Last year, we completely cut the cord on cable, after we survived a year on the simple basic package. Now, we just have an indoor antennae and a Roku box. The Roku allows us to stream Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, EWTN, and Amazon On Demand directly to the television instead of running a cable to the laptop. I also used bonus points from a credit card to buy a region-free DVD player so I could buy UK-formatted DVDs.
Here's our awesome, spectacular, loaded home theatre system (still waiting on that dripping sarcasm font) that we had until two weeks ago:
Children came in our house and asked our children, "What is that? Is that your computer?" Our children developed a bit of a complex about our television screen size. It was 22 in. and we borrowed it from our friend Amber when we moved into this house. We sold our old 25 inch television and decided we'd like a flat-screen, but we wanted to wait for a good deal. This met our needs and I really liked the fact that you didn't notice a television when you first walked into our home. I will admit that we didn't always get the "entire picture" though. Our screen was so small that the price was cut off after the appraisals on Antiques Roadshow. It did not encourage long spans of viewing time and that is not a bad thing.
Here's the new television. It's a 36 in. screen, so still not huge, but it's big enough that the kids no longer fight over the spot at the end of the sofa, right in front of the television. I'm just one of those people who views televisions, like automobiles, in a very utilitarian manner.
We cut the cable cord for several reasons. One, we found we were spending too much time with the television on, even if it was just as background noise. Two, we were watching things on channels like Travel and Food Network just to watch something. Three, there really isn't that much on American television that interests us. I can't watch crime dramas. They were hard to watch when I was a teacher, but after my first pregnancy, I just could not stand to watch true or fictional accounts of horrific crimes, particularly those involving children. That genre accounts for so much of the current offerings on American television. There are several comedy series I watch, such as The Office, but I watch those on Netflix or Hulu, on my schedule (which usually means midnight). My leisure time is precious, so I either want a well-crafted drama or a truly funny, well-timed and written comedy that will literally make me Laugh Out Loud.
British programming has spoiled me. They are, after all, inheritors of the legacies of Shakespeare and Dickens. It's in their blood. Their shows are generally less slick and glamorous in look. The actors have real and interesting character faces, compared to so many American actors who are often nothing more than a pretty face. Their writing is clever and subtle. Of course, they have their duds when it comes to programs, but those generally aren't available on my sources, since they weren't popular or successful. Things that only appear on PBS, particularly Masterpiece Theatre, in America are on prime-time in the UK. Downton Abbey, the Edwardian drama created by Julian Fellowes, pulled in 10.1 million UK viewers for its 1st episode of season 2. Acclaimed by some, criticized by others as a historical soap opera, it's still towers above most American offerings.
In addition to dramas and comedies, there are panel shows to enjoy. Some are based on current news or trivia, while others have a game-show quality. British celebrities, news contributors, and comedians will serve as guests on these panel shows.
Have I Got News For You--panelists discuss the week's news stories
Would I Lie to You? Panelists have to figure out if their fellow panelist is lying to them.