Moving over to the dark side

As I’ve mentioned before, we’ve never had cable TV (with the exception of the few months of free cable when we first moved into this house and the cable was still connected). A few weeks ago, on a snowy day, a Time Warner rep stopped by our house and offered us a deal we couldn’t refuse. For $15 less than we currently pay for phone and DSL service (that we’ve NEVER been happy with!), we could have digital phone service, high speed internet AND basic cable television (enabling us to ditch our rabbit ears and pick up NBC and FOX). Clearly, this guy had me hooked at hello and I signed up for the service. Less money + The Office…who could say no?

After a number of failed attempts, Time Warner finally installed all of this technological goodness today (the fact that most of this service has been available since the 90’s is not lost on us). Instead of the 12 cable channels we thought we were getting, we’re now back up to 80. Did the installation guy think he was doing us a favor? Was he not familiar with the Red Dawn experience of 2005? I’m just not sure we’re capable of responsibly handling that much television at our house. We’re already seeking ways to block out Nickelodeon and The Disney Channel from the kids, as well as a good 80% of the rest of the channels from our own eager eyes. We’re weak, I tell you, weak!

I have to wonder why I fear cable so much. Will it expose my kids to more commercial television, causing them to ask for stuff like Lucky Charms and burn-your-hands-off Easy Bake Ovens? Will I get sucked into remodeling shows on HGTV that will cause me to despise my home, attempt to gut it and start from scratch? Will Carter be lost forever to ESPN 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5? Yes, yes and yes! We’re powerless to the hypnotic glow of the television and are surely better off without it. I’m giving us 30 days to see how we hold up, and if all of the above come true, I’m cutting the cord. Please hold me to it!

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5 Responses to Moving over to the dark side

  1. Mary says:

    Sounds like you got a great deal there. I wish hubby and my 16 year old brother in law (whom we’re raising) could live without the cable tv. I’d looove to get it disconnected. Sure, there are shows I like to watch (like everything on HGTV), but I would never miss it. I would totally miss the cable internet connection though.

    As for the power of the commercialized tv taking over your family… could you limit the viewing time instead of cutting the cord?

  2. Tatjana says:

    I totally agree with you, even though my husband works for Time Warner. You start to bash everything that you do have instead of being thankful. The shows & commercials make you think you need to get this and that product when you really don’t. It is like brain washing, when you constantly see these products over and over and over again! I’m a young parent and I have heard people say “My kids don’t watch T.V cause its brain washing”, and I’d think how that is? But now I actually get it from your stand point of view.

  3. Andrea says:

    “We’re powerless to the hypnotic glow of the television and are surely better off without it.”

    If you can go consumer free for six months, your next challenge could be to go TV-free for six months 🙂

    Why wait 30 days? Back track on your decision now. If you’re spending less than you were before you got the cable, just for your other services, then you’re not losing anything. And it will be easier to cut the cord now then it will be after you’ve gotten sucked in for all that extra time.

    You’re not alone in TV’s hypnotic power over you and your family. Even without cable (although where we lived we could get about 10 channels without it) we found it so difficult to control the pull of the television that we finally took extreme measures – got rid of the television completely. We have been TV free for 4 1/2 years. I have read so many more books (with thought-provoking themes and no advertisements) than I thought possible. We can watch DVDs on our computer and do so occassionally (for a while we didn’t even have that), but it’s a small screen and not located near the couch, so there is no pull to spend all day lounging. And we’ve learned so many other ways to entertain ourselves, enjoy getting more accomplished in our lives, and now know how to just relax in the *peace and quiet* (after kid in bed), that we truly do not know how we ever had the time or the desire to watch television on a daily basis. In fact, now when I am around television I feel really disturbed.

    Read “The Plug-In Drug: Television, Computers, and Family Life” by Marie Winn. As some commenters on Amazon say, she can take some of her conclusions about the effects of TV on society to an extreme, but overall, I consider it a must-read for parents.

  4. Jen says:

    TiVo TiVo TiVo — you can record only what you truly feel is worth your time, and you can skip all advertising.

  5. perr1ker5h says:

    So far we’ve had cable for four days and I’ve barely turned it on. My husband was thrilled to have clear reception for the Duke vs. UNC game on Wednesday night. And my daughter did squeal with delight when she accidentally happened upon Spongebob. But I made it clear that we’re not watching that crap and I’ve now programmed the remote to skip over Nickelodeon (the channel that brought about the Amazing Amanda disaster in 2005!).

    Tools like Tivo and DVR have always been a mystery to us. I’m hoping we can live without them for now and just enjoy the fact that we can occasionally enjoy The Office from time to time. We’ll see….

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