Friday, June 12, 2009

Bye-bye Broadcast

For the moment, we are a television-less household. We'll see how long this lasts.

It's not that we were ill-prepared for the switch to digital. We got our converter boxes months ago, and used them this winter after our local public television and ABC stations went digital on the original deadline in February.

But then the troubles started. We discovered that we only got digital signals when the skies were crystal clear. Then the trees sprouted leaves, and we lost all digital entirely.

We have an antenna in the attic, which we always liked a lot because we didn't have to worry about northeasters and ice storms. Now we have to spend $200 or so for a ginormous rooftop antenna, and possibly still more than that for a signal booster. And even then we're wondering if we'll get a signal.

It was very nice of the feds to help us out with converter box coupons. But the boxes are turning out to be the least of our needs.

We don't get cable in our little town--not that I'd want it, being easily distracted from my daily round. God help me if I had a bazillion channels to choose from, plus the guilty feeling that I'd better be watching them because I paid money for them. (New Englander? Me?) And even if I wanted to be channel-enhanced, I wouldn't get a satellite dish for the great pleasure of losing tv and internet every time the sky got cloudy.

There's just about no entertainment worth watching on the regular networks, but we definitely will miss the news shows. Here's the plan: We'll watch the news on the internet, either later at night than usual, or the next day. We already read newspapers in the flesh and on line...we'll just do a little more of the latter and add a little more radio. We already watch Olbermann, Stewart, and Colbert on line, the evening after. For entertainment, DVDs or Netflix or Hulu.

And, of course, books, although there are times when the eyes just need a rest.

We may discover we're fine without TV. Except for one nagging feeling: Aren't the airways supposed to be ours for free? So how come we have to fork over $300 or so to get access to them?


Peppergnome said...

We are also televisionless. Not that we couldn't have been prepared, we just didn't care enough to bother or spend the money. Eventually we'll spring for a new TV with a digital tuner, and most likely find we need a new antenna too. Meanwhile, we have the internet and stacks of DVDs. And almost everyone we know has cable so we won't miss the "BIG GAME".

Ellen Booraem said...

Hi Pepper!

Actually, tonight's hockey game is the one problem. (For Rob, anyway.) We just discovered that the local CBS channel is still on, so we'll have one more news fix. But I think the game's on NBC.

Peppergnome said...

How far do you have to drive to find a sports bar?

We didn't end up watching the game either, which we felt a bit guilty about. Apparently it was ALL OUR FAULT that the Red Wings didn't win, because we weren't cheering them on.

Anonymous said...

Bubbie got the converter box for his t.v., Which has PBS on it, and that`s all I want. He is missing cartoon network, but we are finding more and more shows on the internet so really, who needs t.v.?


(except Hulu doesn`t have Doctor Who or The Mighty Boosh, evidently they are prejuidiced against british television!)

P.P.S.- my word verification was Fetra, which I misread as feta, which got me hungry for cheese. Curse you, word verification thingie! *shakes fist at it*

Ruth said...

I haven't had a TV for over 13 years now and I'm not missing it one bit. Nowadays you can get by with the internet (thanks to BBC iPlayer we were always able to watch the latest Doctor Who or Q.I. episode after it was aired ;-)). And before that I managed just fine with radio and newspapers.

For resting your eyes I can recommend audio-books. Nothing more soothing than to listen to Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter, for example!