09.04.2012 10:53 AM

Tuned out

Steve, whose stuff I read religiously, had this amazing tweet a few minutes ago:

I find that amazing. A day a week! Who has time to do that?

I don’t watch TV at all. Zero, zippo, zilch. No news programs, no reality shows, no nothing. Haven’t for years. (And I am only able to post my Sun News clips on this web site because I see them online.)

I don’t have a big ideological objection to TV, although I do find that much of it is stupid. Mainly, I just don’t have the time. That’s why I’m astounded that so many others can devote the equivalent of an entire day a week to the idiot box.

Who’s like me? And which of you are part of the majority?


  1. Jim (PR) says:

    I probably watch about 15-20 hours per week, mostly HBO shows.

    I find that my PVR helps me screen out programs I don’t like really quickly. I see a preview, I set it to record it – if I’m not hooked, it’s off the list. I don’t have to sit at home when a show is on, I can set it and forget it and watch it when I’ve got some downtime.

  2. smelter rat says:

    Very very rarely. Sometimes Antiques Road Show on PBS if I remember it’s on.

  3. MCBellecourt says:

    I’m the same way, WK. TV is pure crap now.

    There used to be some pretty decent shows on A&E, hosted by Bill Kurtis (American Justice and Cold Case Files, plus specials he did), and documentaries from Greystone Productions that were really, really good. Then they went ‘reality’. Now it’s a total washout.

    TLC used to have some decent stuff, too, but now it’s Toddlers and Tiaras and other airwave-borne fecal matter to rot your brain with.

    If I do watch any TV shows nowadays, I can usually find a decent one online–and no commercials.

    I find most of those shows on—wait for it—

    The Ceeb.

  4. Ty says:

    Sports only.

    Any series I’ve watched (Parks and Rec, HBO series, Modern Family) I stream. I find it hard to get back into the rhythm of actually watching TV at certain times.

    • Tim Sullivan says:

      I’m the same, but no t.v. It is all streamed, when I can with slow Internet. The kids watch some movies on long drives. I caught some t.v. during the Olympics. Unfortunately, it was women fighting one way or the other, and a repeat stupid feature about women hockey players doing some synch swimming.

      500 Channels at the cottage and nothing to watch.

  5. David_M says:

    I almost get to being part of the majority from April to Sept. because I like baseball. So, I have the ball game on in the background in the evening and on weekends (when I’m home) as I go about my business. Then there’s usually the Daily Show before bed and 1 movie a week curling up on the couch with the girlfriend (one of her demands I can easily obey).
    So there you go, TV is on and sometimes paid attention to for over 20 hours a week.

  6. AP says:

    That’s a lot but I suspect that we spend even more time staring at our computers/ipods/iphones etc. which is not any better.

  7. Chris says:

    Don’t watch broadcast TV, but do download and watch 30 mins to an hour of TV a day (in bed after the kid is asleep).

  8. John says:

    I SO agree with you! Who the hell has the time for TV?
    Mind you, I do watch English football now and then but after stuff-with-kids, stuff-for-work and stuff-I-volunteer for, I’d have to go with 1.3 hours of sleep per night to get any other TV time in!
    And yeah, most of it is utter crap, so why bother.

  9. Greg from Calgary says:

    9 years ago when I moved to Calgary I didn’t bother hooking up the TV. Best decision ever. Why watch life when you can experience it first hand.

  10. Clive says:

    Maybe two hours a week, max. And the interesting thing for me is how my kids have no concept of TV as a broadcast medium. They won’t ever know the concept of waiting until your show comes on. For them it’s what I want to watch, when I want to watch it, stop, pause, start, go back, resume, skip. They’ve never known cable or network TV.

  11. Reality.Bites says:

    I “watch” considerably more than that. At home I have a two monitor setup and one is always showing TV of some sort, much the way other people have the radio on or play music.
    In terms of TV I literally watch, hands off the keyboard and trackpad, not reading anything, there’s probably not more than four hours a week.

  12. Craig McKie says:

    A distinction here if you please between having a television on with low sound volume on the one hand (in case something happens or to listen to news on Newsworld) while doing other things online, and actually paying attention or indeed watching it on the other hand. I have a television on pretty much all the time in my home office. Its simply one of three flat panels which are on. Do I actually watch it? Not really, its a sort of advanced radio and I just mute it if I want to listen to something else. I do also have an Internet radio which I would turn on if there is something going on in Europe. Its pretty much tuned permanently to 5-live from London and Manchester. Never watch entertainment programmes on live tv anymore. Always now watched with ad-free downloads and most of them from Europe except of course for Dexter which I thoroughly enjoy. I put the episodes and whole movies on a media player which is hooked to a high def tv in the kitchen to watch at a convenient time. No ads, rerunable and interruptible and in high definition most of the time.

