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The television set in my house is thedreadpilot‘s, and I expect he’ll be taking it soon, in the course of moving out. He’s already taken his Playstation 2. And so I’m considering whether to replace one (the former) or both of those items.

I don’t watch TV much. The main uses I can think of for a potential TV are
  1. allow me to watch movies with groups of people, a situation where my laptop wouldn’t suffice as it does for me alone
  2. allow me to play PS2 games, of which I have two: Katamari Damacy and Dance Dance Revolution
  3. fill the space on my big new TV stand

Now I see a study published earlier this year found, “Long hours spent in front of a TV are linked to higher material aspirations and anxiety and therewith lower life satisfaction.” Which pretty much confirms my impression of how television affects people, or at least most television.


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 5th, 2005 08:00 pm (UTC)
I have very similar sentiments about television. I suggest getting an inexpensive one, so you CAN watch movies and play Katamari and DDR. --Don't forget that We Love Katamari is coming out soon! Besides, owning a TV doesn't mean you have to get cable, or anything.
Aug. 5th, 2005 08:55 pm (UTC)
aitai and I have had a TV without cable for around four years now. The only thing that annoys me is that our cable company charges us an extra $10 per month for cable modem because we don't subcribe to basic.

Nowadays when I visit somebody with cable, I usually end up flipping through channels for about ten minutes before I remember why I'm not wasting my money on the stuff.
Aug. 5th, 2005 11:06 pm (UTC)
We actually get cable modem + extended basic for $35/month. It would be $40, but we own the modem. Randy called D&E (kickass local provider) and only asked for teh intarweb, and they either forgot to put a block on the line or couldn't, so cable TV came along for the ride. The only problem is that we don't ever want to subscribe to premium channels or whatnot because they'd probably take a look at the account and shut off the gravy train or charge us for cable, but since all we really care about on those channels is Penn & Teller, we just keep our mouths shut, download the show, and then buy the DVD's when they're released.

We really don't watch a crapton of TV. There's good stuff on Comedy Central, the Cartoon Network, the larnin-oriented channels, and Sci-Fi, and we TiVo everything we like, which saves time. But I don't know if the entertainment value would be worth the standard price of extended basic, so we might very well be in your shoes if we had to pay full price for cable. I can't complain about the deal we get, though. ^_^ (OK, our upload speed on the modem is capped at something like 30K/sec, but downstream is fast and the service is reliable. Somehow I don't see us paying out the wazoo for Adelphia Extreeeeeeeeeeme or whatever they're testing in State College/Bellefonte. My office mate keeps telling me about Adelphia's deals, and I'm thinking "Yeah, like why the hell should I pay what would probably amount to at least double the existing bill when I'm not uploading en masse anyway?")
Aug. 6th, 2005 12:08 am (UTC)
Didn't Adelphia go bankrupt? We had them out in Centre Hall, and our service was down on a rather frequent basis. Tech support was rather worthless, although I pulled my usual stiff the faceless corporation mojo and I think would up with two months free (after at least a week solid downtime).
Aug. 6th, 2005 02:33 pm (UTC)
They got bought out by comcast in some areas, and the upgrading is to bring them in line with that.
Aug. 6th, 2005 05:57 am (UTC)
Speaking of Penn & Teller, I rented the first disc of Bullshit, and I agree with you that it rocks.

What is there on Comedy Central these days that's good besides The Daily Show?
Aug. 7th, 2005 03:12 pm (UTC)
South Park (it's still funny), the Secret Stash (unedited movies and comedy shown late at night - this includes material like completely uncensored Chris Rock routines), random funny movies and comedy routines, various other shows that we find amusing but don't really watch often enough to TiVo (Crank Yankers, Chappelle's Show).
Aug. 6th, 2005 02:33 pm (UTC)
Oh god, yes. Ben and Jason talk about that in my office too, and I'm like "WTF, I can't even saturate a 3Mb/sec connection, why would I pay $15 extra for a 16Mb/sec one?
Aug. 7th, 2005 03:19 pm (UTC)
Because it will upgrade your e-peener to the length of a telephone pole. In all seriousness, I don't think either of them gets into e-peener wars, but I do think they're going "OOH SHINY" because they're geeks and have the opportunity to play with a fat pipe at home. (Huh huh huh.) They probably like the mega upstream just because it's there, and I guess that's worth the giant cable bill to them.

