This is a column by our regular columnist Clark.

For all the purported benefits that TV provides, I still haven’t found a compelling reason to get one (new or used, CRT or LCD or Plasma or LED). I’ll summarize my views in the form of a conversation with another (imaginary) person who supports buying a TV (and a cable connection).

How do you survive without watching sports on TV?

Well, if the interest becomes overpowering, then I’ll buy a ticket to watch a game once-in-a-while. Also, sports bars provide big screens for matches. And, friends haven’t become enemies yet to shun me away if I ever want to watch a big game live at their place.

How about movies and TV shows?

Haven’t you heard that Netflix has come to Canada? I agree that the collection isn’t top-notch yet but it is a start. Simply put, I don’t like to become captive to any hot new TV show, as great as it may be! Wait long enough and it should become available. There are so many great shows from the past that wait my viewing anyway!

You are not enjoying life. What use is your money if you can’t convince yourself to spend some on a TV? Who are you saving it for? Your kids? I think you’ll change once you have kids.

Different strokes for different folks. Watching television is a source of joy for you but reading up on a topic of my interest and jumping over to read about a linked topic – just like you flip channels – gives me great pleasure. It is not a question of money at all; if you think it is, then I’m not going to try to convince you otherwise. As for kids, we’ll see if things change at that time.

OK, so you like to read. Most people spend time in front of the TV and you do the same on the Internet. I don’t see how you are any better than people with a TV?

Why did the comparison sneak in? I’m only trying to provide reasons for why I don’t want to buy a TV. If you think that TV is a waste of time and spending time reading is a worthwhile pursuit, then you know what you need to do to change and improve yourself. Again, I am not claiming that one is better than the other but it is how you use each that determines the utility.

Seriously, don’t you get bored sitting in front of the computer all the time? You are addicted to it!

What makes you think that my life revolves around sitting in front of a computer? Heard about working out, developing relationships, reading books, going out and cooking? And, I don’t think you recognize the vast expanse of knowledge that one could gain as long as one can sustain the interest.

Very funny! As though I don’t do all those things! But, I can’t see how you can live without a TV?

Something to ponder about, is it not?

So, do you even know what goes on in the world? Forget I said that! You probably get your daily dose of news from the web too!

There, you have the answer! The other aspect is that my news comes from multiple sources including non-mainstream media.

What do your friends do when they visit you? Browse the Internet too? Don’t you think that they might assume that you can’t even afford to buy a TV?

Do you really want an answer to this? Do your friends visit to watch the TV at your place or catch up, play, enjoy a barbecue, etc.? And, if I’m going to be judged negatively for the lack of a TV, then I’d really like to know who those judges are so that I can stop inviting them over!

You seem to make sense but I just can’t do it myself. Can’t even imagine life without it!

I hope it seems interesting, if not practical. I think it is a matter of priorities and goals. A Stats Canada report from 2004 says that an adult (18 and over) spent an average of 20 – 25 hours per week in front of the TV. A survey from 2010 found that people between 18 and 34 watched 13 hours of TV per week. I think that there is a shift towards spending more time on the Internet among the general population anyway. Going by the recent survey, I get those 2 hours per day to do something of my choice and also, save money on the TV, cable, and energy cost. As for life without it, I bet many people can’t imagine life without social networking too!

My replies above are obviously written with an author’s freedom to tilt the scales in his favor. But, readers have the liberty to counter my statements to make it a more level playing field. So, which camp are you in? Watch a lot of TV, don’t have one at all, or seldom watch it? Are there any that have crossed camps? If so, what instigated the shift?

About the Author: Clark works in Saskatchewan and has been working to build his (DIY) investment portfolio, structured for an early retirement. He loves reading (and using the lessons learned) about personal finance, technology and minimalism.  You can read his other articles here.


  1. Larissa on May 23, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    I haven’t had access to a TV for years… though what I have had is a projector and white screen in my living room for watching movies. The television shows on TV are by and large junk – it’s really good quality movies that I can rent that I am most interested in.

    Otherwise, the internet serves the purpose of accessing other information just fine.

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