  13. Doug says:

    In my experience, immoderate TV viewers are non-readers. Maybe that’s where they get the time.

  14. Raymond says:

    …so it’s safe to say you haven’t been watching ‘Hell on Wheels’?

    Too bad.

  15. bigcitylib says:

    We cut the cord about a year ago after my wife went apeshit trying to get Rogers to process our payments on time. Getting out was worse than having teeth pulled, and took a lot longer. Now everything is off the net or DVDs watched on PC. Once we get into our new place, it will be a smart TV and maybe netflix. The cable companies can burn in the fires of hell.

  16. Sean says:

    guilty, guilty, guilty. part of the majority. but 90% of it is baseball / hockey / news / pawn stars.

  17. Marc says:

    Our house is dominated by Treehouse TV with the kids. Too tired for anything else. Warren–I’m surprised you don’t’ watch “The walking dead” series on AMC.

  18. David says:

    I haven’t had TV service (or even an aerial) at home in over two years. It has been amazingly liberating. Something I never used to think I could live without now horrifies me every time I see it when I’m elsewhere. Ads are loud and offensive, and the content is often dumbed down to the point of being not having a point. People watching become detached from the social environment around them, magically reengaging the moment the box is turned off. Being TV-less is truly eye-opening.

  19. W the K - No, not Warren says:

    Moved into a new house 13 years ago, Rogers cut the cable and we never got it re-connected. Didn’t miss it at all. But I did accumulate a large DVD collection (I’m one of those who believes one should pay for legit content) We relented a couple of months ago and got Fibe tv, mostly to watch movies and hockey. Found out I didn’t miss much. I like it well enough but if it went down tomorrow I would not mourn or suffer withdrawl.

    Can’t wait until I can cherry pick my stations. I’d pay a premium for the privilege.

    Oh, and my kids (both in their late teens) have little to no interest at all in programmed tv.

  20. John says:

    Before I was married I didn’t own a TV. But now with the kids I seem to watch more TV than I care to admit. I could cancel it completely without it bothering me, but the rest of the clan would object.

    There are a number of shows that I find entertaining but I don’t need to watch them.

    I’d rather spend my free time in the wood shop or going for a hike with my wife.

  21. Germaine says:

    Breaking Bad, Madmen, Walking Dead. That is all.

  22. Kelly says:

    Warren, don’t you think it would be a good idea to watch some TV, if only in an analytical way, in your line of work? TV and Radio ads are potent (just ask Dion and Iggy, and Newt “serial hypocracy” Gingrich — thanks Ron Paul. Heck, your company is even NAMED after a famous TV spot — the same spot that I learned about in a documentary I saw when I was 12 and that sparked my personal interest in advertising and direct marketing.

    Curious on your opinion on the importance of TV in modern electoral politics in Canada — ads, reality shows, fake news…all of it.

  23. Torgo says:

    Probably about half of that average (15 hours), mostly on HBO shows, news and sports.

    For a good chunk of that, I then use the TV as background while doing something else – working out at home, reading or going online.

  24. Patrick says:

    If the detested hockey lockout occurs, I`m fully with ya.

    If it doesn`t, I`m decidedly not. Get most of the games through Gamecenter anyway!

  25. matt says:

    My wife will often have something on in the background after supper. It may or may not distract me. Left to my own devices, I will often flop on the couch for between 20 and 60 minutes and let the screen take over my mind before going to bed. I find I need something to separate the day from going to sleep. If I have a good book on the go then there’s no contest, but have a difficult time organizing myself to remain supplied with good books.

  26. kre8tv says:

    I cut TV news out of my media diet about 10 years ago and I find I’m better informed about meaningful things and less sidetracked by the racket that passes as “news” in those circles.

  27. Iris Mclean says:

    I haven’t watched TV for at least fifteen or maybe twenty years except for the odd time I get stuck on an airplane or in a hotel room by myself. I’ve never seen an episode of Seinfeld, and the only people I’ve heard saying yada-yada were jerks I had to work with. I did watch a few CBC Mansbridge “news” shows last year while visiting my sister in BC. What a godamn waste of time that was.

