7 Years Without a Television: Ending This Week

When Carrie and I got married, we spent much of our time outside or playing chess. Sitting docile in front of a box and subjecting ourselves mindlessly to the garbage that aired on the 4 channels that we had reception for just didn’t strike us as interesting. When we moved to the city in January of 2006, we made the joint decision to not own a television set and have stuck with it. After having several children, we have been offered these contraptions countless times. Nonetheless, we have resisted.

“How will you get your news and weather,” asked my uncle. Even in 2006, the internet was an effective on-demand source of news and weather (so was AM radio). With the advance of LCD technology and the demand for larger screen real estate in the personal computer market, the prices of LCD monitors have decreased immensely. We purchased a 17″ LCD for our PC in 2007 for $65 (used). With this crisp and clear monitor, we were inspired to rent an occasional G-rated DVD and watch it.

This occasional kids movie turned into movie night on Friday. Netflix has made selecting kid-friendly movies easy and cheap (although the selection of streaming movies is rather limited).

Why would we consider a television set after all these years? There are several reasons. First, the distinction between a television set and a computer monitor has blurred. Now, it is easy to find a computer monitor with an integrated TV tuner. Second, we need more screen real estate. We did upgrade to a 19″ LCD a couple of years ago, but can you imagine 5 of us huddled around it to watch Cars 2? Finally, my sister needed to sell some junk and in that collection of junk was a 46″ Sony LCD for a great price.

We have toyed around with the idea of setting up a projector for our movie watching, but the cost has prohibited us from doing so. It’s hard to justify spending that kind of money for movie watching. So, we have given in. We will no longer be counted among the fraction of a percent of families in America without a television set. However, don’t expect us to consider using it as a television – it will be hooked up to my Dell laptop with an HDMI output and will be used as a second computer monitor.

Child Rearing, Philosophy, Technology

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