Why I don’t own one of the most popular inventions ever

Television. Via Flickr user dhammza.

Television. Via Flickr user dhammza.

In all my apartments over the past few years, there has been one object that I have never owned. Most people have it, and some will even argue that they need it. Friends and coworkers have gone into shock when they learn that I don’t have one.

I don’t own one of the most popular inventions of the 20th century.

I don’t own a TV.

By the way some people react when I say this, you would think I told them I didn’t have a toilet.

I don’t need a TV because I can watch any show or movie I want online on my laptop, often without commercials. I live alone, so I don’t have to huddle around a computer with other people. It’s just me on my bed with my laptop, watching reruns of 30 Rock (and working on my night cheese).

Perhaps my readers will empathize with me.

I think this may partly be a generational phenomenon. There are more of us — yes, more 20-somethings without a television to their name. If you don’t have a family, there isn’t much reason for owning a TV. In order to watch television, I have to buy the device and then pay for cable every month. An Internet/TV package costs about $80 a month. If I just get internet, I pay about $40 a month, depending on the speed, plus $8 for Netflix.

$80 vs. $48. I think we know what wins. Over a year, using internet as TV makes for a savings of almost $400.

If you have a reason for owning a TV — having a family or little kids, perhaps — there are ways to hook up your computer so you can stream shows and movies to your television.

People my age seem more at home with this idea (though not that all 20-somethings are). But if I say this to people a little older, they think it’s strange. After all, it was only until recently that if you wanted to watch your shows, you had to pay for cable, plain and simple. Alternatives didn’t exist.

Now, we live in a media world that has more choices. You can watch a French movie or Star Trek. You can watch the latest “Mad Men” or an old episode of “The Andy Griffith Show.” You can get cable or pay for Netflix.

There’s another reason why I don’t own a TV: I end up doing more. It’s cliche, but bear with me. TV is an invention dedicated to having you sit and not think. If I had a TV, I would feel more inclined to vegetate on the couch when I’m alone and prove myself less than a productive member of society. Without it, I end up reading, baking, and talking on the phone with friends and family.

Once I take TV out of the equation, I accomplish more, even if it just means connecting with a friend over the phone.

Do you own a TV? Why or why not?


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