just about any sporting event on the interweb. Example, "reddit NFL streams"

One thing I like TV for (defining TV also as Netflix on my tablet, etc) is to study composition. It's rather interesting to snap away at the TV screen during a TV show and then to go back to look at the way the scenes where composed.

Our house is now in its 34th year of no television. We got rid of the TV when we noticed its effect upon our first born child when he was a toddler. (He is now thirty six.)

When our kids were young teenagers we had a TV and a VCR (remember those!?) for a few years for movie watching (never had cable or a dish), but when we moved just before the eldest started high school, the TV did not come with us.

Although we do consume some media (we read --blogs, included! -- and listen to music), we much prefer to use our time to create (photographs, in my case; music in my wife's; writing for both of us) rather than to consume. Creation is so much more satisfying.

You'll know that you are truly over TV when even short, chance encounters with one of those infernal boxes causes great irritation.

Got rid of our old set at the digital cutover in 2009 and never replaced it. I thought I'd miss it when the Packers then went to the Super Bowl but the radio announcers were so much better than the incompetents on TV that I've never looked back. What needs to be see is on the net and that's enough for me.

TV can be that "vast wasteland." But there are a lot of sporting events, news when something important is happening, and in-depth weather reports.
The secret is time shifting. Your DVD or Tivo can capture what you want to see while giving you the flexibility to speed through commercials and often-repeated news segments.
Put simply, don't watch in real time.

Watching TV is a vicarious experience wherein you are watching someone else have a good time. Get up, go outside, and have your own good time.

Although we have televisions I kicked the tv habit nearly 20 years ago. In brief, news programming was filled with non-nutritive filler, the dramatic writing became increasingly insipid, and (the biggest factor) I just couldn't stand the constant barrage of ads any longer. Click.

Today I use a television only to view some sporting events (American football and tennis) and to watch movies. Movies are about the only thing I've genuinely "collected", besides art/photo books, for the past 35 years. Few days at home pass without having watched at least one film.

So I didn't stop consuming television programming as a matter of statement, but rather as a matter of revulsion. Today's television programs are aimed at people far younger than I, with entirely different senses of humor and drama. Different planet.

Congratulations, Mike - but you've got a few years to go to catch up with my husband & I who are now 13.5 years without broadcast TV.

J accidentally broke our aerial cable, and while we dithered about whether to replace it, did we need a new aerial while we were at it, should we go for a satellite or a cable subscription, we realised 3 months had gone by and we didn't miss it. So we didn't bother.

We kept a TV, because we watch a lot of films and box sets, but until we moved house 18 months ago, we had no broadcast TV connection. When we moved in, we connected the aerial, let the TV tune itself in and watched a news bulletin. Since then it has only been on for DVDs/Blurays/Netflix or Amazon Prime. It just never occurs to us that 'watching TV' is something we want to do.

If we want news, we get that online but, then again, tend to only watch snippets or extracts because even the news bulletins annoy the hell out of us these days. Don't start me on 'reality TV' or adverts! ) I'll stick with watching what I want when I want.

People paying good money out of their own pockets for TV services, to get hammered with advertisements, briefly interrupted by regular programming.....is the ultimate feat of some serious marketing geniuses.

Currently, I don’t watch much e the tv either. When you live with a wife or partner, you have to consider their taste in entertainment. My wife pretty much commands the remote. Then too, between poor hearing and vision, I really don’t have the desire to watch anything.
But watching on my I pad is a whole other thing. Then I watch YouTube or Netflix, and I do enjoy that.
Fred

Last time I watched TV regularly (evening news) was at college in the late '60s. Have never owned one. Used to travel a lot & would turn on the set in hotel rooms to see why folks were raving about some program (e.g. Seinfeld, Friends, Cheers). Could never understand what was so fascinating. Also, raised two boys sans TV with no obvious ill effects.

