Sunday, December 21, 2014

Life Without (Much) Television

Four and a half months ago I moved to Hawaii, which is a pretty big change from Texas in itself, but moving that far away can mean even more changes than a normal move.  My brother and his wife moved here over a year before I did, and they, for example, sold most of their stuff and started here with very little.  I followed in step, except I admittedly am more materialistic than they are (not in the sense that material things mean the world to me above, like, people... but in the sense that I didn't want to sell my stuff before I moved here haha).  I am a bit of a hoarder, just a bit.  Not that I have a Public Storage unit somewhere packed full of anything I've ever owned or held, but just that I do keep things like video games/movies/CDs instead of trading them in for new ones or stuff like that.  I also can't seem to part with my first car which I've had for something like a dozen years now, but that's another matter altogether in my eyes as I am a car guy.  But before I get any further off topic, what I did was box things up and luckily have nice enough parents to spare some room in their house for my stuff for the time being.  However, sacrifices were made...

TV is a pretty big one.  Not only did I leave behind my physical LCD television set, but I came into a situation here where we don't have television service at all.  I thought I would miss it a lot more than I actually do.  I was/am big into racing, and had gotten to where I watched most NASCAR Sprint Cup and Tudor United SportsCar Championship/Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge races, along with all Dallas Stars games and various other shows like Top Gear and many others I won't bother to name here.  You start to add up the time invested into TV though, and wow.  You will feel some shame.  So, I knew coming here we might not get cable TV, but the main thing I really wanted to be able to keep were the Stars hockey games, which my brother was cool with since he is a big Stars fan as well.  We got NHL GameCenter Live in order to satisfy this, for better or worse... I want to love the service, but the app for the PlayStation 4 is pretty terrible.  We have good internet and a good router and all that, and it still has subpar quality and often times has to rebuffer and in general does not have a very user-friendliness about it, like with fast-forward and rewind "scrubbing", which skips minutes at a time.  I want to go back eight seconds like I could on my Tivo back in 2005, but this thing goes in four minute increments - really?  Anyway, we also have Netflix, which pretty much takes care of any other movie/TV needs we may have.

I do miss some shows like Top Gear and seeing some live races, but for the most part, I just don't see how I'd have time to watch more TV than the Stars games anyway.  It really hasn't been as painful a transition as I thought.  I was a big supporter of DirecTV for a long time, but it really is stupid the way cable and satellite companies charge you tons of money for channels you don't even want.  You should be able to pick channels individually and pay for each one alone, but that'll probably never happen.  Streaming is a cool alternative, with services like Netflix out there, but still you're paying a rate fee for access to tons of stuff you don't care about, not to mention the fact it's all older stuff - you don't get live TV programming obviously.  If you've considered ditching TV though, you might be surprised how much time you free up for yourself on top of the money you'll save, and that's a good thing.  I have no regrets in doing so!  The only thing I may regret is NHL GameCenter, haha.