Giving up the boob tube
June 7, 2016 9:19 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to give up watching tv. I watch 1 to 2 hours a day now and it's a huge waste of time. What are your hacks for giving it up?

I think almost anything is a better use of my time. Extra work, cleaning, meditating, calling a friend. How can I give up the t.v. (Note, toddler sleeping so I cannot go anywhere). I do use it to relax, but it's so wasteful. Some days, weekends, it'll creep up to 3 hours.

What are your tips and tricks? Is it better to go cold turkey or watch a couple hours a week?
posted by Kalmya to Grab Bag (38 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I mean, I challenge your basic premise that it's wasteful because you say you use it to relax. Relaxation from a stressful life is worth it.

But the easiest way to not watch tv is to get rid of your tv. Watching stuff on other screens isn't as fulfilling and should help you cut down on how much time you spend on it.
posted by inturnaround at 9:23 PM on June 7, 2016 [17 favorites]

Yes. Get rid of your TV, or put it in a closet and only take it out for "event" type shows that you don't think waste your time. Alternatively, and depending on your taste, simply cutting cable might be enough.
posted by mark k at 9:30 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Update: I don't have cable. This is all streaming, partially to non tv devices already.
posted by Kalmya at 9:31 PM on June 7, 2016

Systems of credit assignment are usually universal in character, but not drawn from the typical kind of universality that you get taught in intro to stats class (the bell curve). That is, they are heavily skewed. This is true for systems of monetary credit assignment, this is true for systems of temporal credit assignment.

That is, unless your life is much different than most other folks' lives, there is already existing a sort of ecological structure which determines a radical inequity in how you spend your time: such and such an amount in work, such and such an amount in eating, and such an such an amount in TV.

You are aiming to extinguish one species in this ecosystem but you have to look at the others. What concomittant activities do you do while TV-watching? You'll need to extinguish those, too. Are there any concomittant activities you wish to keep? What is, absolutely precisely, the ecological niche that TV holds in your life? Are there multiple kinds of relaxation that you give for yourself, and TV is holding forth on one of them? Then you're going to have to precisely replace that sort of relaxation.

What are the hidden reservoirs of TV-watching that trigger you to pull up Netflix? Now, I know they put down a sort of cybernetic cycle to try to get you to watch more, so put up cybernetic cycles of your own. If you know your way around TamperMonkey, put in a 2-minute wait between Netflix sorts of deals. Same with other streaming services.
posted by hleehowon at 9:39 PM on June 7, 2016 [6 favorites]

Listen to the radio or podcasts instead. That way, you've got the sense of a presence around you, and something to engage with and drift away from without being captivated by images. Then you're free to do whatever busywork / fun stuff you want to put yourself to :)

For tearing yourself away from the web, I think the best thing is to not start it up in the first place (way too easy to get sucked in) and failing that, blockers. (I feel you on this one.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:51 PM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Three things I find help.
a) get a good book. As in "I can't put this down I really want to read it, so awesome" book. You won't miss TV. If you make it a regular habit, reading in the evenings will come to feel as normal as watching TV. Of course, you might see reading as as much a waste of time.
b) binge watch. I know, I know, still takes up time. But if you know you can sit down once a week and watch 4 episodes straight of X, you will watch 4 hours of TV a week rather than 14 hours of TV a week.
c) If you want to clean or work or whatever, listen to podcasts or audiobooks while doing it. So you are still getting that infusion of 'entertainment' but can get on with other stuff you want to do.
posted by Megami at 9:54 PM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Once you stop watching for a year or two, it's super easy to avoid going back because you won't have any context for the shows that are on. Most shows, if you've never even heard of the series before and just tune into the middle of an episode, are just bizarre and usually sort of cringey. Your tolerance for ads will go way down, too.

Seriously, if you never watch tv, it becomes 100x more obvious how terrible most tv really is. This is why people who don't watch tv are insufferable when you try to talk to them about tv.
posted by ryanrs at 9:57 PM on June 7, 2016 [21 favorites]

Wait until it is raining hard, then put your TV out in the rainstorm. After a couple of days of rain and sun, then take it to a charity. That is what I did to all my TV's and then my Mom's TV's when I inherited them. Yeah. I haven't watched TV since 2003.
posted by Oyéah at 9:59 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Once you stop watching for a year or two, it's super easy to avoid going back because you won't have any context for the shows that are on. Most shows, if you've never even heard of the series before and just tune into the middle of an episode, are just bizarre and usually sort of cringey. Your tolerance for ads will go way down, too.