Hello Mike,

not about the content of course but about time: with new posts appearing almost daily, and archives going back for more than a decade that one can go through for hours... don't you think that families or friends of regular TOP readers can be thinking about "life without TOP for him or for her"...? ;)

It's been more than ten years without a TV for me, but I have used streaming video services during some of that time (does that count?) and one thing I can't go back to is watching on a broadcaster's schedule. For sampling and watching series, video-on-demand makes so much more sense, whether on line or on media.

Yes, cable these days has caught on, if one is willing to pay the premium, but that's another thing I can't go back to--the cost of cable.

Of course, VOD can suck up just as much time, if not more, if one isn't careful. On the other hand, a much higher percentage of that time is spent (or wasted) watching things one actually chose to watch.

As for following "momentous events"--these days the web browser is at least as good, if not better, even for live news.

My wife and I have fallen into no TV too. Mix of having a young child, the bedtime routine, and about an hour commute each way for work.
I find I prefer to read the public broadcaster’s news online (Australia’s ABC, little sister to UK’s BBC). Don’t miss the crap commercial TV shows, especially non-ratings TV over the antipodean summer, and the awful ads. I do miss Dr Who, but can catch up on it later. We put on a Bluray for a half hour 2-3 times a week to watch a child’s show - Shaun The Sheep. It has some humour for adults too. Hopefully we can continue this as our child grows (minimal TV/screen time).
Can go to a mate’s house or the pub to watch a big sporting match.

Interesting that you should raise this subject today, since I've been considering the same question. I gave up on the "News" a decade ago, sitcoms am soap operas more decades ago, and have never been a fan of series such as Downton Abbey. My one guilty pleasure used to be Sherlock Holmes and Midsomer Murders, neither of which I watch anymore. I do watch a lot of travel, history, educational, science and arts related programs which I prerecord so I can skip past the ads. I've discovered more about Shakespeare and his plays from watching "Shakespeare Uncovered" than I ever learned in schools.

There are alternatives: a Smart TV can hookup to the web and circumvent the broadcast/cable networks. Netflix and YouTube have lots of content to choose from, plenty of which isn't available on TV and there's not much advertising. But then that's all available on my desktop; the desk chair's just not as comfortable as my armchair. Maybe that's a good thing.

You must have read "FRAZZ" in the comics today- https://www.gocomics.com/frazz/2018/11/28

Another perspective on the screen-in-the-house conversation: in a lot of modern households it's really more of an "entertainment monitor" than what we traditionally think of as a TV.

These days there's a lot of great (and not-so-great) content to be had. Streaming services and DVR's are commonplace, so you're not limited to watching "what's on." If you, like me, are weary of being constantly marketed to (at?) even commercial TV is manageable - simply fast-forward through the breaks. There are probably many more game consoles out there than we might imagine. It's all video, and you need a screen to view it.

Naturally, a lot of people now use their devices of choice for this kind of viewing, but IMO the small screen doesn't do justice to a lot of content.

I'm not going to wade into the debate about whether screen-based pastimes are healthy or not, that seems to be like most personal choice issues. To each their own!

I've gone without TV for several years at a time in the past. I recall once having to become adamant with the customer service rep of a local cable company when I called to discontinue service. The lady couldn't believe anyone would choose not to pay to watch the junk they fed through the wires.

My wife loves to watch TV. She keeps it on with the volume down while reading. I used to read in the evenings or listen to music in another room but I eventually gave into joining her to watch whatever mindless stuff was being broadcast in the evenings. I'm still amazed at how bad some of the storylines are written on primetime programming. But I have to admit I waste a great deal of my time on mindless programming.

Mostly I avoid the news and all the news channels. It just makes me angry or depressed or feeling helpless against the brazen stupidity and arrogance that is pervasive these days. I also avoid advertising as much as possible. The DVR is a godsend to folks like me--just record what you want to watch and jump through the commercials. Or pause the programming long enough to skip the ads. Streaming is also a favorite way to avoid advertising and be able to choose what's interesting as opposed to what's being served.