I need to put up a sign stating that, because I pay such a ridiculously low price for my cable services, I don't give a rat's ass about how great Adelphia's latest ZOMG UPGRADE 3000XL is. (And while I'm at it, how about another one: "No thank you" is not an invitation to repeatedly remind me how tasty Offered Junk Food du Jour is.) I've heard enough people complain about their unreliability that I would be loath to switch over anyway even if I really wanted that fat pipe.
Aug. 5th, 2005 08:12 pm (UTC)
I have a small tv for video games and movies. I also have a small tv top antenna that I can hook up if I should suddenly decide that I need or want to watch television.

I gave up television completely about a year ago, simply to avoid the expense. for the first month I would randomly turn the tv on forgetting that I didn't have it. I was strangely tense trying to find activities to replace it. Now I can be in the same room with a tv (elsewhere) and never once think to turn it on. Tv-free life is a good life.
Aug. 5th, 2005 08:14 pm (UTC)
I think the simplest thing to do is just wait until someone is getting rid of their old, and possibly quite large, television for a newer, larger television.

Doubtless, they will want to get rid of the old one for a reduced price. Much better than getting a new television. I did the same, hooked it up to a computer, and now happily watch rented DVDs and BitTorrented television shows.
Aug. 5th, 2005 09:24 pm (UTC)
I suggest either the magic that is craigslist for a local needs to go now set to fulfill those movie watching urges

or go visit friends and watch said cinematic works there
Aug. 5th, 2005 09:34 pm (UTC)
I haven't had one in years and I don't miss it at all -- I just go to my friends' place when I want to see movies. That said, I'm much less of a media consumer than most of my friends -- I don't own a single DVD, and don't tend to see many movies, either.
Aug. 5th, 2005 10:26 pm (UTC)
Post hoc ergo propter hoc. It's at least equally likely that persons with higher material aspirations spend more on home entertainment equipment and watch more television and movies in order to use their toys, or that anxious people stay home more and therefore have more limited options for entertainment, or that people with low quality of life use television to fill a void. It's also possible that another unknown agent is the causal factor. Come on, you know better than to fall victim to the correlation-equal-causation fallacy. This is not to say that television has no effect on personality development, as there are plenty of compelling statistics in that department, but this "study" is by and large a pile of crap from a scientific angle.
Aug. 6th, 2005 04:48 am (UTC)
Did you get that link from my del.icio.us feed, my discussion with Gus or from some third, not-me source? Because I certainly did a double-take coming across this entry.

I share some of pylocatabasis's concerns, but I'm not sure what the null hypothesis is anyway, and I haven't read the study (only the newspaper article). I don't cndemn studies from media descriptions thereof. In any case, as I wrote at Gus's, I find the description plausible anecdotally, but I also don't want to limit it to television. Computer gaming and net surfing have similar characteristics from the point of view of this discussion: they're a small high but there's a nagging sense of the opportunity cost you are ungoing by not studying, working late, practicing the sax or whatever.

I know a lot more people who have paid a significant opportunity cost for IRC, MUD-ing gaming and net surfing than I do people who did for television. (The cost was usually a couple of years in the workforce because they delayed the end of university by failing for a few years. That would easily be $50000 in cash terms.) And they're definitely more a concern for me personally.
Aug. 6th, 2005 06:26 am (UTC)
I got it from your de.icio.us article feed, yes. Great stuff. I loved Dan Savage's piece on the "How'd That Happen?!" letters he gets.

When I envision People Watching TV Instead of Doing Something Better, I usually imagine the Something Better as something not as ambitious as studying or working late—rather, something like taking a walk, cooking, or socializing.
Aug. 6th, 2005 07:24 am (UTC)
Yeah, those too :) I've never been a serious net addict, but I have annoyed some people by checking email when I promised to do some cooking with them!
Aug. 6th, 2005 02:44 pm (UTC)
I haven't had a TV in about five years. I sort of stopped watching TV toward the end of university because I just didn't have time for it, and I found I didn't particularly miss it. When I graduated into "real life", I just didn't bother getting a new one, and I can't say I regret it.

I do miss it sometimes, as it's nice to be able to watch the news or the olympics or something, but day-to-day, I think I'm glad to be rid of it.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )