Living without Television

I don’t watch Television. Some people find it strange, but I find it liberating. I’ve been saved for 14 months now. What do I do with all the free time?

I might not know who was the latest winner of Idols but frankly, I don’t care. It doesn’t limit my ability to interact with people even a bit. Often times I have more interesting things to tell.

In Finland you have to pay a monthly TV fee that is quite a robbery in comparison to what you get. I calculated that the ammount I used to watch television wasn’t quite high anyway and you get distracted by a lot of re-runs and literarly rubbish.

So I switched the TV to a video projector and watch movies, documentaries and play online games when I have the time to sit down. The money I spend in renting the best stuff is less than the finnish TV fee.

I’ve also noticed that I also have lots of more time. I read more quality news, articles and books. I have more conversations, offline and online. I feel that my personal learning has sky-rocketed after I denied the intellectual lobotomy delivered through the black box.

When I need the entertainment -part of TV, I watch Youtube or any of the other social video sharing sites on the web. There are lots of free documentaries and other media, too. See for example here.

A little bit of searching and you can find lots of quality material that you can’t find from the mainstream media. Recently I’ve been using a lot of time at VBS.TV, they have really interesting reportage from around the world. The in-room flash player for watching is the best I’ve seen on the web. And yes, it’s all free.

First you find it quite strange that the tone on reporting is not sensational but just picturing the life and ideals of people in foreign cultures in a honest way. What’s the point in going to Baghdad and then interviewing you security guards? Well, watch for example the Heavy Metal in Baghdad or Inside Sudan series.

After you get over the need for sensationalism you notice the true value in seeing the hidden back-scenes of events that do not fall under the radar of mainstream media. The Sudan series is a good example of giving a very different picture.

According to finnish studies on TV hours spent, the ammount young people watch television has been declining slowly in the last five years. The younger generation increasingly surfs the web for stories, ideas, entertainment and community. If you need high-definition, rent or use peer-to-peer networks.

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  • Late

    Amen bro! I’ve been living without a TV for five long years now. The response I allways get is “But how do you keep up with the world?!?”. Well the world’s still there, even if you don’t watch TV. And quite frankly, TV in Finland sucks. There is nothing on TV here that I’d want to pay 200€ per year for. I have much more time now to study, read and enjoy life.

    The thing I find very strange is the almost hostile attitude from some people, who for some reason feel that everyone should watch TV. Nice to know that someone feels the same way about this as I do :)

  • Bo Granlund

    My plan is to get rid of watching tv by the time they change the broadcasts to digital instead of an analog signal. I’ve had a tv now for 11 months and I regret now ever buying it. It’s only good for using as a screen for my Sega Dreamcast hacking.

    How do you feel about these interactive sms chat shows they have on the programming for the late night? Atleast in them people get to interact, instead of being just senseless passive receivers of any content the TV wants to show your.

  • Teemu Arina

    Bo, you are quite right in your blog about commercials killing all the tension. I wonder why people take them for granted to steal their engagement away? I guess going to the fridgerator is just a lame excuse also invented by marketers.

    About SMS chat, I find it a good thing that mainstream media tries to incorporate participation in their activities, even though it is still marginal. What I find wrong though with this concept is that they charge more for participation than passive viewing. If participation is key to customer loyaltly, then why do they take this unbalanced act of taking the carpet right under the feet of their key drivers of the future of television? Greediness has never brought man to popularity.

  • Jan

    I have lived without TV for the last 10 years in a country (Italy) where TV comes just behind the Pope in terms of who rules the nation.
    I live a real life and never felt like I’m “out of this world” since there are radio, newspapers, broadband Internet and, most of all,…. lots of people to interact with around me!
    The funny thing is that yesterday (we too have to pay, I think around 100€/year, just to own a TV set) we got this letter from the public channel saying: dear Mr. your name does not appear in the lists of those who pay the yearly TV tax so we assume that either there is a mistake with your home address or that you are evading taxes! Please pay immediately to avoid a visit by the Police”.
    I am non exaggerating, it’s written with this kind of words! They are so arrogant, they don’t even think it possible for someone to have a mind free enough to choose not to get brainwashed by their stupid boxes! Actually I should say that is not the box that’s stupid, but rather what they broadcast through it!
    Anyway, I’ve decided that I won’t even answer and wait for the Police to come, just for the fun of it! I’ll let you know the end of the story.
    Ciao, Jan