However, I'm surprised by how good TV programming can be at times. PBS and Smithsonian channels often have interesting and informative programming. National Geographic Channel used to have good stuff as well until it became another "reality" series broadcaster. And good dramas pop up on occasions as well from unlikely sources. In my opinion "Breaking Bad" was the equal of any Shakespearian tragedy and the references were more readily grasped as well. There is a considerable amount of decent television out there if you look for it. Enough to have kept me out of movie theaters for the last few years.

Mike - is that no streaming, no Youtube, no online videos, or is it that you watch video on a computer monitor rather than a television screen?

I thought Netflix, Amazon Prime and similar count as TV watching. If not, I have not watched TV since 2000.

Mike, as The Online Photographer you really should give Breaking Bad another try. Everything about it is extreme photo excellence. They use a lot of techniques like time lapse perfectly, not too much and in the perfect spot. To me it is one of the best video and photography works I have ever seen in a series.

Just my two cents as I use my TV as a "radio" to NPR.

[This probably sounds very strange coming from a guy who's a loyal admirer of "The Wire," but "BB" was too violent for me. And "gross" as we used to say. When the half-acidified torso fell through the floor, that was it for me. --Mike]

Misquoting Frank Lloyd Wright, 'Broadcast TV is nothing but chewing gum for the eyes and I don't like chewing gum'.

I have a physical TV but it's not connected to anything except the DVD player and computer. I do watch selected series on Netflix and disk, but haven't watched actual "TV" for at least the last ten years.

I mostly prefer the quiet and get my news etc by reading online.

I'm surprised no one has commented that something similar in terms of a massive waste of time can be said about computers, cell phones and similar devices. Yes they can be useful, educational and even life saving, but so can excellent TV programing. Yet mostly people waste time on them. Just sayin'...

Mike, a good option for you may be to go the "Streaming" route. You will need to purchase a streaming "stick" or streaming device for your TV. There are many options out there, we use one brand with great success. The cost is minimal compared to cable or dish options and there are many free streaming channels to choose from. I personally think streaming TV is the future and several Dish TV providers are offering streaming with some attractive promotionals. You can pick and choose streaming channels with some very nice educational and neutral news options.

The Wire was good beyond words. Trèmé was pretty good too.

I wonder if there is a name for this phenomenon. When you're watching a film and the characters in the film are watching TV and a commercial comes on, why does that within-the-film commercial seem so much stupider than the ones we watch in real life, which are pretty lame to begin with.

There’s just something about a back lit screen that pulls you in. At first it was a flickering TV in the dark (Creature Features!) and now it’s the internet in our pocket, following us everywhere (literally) we go. I read somewhere that 5 million Americans have cut the cable cord this year.

I still use my antenna TV to watch the evening news on PBS and the occasional Seinfeld rerun. I used to watch broadcast sports but stopped once my DVR died. I didn’t want to replace the DVR and sitting through a 3.5 hour football game to see 11 minutes of action where the ball is actually in motion is unbearable.

I will admit to bingeing on Youtube videos from time to time. Lately it’s been “maker” videos where people create amazing, beautiful things with their imagination and with their hands…just like we photographers do with our prints. I saw one the other day where this guy made a custom guitar case for Eric Idle that was fascinating. At least with the internet I have the option of using it for something constructive. I find that limiting all my screen time is a good way to remain master of my domain.

“profligately” - Holy alphabet soup Batman!

Here is an amazing “maker” video featuring piano music over an artist engraving a Rolex in macro HD.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfyj-J0YxT8

I price that I pay for not having a television set and never watching television anywhere is solving crossword puzzles with clues to tv programs.

I've spent most of my adult life without TV, but when my son was fifteen years old he moved in with me, and because he had a show on local public access and I wanted to support him in that, I bought us a couple of used TVs. As a result, I'd often find myself watching mindless drivel such as Friends, usually while also surfing the internet on my laptop. After a few years, my son tired of doing his show, but the TVs remained until he moved out on his own.

I used to tell people, when they'd ask why I didn't own a TV, that I didn't want to spend much of my finite time on earth staring at a sophisticated light bulb. But I stopped being so smug about it when I realized that the internet is essentially the same thing. How many years have I wasted staring at a computer screen? Plenty!