  28. frmr disgruntled Con now Happy Lib says:

    Havent had tv for 5 years now…..and the only thing I miss is PBS(and you can get many of their programs online anyhoo now….if I lived across the border, I could see all of em)…..I get my news online(thanx Bourque!), watch documentaries on topdocumentaryfilms.com…..and have Netflix(though the Canadian version bites the big one) or I rent or buy DVD’s…..so I dont miss the dreck that passes for television today……reality shows, lame Canadian(Little Mosque on the Prairie, anyone?…ugh) and American comedies, and newscasts that seem to be more about celebrity watching/jock sniffing than hard news…..
    Im all in favour of keeping the CBC, but when is the last time we saw programs the quality of “The National Dream”…..y’know, stuff that made you proud to be a Canadian?
    The CBC should rip off PBS “American Experience”….and produce a “Canadian Experience”….we have just as many interesting(and inspiring) stories to tell, both French and English.

  29. Michael Watkins says:

    I went without TV for years and was vegetarian. Then I met my wife, we got married, she got pregnant and promptly asked that I cook some meat even as she was presenting to me a new barbecue. Now we have two TVs and vegetarianism is something practiced only occasionally. I am not linking my wife to these lifestyle changes. Ok, maybe I am.

    But… I still don’t watch much TV at all – at most I’ll spend a few hours a week catching a movie or two. For the most part I find network programming stupid or lame or both, but once in a while I get hooked on a series like Breaking Bad – I only learned of the show this year so had some fun catching up via Netflix. I do use financial news TV stations occasionally for work.

    I don’t follow local or national TV news of any sort, so I most certainly do not watch Sun News save for a brief period when it started up. While they might be applauded for not trying to hide their bias, I still found much of the content to be stupid and unworthy of my time.

  30. Philippe says:

    I cut my cable about 7 years ago, most liberating thing I’ve done. Although I do catch the occasional show on YouTube.

  31. dave says:

    I am in the 99%. When I was working full time, I watched Canucks and some movies. I saw some good ones on a documentary channel.But I did not watch tv much.

    Retired, I watch more. I like CPAC docs and presentations at various conferences. Recently I caught the debates and re election of Atlio. I like House of Commons debates, and think some of our MP’s are well grounded in particular areas. I used to like committee work, but in past years it has become more like question period partisanship and theatre.
    I like Downton Abbey, I like operas from places like the Met – can’t afford to get to those- and I sometimes go to comedy…Daily Show, Colbert, Mercer…
    Recently a movie channel we get ran Kurasawa movies for an entire day; I caught a couple of those. Great stuff!
    Recently I watched a movie called SARAH’S KEY, at the same time that I was reading German historian Gotz Aly’s HITLER’S BENEFICIARIES. It was interesting to watch the film about the holocaust at a personal level, while reading an analysis of the holocaust’s economic/fiscal drivers.
    I follow the Canucks, and recently , in my descent into ineffectual senility, the Whitecaps. I catch a bit of junior hockey on tv as well. I am madly in love with our Canadian Women’s Soccer team.
    As I type this, I have on CPAC, with the CSPAN coverage of USA Demos…some guy with the usual whiney, self righteous defence of Israel bs; the guy is a truthie as was Ryan at the RNC convention.
    I also like RT, their docs, and Hartmann. I glance at various news channels to see what the trend is.
    We get a Spanish/Italian channel that gives us some pretty good European movies.
    I also check the local cable channel and find there things that I go to , things that I get involved with.
    I think that tv ads work…I think Conservs attack ads the past many years have worked great. Drug ads work, car ads, ads that tell us oil companies are actually in business to save the environment work great.
    I also have checked into so called religious tv. Sun tv is not new; that right wing stuff has been on religious tv for a long time. And it works as well as ads do.
    Yeah…I watch a fair amount…and I have friends and neighbours and do things with them, and I don’t feel guilty or better off one way or the other about how much I watch.

    Something I think that sites such as this do, and the plethora of news sites of diverse views do, is encourage us to question the mainstream stuff much more.

  32. I fired the cable company 1 1/2 years ago, and reduced my TV watching to near-zero at the beginning of this year.

    One factor is, a lot of the TV I was watching was PBS, and PBS (at least the one in Seattle) has gone very badly downhill over the past 3-4 years. When I got out of the habit of watching PBS, I got out of the habit of watching CBC Newsworld, too.

    My mention of CBC Newsworld gives you the hint that I’m a news junkie. When I still had cable, I was watching MSNBC a lot, primarily for Keith Olbermann, but his replacement, Lawrence O’Donnell, is, IMHO. the best media journalist around now. Elliott Spitzer of Current TV is a close second. (See next paragraph.)

    Without cable, it’s possible to view MSNBC at http://www.epctv.com/channels/MSNBC-Online-Watch-4744.htm . Unfortunately, I have yet to find an online source for Current TV, which means that Current TV is, AFAIK, unavailable anywhere in Canada.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *