Is It Really That Big of a Deal to Live Without a TV?

by Ryan Guina

Last week I went into Best Buy to pick up a new wireless router after ours died after 5 years of faithful service. The big screen TVs are just to the right of the entrance of our local store and I decided to spend a few minutes looking at the new 3D TVs. It’s interesting technology, and some of the scenes from Avatar were beautiful in 3D. But I think it still has a ways to go before it goes mainstream – there are still a lot of gains to be made in the technology, and the price point needs to come down before it will be widely adopted.

Strategically placed near the TV section was a DirecTV booth. As I was walking away from the TVs the DirecTV rep approached me and started his sales pitch:

Him: “Hi! I wanted to ask you if you are happy with your TV provider. Would you mind telling me who you use for your TV service?”

Me: “I don’t.”

Him: “Oh, do you mean you don’t use DirecTV or you just get local channels?”

Me: “No, I mean I don’t have a TV.”

Him: Stares in awkward silence.

Me (after about 2 seconds): “Thanks though.”

Him: “Oh, you mean you just watch movies and play video games? Well, we can offer you…”

Me: I politely shook my head and repeated myself. “No, I mean I don’t have a TV.”

Him: “Oh, so you’re here to get a TV? Let me get a Best Buy rep for you. They can help you find the right TV, and then if you like, we can talk about getting you set up with 8 billion channels* of TV for a low introductory price.”

Me: “No thanks, I’m not looking for a TV, I just need to pick up a wireless router. Thanks though.”

Him: Stares in silence as I walk away.

*8 billion channel might be a slight exaggeration.

I’ve had a couple other similar encounters in recent weeks when I explained that my wife and I don’t have a TV.  We gave up TV a couple weeks before we sold our house and relocated to a new state. It’s about a month now and neither of us misses it. That isn’t to say we’ll never buy another TV or never watch it again, just that we don’t miss it at the moment. (For the record, we did go over to our in-laws to watch the Super Bowl, and I’ve watched a few movies via Netflix and RedBox since we sold our TVs, but that’s about it). If we decide to buy another TV in the future I doubt we’ll go back to cable. There are tons of free streaming options available, and many more for a fraction of the price of cable or satellite TV.

Has anyone else had similar a experience after giving up something that many people consider to be essential?

Published or updated February 12, 2014.
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