A few years ago I started doing a lot of traveling. Usually in the hotel or apartment there's a TV, and usually I put it on the BBC news and leave it there. Once in a while I flip though the channels, and that's how I discovered snooker. Like you, Mike, I'm a fan.

These days I do all my TV watching on YouTube, and almost always it's snooker that I'm watching.

I'm with you on Lee Friedlander. Always been a great favorite of mine. I don't think he gets nearly enough attention.

I have a strange request, can anyone point me towards or help me gather some good quality recordings of popular tv shows, with commercials!
I am an english language teacher, and it would be very helpful for my students to watch american shows with their commercials.
Whatever country I am in, I find TV advertising fascinating as a window into their (or my) culture.

I think the last thing I watched on broadcast tv was Obama's first inauguration. We have a tv which we have connected to a computer for watching movies and documentaries from time to time. But that’s infrequent, and I tend to shut up or leave the room when people start to talk about tv shows.

Of course we bought a new tv over the summer just so we could put it up on the wall, out of the way, which conveniently freed up space for a nice little tube amp. Aaahhh... that’s much better.

Mike,

I too am basically a non-TV watcher. As a child I watched quite a lot, and was even once on a local kiddie show hosted by a clown and shot in a circus tent, but when I went out on my own gave up the habit. The exception to that was in 1973, when I lived in a student house where we watched "Kung Fu" and "Soultrain" religiously, though very little else.

Never owned a set until 1984. While shooting a multi-day commercial job at my Hollywood Blvd loft/studio, the client (who became a friend) and I were making small talk and she asked if I was planning to watch the Olympics, which were local that year. She was incredulous when I answered no and added that I didn't watch television and had never owned one. The next day she showed up with a small set and gave it to me.

Not long afterward, another friend, a photographer, who I worked with assisting other photographers, decided that my TV was too small and gave me a larger one. I wasn't using it until one day a third friend (also a photographer) admonished me for not watching the TV work that some mutual friends who were actors were doing. He said that I was being rude by not supporting them, and I agreed, so started watching those shows. This friend and I had a laugh watching the Super Bowl, when one of our buddies showed up in a commercial drinking beer and smiling a lot, being paid many thousands of dollars for pretending to do what we'd have all happily done for free. Then, a few more commercial breaks along, there he is again, drinking more beer, and this time he's eating a steak!

Fifteen years later, I'm living in rural British Columbia and have been TV-less for eight years or so. A friend, alas, yet another photographer, needs a loan but is too proud to ask for it. Instead, he convinces me to buy his television. My wife likes watching, so I end up watching too. There were a couple of excellent political satire shows, a couple of dramas and a comedy and a science show that I liked, the CBC news is very good, but nothing much else that I wanted to see. We could get only two stations, and nights in the dead of winter, when it was just downright nasty outside and so cozy in front of the tube, the choice was often between hockey on one station and ice skating on the other. After awhile I gave up on TV viewing again.

My feelings about TV somewhat parallel your own. Generally it doesn't hold my interest for long and I have no problem finding other things to do which I feel are better worth the time spent. Commercial television is all about pushing the consumerist agenda and I've always been a lousy consumer.

However, giving credit where due, the giant flatscreen at my sister's house proved to be a valuable source of information while I was on fire evacuation recently here in LA.

I think you need to define TV?
Broadcast has been gone from our house for many years. But we heavily watch YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime.
So if your still watching YouTube, I think that still counts as low budget TV.

Worse is a smart TV, you find yourself trolling around youtube looking for content but there is quite a lot of good music and videos about photography to be found there.

It has been many a year since I habitually watched TV. I'd watch some of the more in-depth new shows especially the McNeil-Leher Report of PBS (excuse my lack of proper spellin') and other PBS shows like the McLaughlin Group, Firing Line, some of the BBC comedies like the one set in a clothing store, and "Are You Being Served" not because I am some sort of wannabe snob, but because they were actually good. BBC News, well, I follow my British friends' advice on that and not get overly impressed by it.

