For the past two years, we've lived without television. OK, that's not really true. We have a TV and a DVD player, but we don't have any TV signal. Everything we watch has to be brought into the house.
It's actually been a pretty interesting experiment. We've always had cable or satellite and watched TV like everyone else. When we moved into this house, we decided to cut off the signal. The kids were starting to watch too much TV, and truth be told, I was spending too much time watching TV too. The kids hated this house for a while because they thought it didn't have any signal.
The transition wasn't really all that hard, especially with so much news on the Internet, the best TV series available on DVD, and Netflix delivering movies. I now have lots of time back to do other stuff like exercise, read, or blog (or even sleep once in a while!) The kids don't seem to mind too much either. I don't think I'll ever look back on my life and wish I'd watched more TV. This has worked out to be a good decision.
That said, there are a few side effects. I miss watching sports; it's one of the few things I think you can't really recreate via the web or other means. I've also found the kids don't have a good sense of any sports because they don't see them played, don't hear the color commentary, and don't have favorite players. I'm not a huge sports fan, but the sports thing may cause me to rethink the no-TV bit (we did hook up rabbit ears to watch Seattle play in the Super Bowl.)
I also find myself at a bit of a loss in conversations sometimes. I don't know what happened on The Apprentice last night (and really don't care) and don't get the Apple commercial parodies. And I really don't know who have the pseudo-celebrities are (who is Jessica Simpson and why is she famous?)
When I don't understand what's going on in the conversation and explain it's because we don't have TV, people often look at me like I'm some kind of Luddite freak. The other common reaction is "wow, that's cool. I could never do that." Most people simply cannot imagine living without live TV. Wild.
I will admit that when we're on vacation, we are often all glued to the TV in the hotel room. The kids catch up on their cartoons, and Michelle and I watch whatever trainwreck pop show happens to be hot. It's like binging on Pop Tarts, Mountain Dew, Slim Jims, and Lunchables. I feel like I need a shower afterwards.
If you've never turned off your TV for a week (or better, a month), give it a try. It's actually amazingly liberating.