Most of the time I feel 100% normal. Well, scratch that. I know we live our lives a little far out on the bell curve with things like aiming for financial independence, doing major DIY renovations on our house, biking to work, and buying solar panels to power our house. But most people around us can’t see that (literally – the solar panels are on the back of the house!) and instead see a young couple that has a small house in a nice neighborhood and leads pretty normal lives going to work, going to the gym, hanging out with each other and our cat and seeming pretty vanilla all around.
So it kindof smacked me across the face when I read a headline in one of the Houzz* newsletters this weekend. “How High Should Your TV Be?”
“Really?” I thought. “This is a problem people can’t seem to figure out?” I squinted at the headline and clicked through to the article, mostly because we don’t have a tv and I somehow needed to understand what the fuss over a tvs height was all about.
But then the article proceeded to slap me in the face with its opening paragraph.
“A home without a television is like a castle in the clouds — it exists only in fairy tales. And that’s only a slight overstatement. The Nielsen Company reports that 96.7 percent of U.S. homes have television sets. In my experience, over the course of hundreds of home construction projects, I can’t recall a single instance in which one of our clients designed a home without the television’s location in mind. “
Now my face really scrunched up. Seriously, Mr Interior Designer? Out of hundreds of homes, there wasn’t a single one without a television? Or even a home with a television but without particular regard to its placement in the final design?
We’ve Never Had a TV Since Moving In Together
With the exception of a 2-year period in which a television hung mostly blank on my studio apartment wall after first moving to Florida**, and tvs that belonged to roommates in college but that we didn’t really use, neither Mr PoP nor I have had a television since moving out of our parents’ house for college in 2001. That’s nearly 14 years and counting.
This puts us in the 3.3% of US households (as of 2011) without a tv and made filling our our Nielsen survey REALLY easy.
Why No TV?
Instead, how about flipping the question. Why have a television?
Personally, I think televisions are ugly – big black voids sucking the life and energy out of a room. Seriously. Go to that Houzz article and imagine how nice those rooms would look without a television.
Or imagine how our living room would look with a big black hole on the left wall over our media console. Ugh. Between the beautiful lake view, and our awesome map why would we want something that ugly competing for attention on the walls in our main room.
Then there’s the fact that they’re just another thing that needs energy ($) and can break ($$). We’ve got enough stuff like that in our lives already.
But We Still Consume Media
With the internet, a subscription to Hulu, multiple computers and an iPad, a projector and speakers connected to a DVD player, and easy access to DVDs from Redbox and the library, I guarantee you that we’re not living in any sort of self-imposed media blackout. If anything, I occasionally feel like I watch too many shows*** when I turn on Hulu on while ironing or doing other chores around the house. (Pet peeve – Hulu now automatically loads another show when one is finished. Way too easy to get sucked into more viewing that way.)
We’ve never once felt like we’re missing anything by not having a television in our house. Coworkers and friends don’t ostracize us if it happens to come up in conversation that we are tv-less. It’s just not a big deal at all.
It’s Just More Intentional
Without a tv, though, consuming video media (besides the random youtube clip) does become a little bit more of an event. We plan movie nights at home as dates. (Boyhood was our movie date this weekend.) The only catches are that movies need to be viewed at night since we can’t see the projection images when there’s sunshine coming through the skylights, and the occasional sporting event needs to be watched with others at a bar****. But, admittedly, watching sports isn’t really our thing. (And Mona says we’re not alone there.)
So if not having a tv makes our house a castle on a cloud, I think we’ll keep it. Especially if there aren’t any floors for me to sweep!*****
* I’ve been reading a lot of Houzz over the last year with the kitchen renovation and planning.
** My mom bought a small flatscreen tv for me after she convinced herself that by living on the beach I would die in a hurricane without easy access to the local weather forecast.
*** Is it just me or has Grey’s Anatomy officially jumped the shark this season?
**** There are two bars with TVs that show sports less than a ten minute walk from our house if we ever became more invested in watching sports and feel the need to consume alcohol while watching them.
***** Roomba helps pretty dramatically on this front and really decreases the amount of sweeping. Perhaps Roomba is part of the fairy tale!
Do you have a tv in your house? (Come on, we can’t be the only ones!) If you do have one, would you ever consider removing it or not unpacking it the next time you move? Why/Why not?