Except for some decent sporting events like the Super Bowl, I now rarely ever watch. Of course I have to watch Japanese TV if I do and it is not one wit better than US TV except for some decent art programs on Saturday evening (yea, I have to listen to an art "expert" explain that the Japanese are especially sensitive to nature because they can enjoy four seasons, but I can resist barfing at that nowadays) and a few interesting documentaries from time to time.

However, I do often watch Amazon Prime for old Seinfield reruns and recently The Sopranos. As Speed asked above, I wonder if I am watching TV if I am watching a TV show on a computer. Maybe there isn't much difference. In fact, methinks I can find as much or more mind-numbing nonsense on the Internut (ToP a pleasant exception) and I am not even counting Twitter or Facebook.

Sadly, shortwave radio has seen its better days and with it the thrill of listening to an English broadcast from North Korea or Radio Moscow has pretty much gone. Anyone remember "Joe" and his program from Moscow? It beat most TV shows hands down.

Television eh?
When I was in my first years here in Southern Ontario, the only television was out of Buffalo NY, and we as young ones would go to a neighbour's house to watch the small screen black and white television.
Toronto saw it's first commercial television broadcaster in 1954; and in both the US and Canada have gone down the obsession with television.
These days living in a structure which prohibits "visible" antennas
and having one of the most expensive internet fees in the world;
it makes no sense to waste time looking at a projected image from often questionable sources. As I age find the BS spewed by so-called news sources both Canadian and foreign (USA) to be avoided.
Have any number of older (more than 100 years) books and related
to review. And there is something about just sitting and watching the snowflakes fall to the ground

NFL streaming on Amazon + the UK announcer audio feed = priceless. I don't have to suffer through analysis like how the key to the game today is to establish the run game, while simultaneously stopping the run on defense. Oh, and the offensive line needs to stop the pass rush. Do tell, semi-articulate ex-jock!

The UK announcers have a completely different rhythm and cadence that I appreciate. Sadly, this is only available right now for whatever game is on Thursday night.

So it looks like you are no alone Mike! I find the comments encouraging. My wife and I still have a TV, and pay for a basic cable package, but we watch only the two commercial free channels in our area (TVO (Canadian) and PBS (USA)) with some time for the evening news. Even so, the commercials seem more and more irritating. We don't watch any sports.

We like films and drama series, but find there is plenty of surprisingly good stuff from low cost streaming services. The cost of even our most basic channel package is simply robbery – we are paying to be advertising fodder – so we plan to cut the cable soon. We look forward to a life of commercial free FM radio, streaming video, and internet news.

My television set (a wonderful LG 4K model) gets regular use, but almost all of it is from Apple TV/iTunes, NetFlix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, and Blu-ray/DVD movies. The only reason I still have a cable TV connection is to watch my beloved Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League on TSN. News comes from web sites and, for fast-moving stories, from Twitter. The last CBC show this Canuck watched was in 2007.

I grew up in a rural area in the days before cable, only two channels (plus CBC French, which didn't count). Things sure have changed, and I don't miss those days.

What's TV?

I lived without a TV for 10 years and was never bored. We bought a 14" portable when my wife was pregnant and often sofa-bound and have only just replaced it 16 years later with a 19" flat screen TV. No big screens allowed in our house! It's rarely on.

Mainstream news is always bad, it offers a skewed view of the world where only disasters and the harm people do is worth reporting. The tedious, un-funny sitcoms and truly dreadful 'reality TV' of Big Brother, X-Factor and I'm A Celebrity are pure timewasters, the 21st century's opium for the masses.

In comparison, radio can be is far more liberating, more akin to a book. At least that's the case with the BBC's output. Classic FM lets me hear some old favourite classical pieces (and there aren't too many adverts). I have bought several CDs after hearing them in the car, most notably Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue by Simone Dinnerstein and the Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra. Which reminds me, I ought to give that disc a spin over the weekend.

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