Life without the X-Factor (or a TV)

So a year ago we began an experiment in our home and we got rid of the TV. Actually to start with we only put it in the garage but after a month the experiment became permanent. We had lots of good reasons for doing so and seven months in as the World Cup was on I didn’t regret it.

But now it’s been a whole year and it’s a chance to reflect on life without a TV. What have we gained and what, if anything, have we lost?

It’s harder to think about what we may have lost because on the whole I think it’s been an excellent decision for us. Initially there were evenings where the lack of easy access to entertainment felt like a loss but that was part of the problem and the point.

We’re not nearly as involved in the ‘cultural conversation’ any longer even though that conversation isn’t always very cultural. I have no idea who is even on Strictly Come Dancing and I’m oblivious to X-Factor. Frankly I’m OK with that. I don’t know who Wagner is, I don’t really want to know and I think my life is probably better off from not knowing. I plan on keeping it that way. But we’re not involved in that and because for so many people their conversation revolves around what they watch instead of what they’ve read or done then we’re not as connected to that.

On the plus side I’ve read 50% more books this year than the year before. I doubt that’s a co-incidence. I’ve accomplished more, I’ve felt like I’ve wasted time less and I’m not as tired. Partly because with the TV went console games which I initially missed a bit but the benefit to my spiritual life far outstripped not being able to play Call of Duty.

I still think we default too quickly to closing the door and opting for the screen as entertainment, to watching a DVD or film – the other options are all more effort. But you get out what you put in, right?

But I’m delighted to not have adverts in my home and in front of my kids. Our front room is set up to talk to people not watch a screen and there’s more space. I feel more in control of what we watch, when we watch and how much we watch – which is odd because I could have switched the TV off but mostly I didn’t.

Will we get a TV again one day? Maybe, who knows but what I do know is that right now life is better without and you won’t see an advert saying that this Christmas.


Hi Phil,

I’m interested that you got rid of the TV completely.

We’ve not consistently had a licence or watched TV for about 9 years but we do have the TV for dvd’s, the kids particularly watch dvd’s.

We also get the licence back for particular seasons, I laughed when I read your comments as ironically we got one back for the world cup and wimbledon months and then cancelled it again and then again we got one for the last episodes of x factor (i’m embarassed to admit that as usually we would not bother but we had gotten drawn in watching previous episodes on itv player. It’s like a horrid drug!)I plan to cancel it again soon.

I’ve avoided getting a games console as I would easily spend hours on one of those and would possibly never go out.

We have a great story though relating to being given a new TV recently – we wanted to tidy up the lounge a bit and save space and Susie my wife thought it would be nice amongst other things to get rid of the big black box that is our tv, but this was not an option for us without putting a flatscreen one on the wall that we could not really afford. Anyway we did pray about it all and that very week a friend or ours (not from our church)who was moving to Canada came round and on leaving said ‘by the way we want to give your our flatscreen tv, can you come round and take it off the wall’. It turned out to be a top of the range Pioneer 42″ plasma!

So now we have this well cool mega tv up on the wall and only use it for dvd’s, which we are more than happy with!

See you soon!

Hi Adam
We were happy watching DVDs on our computers and you can still watch iPlayer stuff without a licence (as long as its not live) so keeping the big old box didn’t make any sense. But the biggest difference was to our living room, we could open it and make it about people because befire the TV determined where and how everyone should sit!

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