This is really true. It is hard to get back on the TV (and just general cultural) track once you're off, for sure. This can be a socially alienating experience. And I *know* (because people whose taste I trust say so) that there's a lot of great TV being made. Maybe occasional and selective binging isn't a bad plan if you want to avoid that scenario (and think some TV is good).
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:01 PM on June 7, 2016

Kill your TV. Think of it as an evil manipulator selling you ads. If you stream stuff on Netflix or watch YouTube you still see some ads, but not nearly as many as you do on TV. Learn to hate ads and the time they waste. Even if I can get free coins or whatever in an iPad game, I usually leave the video running while I go do something else. TV is your worst enemy.
posted by bendy at 10:08 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Find something else to relax. Addictive video games are a popular choice.

Another option is to get so busy that you don't have time to watch TV. Going back to school seems to be a popular route for doing this.

You can also take the TV outside and set it on the curb. Someone who wants a TV will probably take it, you'll miss it but it will be gone, gone forever.

Once you haven't watched it in a while you won't miss it much. Maybe you'll think you do, until you visit someone who leaves the TV on all the time, and then you'll realize that you don't.

Caveat: some people find the talking voices going in the background to be very soothing and relaxing, even if they have no interest in the show. If this is the case you could switch to audio only, so you aren't distracted by the visuals.

This is all streaming, partially to non tv devices already.

You can probably set up your router to block some of the sites you are using.
posted by yohko at 10:22 PM on June 7, 2016

Rent a small storage unit, and put your TV inside it.

I have given up TV, but only *very* reluctantly. I recently moved cross-country to a tiny studio with thin walls. Between my relocation, lack of space and not wanting to further irritate my neighbors, I have decided to forgo getting a new TV for the year that I'm stuck in this apartment.

Instead, I've been reading a lot and going to bed earlier. Both are great for me health-wise, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss my TV. I have 8 months left on my lease, and maybe by the time it's up, I won't miss having a TV as much. On the other hand, there is something very satisfying and relaxing to watching "just one more episode" of my favorite shows, so I have a feeling I'll end up getting another TV.

Nonetheless, I've found that literally not having a TV physically present in your home is a good way to force yourself to do other things. Occasionally, I will watch shows on Netflix on my laptop - but, having previously had a 40-inch screen, plus a very comfy sofa, the experience is just not the same, so I rarely watch more than 2 hours at a time.
posted by invisible ink at 10:29 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

For Lent this year, I gave up almost all my shows (orthodox don't do the giving up, but you are meant to not do entertainment, and I had to do entertainment stuff for work, so I wanted to trade something as a way to create space for Lent activities of calm). I haven't had a TV at home for over a decade because I didn't want my kids to watch TV ads but streaming makes it really easy to watch a LOT of TV.

What helped was going through and adding up the total hours of everything I watched. For Lent, I knew I wouldn't be able to avoid spoilers for Orphan Black and Mindy Project, and I'd sincerely regret not watching them unspoiled. But everything else I was happy to wait until after Lent.

After the 40 days, I went back to and thought carefully about each show I wanted to add back, versus saving it for a sick day to watch in a season binge (super pleasure!) I added back only three shows, so I went from about 20 hours a week to 5 hours. And these are seriously great shows I look forward to and watch with full engagement, not as background.

I also found reading recaps (Wall Street Journal and Entertainment do particularly good ones) scratched the itch for series I quite liked watching occasional episodes of - Supernatural and GOT for example.

(And I just went and unselected two more shows to make up for adding Cleverman onto my watch list.)
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 10:40 PM on June 7, 2016

posted by dorothyisunderwood at 10:40 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Cold turkey! TV is addictive, tapering makes it much harder.
Get some replacement activities lined up, and then delete all the streaming apps and programs off all your machines.

