Thursday, May 17, 2012

The TV is dying

Television is dying for me.  I'd like to identify the culprits (in chronological order):

  • My kids.  When they're around, I can't always watch the shows I want to watch.  And when they aren't around, I don't want to waste my precious screen time on commercials or waiting for a show. 
  • The iPad.  Sherry and I bought one about a year ago.  It is a complete game-changer in how it altered my preferences for consuming news.  Ironically, I have ceded ownership to my wife.  She gets more out of it than I do.  I'll still get chances to occasionally use it to read my magazines and The Inquirer.
  • The Kindle.  Really, it might be a bit player in all this.  But I acquired it last summer just as I was starting to get more interested in reading Game of Thrones.  Reading on it came to supplant watching the Phillies as my way to pass a pleasant summer evening. 
  • The Philadelphia Eagles.  Their 2011 campaign was such a clunker it diminished my desire to watch nearly any sport.  The Flyers' pratfall in the playoffs and the Phillies' mediocre start to the 2012 season hasn't helped matters.  Ironically, I won't miss a single Eagles game after switching off the cable.  Those are still over the air. 
  • The Roku Box.  It's nimble.  It's flexible.  It links me to nearly anything I want to watch.  I just have to pray that the little guy holds out against the titans that are Apple and Google.  
  • That commentator on Michael Smerconish's show who, back in March, talked of how one should invest one's time rather than just spend it.  It's made me rethink what I do when I relax.  (By the way, a peripheral casualty of this was Angry Birds.) 
  • This laptop.  Now I can just digest however much content online as I want.  And a lot of it is news and commentary.  I like the ability to create and consume this laptop gives me.  I like being able to pick away at tasks both tedious and amusing online as I half-heartedly watch something.  Further, I'm starting to lock in on the richness of news that is out there.  

And that's the story.  The economics teacher in me wants to point out the diminishing marginal returns of television.  And after 36 years of watching a lot of television, it makes sense that I've hit the end of what it can do for me.  It's amusing to think of how these changes are going to make my household look different by the time my kids are 15 or 16, the age I was when cable first came to my neighborhood. 

Sherry reminded me tonight of how I used to yearn for a television in the kitchen.  No more.  The iPad and laptop can satisfy that.  I think she enjoyed knowing that holding the line on keeping TV out of the kitchen has worked out so nicely. 

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