From Minimalism To Tech

Minimalist Guide for Television

Posted in Minimalism on April 5th, 2017

Television is a vampire in multiple ways from time to energy to money. Two years ago, I wrote an article in Austin Playboys about saving money by getting rid of cable. The trend is still continuing where less people are signing up for cable television than in the past. I firmly believe this is a good trend. We have so many choices of entertainment in this country, that it deeply hampers productivity and creativity of the populace. No longer are we living boring lives, we are at a point where we are watching other people have boring lives. We only think their lives are interesting![1]

Save Your Valuable Resource

Television sucks people dry of TIME, which is a valuable asset. Spent watching endless entertainment and sales pitches, no wonder we tend to accumulate things and become “hoarders.” If you ever watched the 1988 movie “They Live,” you will know that the aliens were secretly sending subliminal messages to the population. Similarly, the advertisements are doing the same thing. People are urged to buy or have a good feeling associated with the products featured.

People can attest to the addictive nature of television programming[2]. They were designed to have the most audiences possible. If a program doesn’t get enough ratings, they are usually cancelled and usually recycled. From the NY Times article, “One study found that self-described addicts watched an average of 56 hours a week”. You may find yourself in this category. Even Netflix is designed for the addictive nature of television. Many times, I thought I would just watch one episode on Netflix, but ended up watching three or four episodes. It just sucks you in. Here is one man’s journey in overcoming television addiction[3]. It takes a bit of effort to overcome years of influence.

People today probably consider computers and iPads as the new form of television. Kids today are glued to their Youtube videos and endless games. Generations will continue down this path of consuming entertainment.

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Why Do I Want to Cut the Cord?

There are many reasons why people watch television. And there are many reasons why one should quit or reduce time spent watching television.

  1. Financially, reducing the amount of watching television is beneficial. Cable television has become the norm for many households. Over 100 million households (out of roughly 350 million people in the US) have some sort of monthly subscription for pay channels. However, it has become very expensive. Besides fees attached to pay television, set-top box monthly rental are assessed which you cannot purchase outright. Also, it seems every couple of years, the channel providers are battling for more revenue from the distribution cable companies. That means higher subscription fees to the consumer. By cancelling your subscription television, you can save thousands of dollars per year. Also, why continue to give money to the companies viewed with horrible customer service[4]?
  2. There are many alternatives to watch besides television broadcastsSince many households have Netflix or Amazon Prime, many shows can be watched in abundance. And the plus side is that there will be no or very little commercials. The trend is that streaming companies are providing more original programming. No longer does the mainstream or cable networks own the exclusive rights to quality programs. Youtube also provides many professional and amateur content for viewing pleasure. You can retrieve a lot of information from youtube, like how to fix your car. You can watch a TED talk, how to make crafts, or even learn a language.
  3. Money saved can be invested, in assets or yourself.There are many free online education where you can learn many things. My favorites are EdX, Udacity, and Codecademy.
  4. If you need to watch local news, you can build yourself an over-the-air HDTV antenna[4]. You can build one for less than $10, instead of buying one. However, you will have to wade through the dreaded commercials.
  5. Sports are being streamed more every year.It will be difficult to replace the live sports entertainment with these alternatives. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that sports will be streamed. NHL and NFL are currently streaming many of their events. Two years ago, an NFL game was streamed by Yahoo!, a first[5]. Twitter started streaming Thursday night games in 2016. This year, Facebook made many deals to stream live sports. Just recently, rumors have surfaced that Amazon bought the rights to stream Thursday night NFL games. I can even now watch select NFL games for free on my phone, provided by Verizon for free. Or I can pay for full access, but why would I do that?
  6. Watching sports should be a group activity. Stadiums are built to have spectators enjoy and celebrate the game together with other fans. We advocate our readers to be part of a community. By making it a regular group activity, it forces you to build community ties and engage others.

If you are telling yourself that you need more time in a day, do yourself a favor and cut out television. This will save you money and time.

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