I’ve always been very skeptical and mistrustful of TV. I inherited this from my parents. Growing up I wasn’t allowed to watch TV at all up until the age of 5, save for a few Disney movies. We didn’t have cable, and were instead encouraged to play outside, play indoors with Legos or blocks, or draw/color. When we did get cable TV when I was around 9, I could only watch a show or two at a time, and became obsessed. I loved MTV, BET, and Food Network especially, but always saw it as a guilty pleasure, something I knew was bad for me. I feared that my peers didn’t have those same feelings towards TV, and would feel strange when I was at friends’ houses and the TV was on during dinner or at all times for a background noise. After college, living in an apartment building downtown with a few friends, one of my roommates cancelled our cable subscription without warning while I was away visiting family for a weekend. When I came back, I was initially annoyed, but have come to appreciate his decision. Here has been the difference since we cancelled cable:
- The layout of the apartment: Initially, our common space/living area was arranged with the television as the centerpiece. Since television has been removed from the equation, the chairs and couches that once formed a semicircle have been arranged in a more circular way around a coffee table. The TV now sits idly in the corner, and the centerpiece of the seating area is a coffe table where people can rest drinks or food.
- More socializing in the apartment: Since there’s “nothing to do” in the living room, all there is to do is talk and listen to music. Living with a few other people, there will inherently be in situations where you’re meeting new people (friends of friends, guests staying over, etc). People have no choice but to talk to each other.
- Save money: Cable ran between $80 and $100 per month, or close to $1200 a year. This amounts to $300 in personal savings. For for that amount you could subscribe to basic Netflix, Spotify, and Pandora.
- Watch better content: When you take TV out of your life and routine, you can’t passively consume whatever comes your way. You start seeking out better movies and shows instead of just seeing what’s on. In the past few months, I’ve watched some great movies and shows through recommendation actions and friends’ advice. Also, when you’re hanging out on weekends, you might read (physical book or online), which is probably better.
- You can still watch stuff: As long as you have a laptop and a HDMI TV monitor you can stream stuff to your TV. Netflix, HBO GO, Hulu, random sketchy streaming sites, etc. have mostly everything. The most common answer to this is “…BUT SPORTS.” You can usually find a sketchy link, and if not maybe just find a bar that plays your team. Tom & Jerry’s plays a Packers game every Sunday of the season, and has free house-made bratwursts at halftime!
Try getting rid of cable for a while, see what happens in your apartment.