Possible replacement activities:
Pick up some books (start easy with fun, addictive popular fiction, you can read War and Peace next year once the reading habit has stuck)
Buy an old dresser or cabinet and paint it (If you use water-based paint, like latex or chalk paint, it's nontoxic and doesn't stink, so you can do it right in the house. Just put down a trash bag and keep baby wipes handy to catch drips, and do it slowly and neatly).
Spend $40 on some watercolours and paper and a bunch of flowers, and teach yourself to paint the flowers
Adult colouring book and a nice set of pencil crayons or markers
Get a small tank of guppies and watch them have live births
Go for a 30 minute walk every night
Invite friends over, and cook an easy pot of pasta or get takeout, and then hang out
Get an extra hour of sleep
Learn to sew or embroider
Write in a journal
Get really nice cleaning supplies, and lots of well-fitted gloves, so cleaning is less gross and more of fun (I bought semi-expensive $9 yuppie spray cleanser that smells like essential oils, which is much nicer than piney or lemony cleansers, and it makes me enjoy cleaning much more)
Get a yoga app and do a yoga class on your phone
Good luck!
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:11 PM on June 7, 2016 [6 favorites]

Whenever I have wanted to reduce TV watching, I found it has helped to start doing something while watching TV, and then switch to doing more of that thing. For me, quilting, but any other crafty hobby works as well.
posted by corb at 11:13 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

TV is only a waste of time when it's bad TV. Do you also think movies and non-instructional books are a waste of your time? Concerts and plays? It's all storytelling, and that's just as vital a human need as companionship.

Granted there is way more bad storytelling available than good storytelling. But also we are currently in a golden age of serial storytelling - there are some truly awesome shows available to watch, with gorgeous craftsmanship on all levels. And with the quality of digital cameras and editing coming far down in price, there's also some great nonfiction shows and documentaries being made independently.

So I'm not completely refuting your premise. I think it's perfectly logical and a fine choice to make to mostly cut tv out of your life. But don't reject the form entirely. Become extremely choosy. Watch only the most interesting and rewarding shows available, a little at a time.

If you aren't having budget issues, you could switch to physical media. Renting and buying blu-rays and dvds is a huge barrier to watching shows, but the really good things are often available, and the cost of it would sort of self-limit your screentime.

You could compile a list of the shows that really interest you and only allow yourself to add one new show a season. Then only pick from your list when you want to watch something to relax.

I find that a really good audiobook can scratch the same itch TV does. I'm a fidgeter and am always doing something with my hands, so the things I do while watching TV also can be done when listening to an audiobook, and they have narratives. That and podcasts, which are much more hit-or-miss. You might experiment with an subscription, though I find it kind of pricey. There's lots of free audiobooks out there but they're not the cream of the crop. Might work for you, though.

Relaxing with a good story now and again is important to staying sane and healthy. I don't think it's a waste unless you aren't actually relaxed afterwards.
posted by Mizu at 12:05 AM on June 8, 2016 [11 favorites]

The answer to cold turkey/not is partially your own personality.

When I gave up TV, I weaned myself off it by reading Wikipedia episode summaries rather than watching the episode. Significantly smaller investment of time, significantly less addictive.

I did this partially because TV was a social thing - I discussed it with friends, and I wasn't ready to give that up yet.

For a replacement leisure activity of the same format (ie, inactive and with basically no brain required), I would lie on the couch with my face covered by a blanket and listen to music. This tended to eat less time than TV, and leave me noticeably more refreshed.

(one other option I tried is replacing dumb TV with less dumb TV - youtube shows that are educational, online college classes, etc. Things that would leave me feeling less empty and pointless afterwards.)
posted by Cozybee at 1:10 AM on June 8, 2016

Toddlers are exhausting. I do not blame you at all for watching a couple hours of mindless drivel to unwind from being a mom while your darling child sleeps.

However, if you are having a moment (we all have them) where you feel you must maximize the output of every conscious hour of your day, either watch something educational on Youtube (political rhetoric? science? making cute bento lunches for your family members?), or read a good book (is fiction also a waste of time? Dear lord, I hope not). I suppose you could read investment books or something, but really, you are allowed to cut yourself some slack.

You could, of course, meditate, or take up practicing the sitar, but whatever you choose, you should key your leisure activities to something that actually relaxes you and makes you feel better or more fulfilled.
posted by ananci at 2:09 AM on June 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

It's true that the less you consume television, the less you want to. I still watch tv, but mainly on the weekends. When I've visited family a few hours away, I'm astonished that they can just sit and watch tv for hours - it just isn't as stimulating for me anymore.

