So Long TV?



It has been around 12 months since I actively watched a TV series on television. By “actively” I mean watch it at the time it’s screened, and by “television” I mean a series broadcast on a television channel that I’ve sat down to watch. The habit of a lifetime has been completely eroded and now I have no reason to do so – the last one was the X Factor, a activity that was mitigated by a mandated understanding and enjoyment of the series that lasted until the bosses removed the only likable judge from the show, Kelly Rowland, and replaced her with Nicole Whateringer, her from those songs that you don’t remember really. I mean, I’d not really enjoyed X Factor ever, but last year was at least amusing to see the new judges play their part and stuff. It was fresh(ish), but bleeding internally. And at the weekend I saw a few minutes of the most recent series and I see that those internal wounds have exploded into mutated wounds and the show lurches on like a zombie. Not even my lady is interested anymore.

I used to watch TV a lot – the news was my main show I’d pop on, especially in the mornings. It was essentially wallpaper, something that was just put on in the background or in lieu of nothing else. But now with a puppy to walk I have other things to do. The main thing that has killed my watching of TV is that the idea of a TV schedule is so antiquated – why are shows still on at certain times these days, and at that obnoxious times? The recent series of The Thick of It was on a Saturday night which is prime time for me to socialise, be it with friends, family, or even just Connie. We do stuff in the evenings, y’know – so I watched in on my Xbox, on my phone, on the iPad and on the work PC. But that is about the last show I’ve seriously had any interest in watching. It would appear that I have no interest in anything that TV is making these days bar a select one or two shows.

Mad Men being one, and I am struggling to think of another. I can’t see that though without illegally downloading it or paying for Sky Atlantic. And just for one show I am not paying for Sky. Not on top of my license fee anyway. I do pay for Netflix and Now TV, but I only use them to watch the odd boxset of TV or old films, ones that a few years ago I’d have probably rented or bought on DVD. But seeing as physical distribution is dying in my eyes anyway, I don’t want to have a pile of useless plastic disc sitting around my house.

This isn’t a preaching post, nor a boasting one, as I don’t really want to convince you that TV is dead or dying, because my parents and grandparents would disagree. I am certain that there are millions of people of the exact same age as me who do enjoy watching TV, but it just feels that I’ve let it slip me by – probably when I lived in the US. Living in the states taught me that TV anywhere else in the world is a lot worse than it is here, and here I don’t find it captivating, so I am slowly drifting away from it all.  There are other implications too and these compound my dislike for my TV – if I want to rent a TV show I can on iTunes or Netflix on my iPad or Macbook. I don’t need a TV. And iPlayer is easier to use on them than my Xbox, and works anywhere in my house. The TV is also broken, slowly dying and I can’t see myself paying £400 or so for a new one. It’s not the luxury item it once was in my house, but instead just something that will not be replaced when it breaks.

Which leads me to the big revelation – I have lost my love of computer games as well. The only reason I had a TV in my room was for my Dreamcast. The only thing we use our TV for these days is the Xbox as a media hub. Without the TV my Xbox is redundant and I can’t play my games. But I don’t play games anymore anyway – I recently tried to play Halo 4 and despite enjoying it I found it bewildering and disorientating, a narrative I couldn’t follow and a lore that is too deep wrapped up in a game I found too complicated to play with any enjoyment. Even on the easiest setting I am killed, and I don’t like being killed. I never have. Games were for me a great educator and a great part of my childhood, but I know play some small games on my phone or tablet and might play the new Sim City on my Mac. Gaming for me has withered and died too, and probably for the same reason as TV – my life has moved on to things that have meant sitting down and watching something, spending hours on it and investing in it essentially is a waste of my time – I could be doing far more productive things with it.

So the question is what to do? The TV is leaving the front room and being relegated to… maybe storage. My Xbox will vanish too, along with some other items like the cable brick and so on. In it’s place will be my Mac, iPad and phone, and in the future my planned massive HD iMac purchase which will be more than capable of showing movies. Then maybe I should cancel my TV license – as it stands I actually don’t even use it, not watching live TV means I don’t need one. But not having the TV connected up is even more a reason to bin it. But then I am not paying for the BBC, and that seems odd to me. I read it more than any other site, I listen to Radio regularly and I love what it stands for – it just doesn’t do anything on TV anymore. A radio license might be my only option, but they don’t do it anymore! Maybe they should introduce a Internet License to pay for the BBC Online?

It’s not set in stone, but I think my lifestyle would benefit greatly from the withdrawal of my TV.