My advice is to find something else quiet you can do. I like to paint, and the nice thing about watercolors is that I can do a painting fairly quickly, I can come back to it at a later time, and the setup is very quick. It's very low-stress for me because I'm not trying to sell my paintings or become an expert at watercolors - it's just fun to play around and be creative. I also really like using watercolor journals in small sizes (5.5x8'') because if something doesn't work out, I don't care.

I've found that using media consumption to relax feels nice at the time, but it kind of dulls you in a way. Writing, reading, doing art, sewing, knitting, crocheting have all allowed me to relax while not becoming a zombie.
posted by Aranquis at 2:54 AM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Toddlers are exhausting. I do not blame you at all for watching a couple hours of mindless drivel to unwind from being a mom while your darling child sleeps.
posted by ananci at 4:09 AM on June 8
My friend Emily lived next door to me for a few years, she was free and bike-riding and carousing and living her Art life and enjoying all that Austin has to offer. She now has two young sons, moved to Florida because the boys father is from there, they separated, and her life has completely, totally changed. I don't know that she has time even to watch TV, unless it's with those boys.

I have no idea how she does it. Literally: No idea. She and the boys visited last year, stayed with another mom and kids, Emily and her boys and myself went to Trader Joe's and within four minutes I was ready to slit my wrists. Fifteen thousand million billion questions and demands every minute, and one of those boys in particular a total psycho, wound up tighter than a ten-day clock and just caroming and careening all day from the second he opens his eyes until they finally fall closed. What you are doing is hard. Or it would be for me, anyways.


I'm a proud, stuck-up, insufferable no-TV watching jerk but it is because of the ads. I *cannot* *stand* dancing, singing cats selling cat litter, or talking, singing, arguing toilet bowls selling cleaners, or whatever it is now. I've been done with it for forty years, and hated it even before then. It wasn't hard at all for me to pull the plug, though I've usually had one for movies, first VCRs then DVDs now streaming and/or DVDs. I have never watched Saturday Night Live and I never will. Seinfeld? Never seen it. Could not care less. Dancing, singing cats? Fuck that noise...

I won't read magazines without field-stripping them first, gutting them, tearing all of the shit out of them, which has become more difficult every year. So that's over, too.


But. Here's the dirt: I blow hours and hours online -- look at all the jive I've written on this site, for starters. Reddit "Not The Onion" is funnier than moose-piss, it's a huge, wonderful time sink for me -- human beings are nuts, we're crazy as bugs, and it's all right there on that sub-reddit thread.


I would not spend one hour online without Ad Blockers of every description. If tomorrow all the Ad BLocks stopped working I'd use the puter for banking, bill pay, etc, buying from Amazon, but not more mindless wandering, link following link. I'm almost positive I'd go back to books, which I've never really left anyways.

Speaking of books, I am absolutely smitten with Audible books; being read to, *esp* if it's the author of the book, it's just the best. A small luxury that I can afford. And I can listen while on my bike ride or playing Freecell on the puter or driving or relaxing down on the waterfront; it's just so, so nice. ...


So. Get rid of any TV shows with ads. They are toxic. TV ads have scientifically been shown to turn peoples minds into yellow jello with big horse boogers in it. Throw all magazines out the window. If watching no-ad TV and/or movies brings you peace, do it. You're engaged in the largest, most important job that there is on the planet -- being with your child, loving that child -- and you needn't shame yourself for your luxuries. Enjoy them.
posted by dancestoblue at 3:10 AM on June 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

My solution was to disconnect the antenna / cable box from the TV. I left streaming boxes connected for a while, but eventually switched to "if it ain't on a shiny disc, I don't watch it" DVD/Blu-Ray only regime. That's served me pretty well, though my sweetie and I will sometimes end up binge-watching a whole DVD of episodes of NCIS or a movie trilogy on a rainy day.

As others have said, ads are the easiest thing to hate. Develop an intolerance from them, and you'll be well on your way to dropping the TV habit.
posted by DaveP at 4:28 AM on June 8, 2016

I got rid of home Internet. If I want a movie or TV series, I check it out from the library (and I keep a queue there just as I used to do on Netflix, the difference being that I only take out maybe two media items per week, max). I have 5gb data from Republic Wireless and I use it sparingly.
It's not that I don't use the internet; I use it all day at work, plus a couple of hours in the evenings at coffeeshops a few days a week because I'm in an online degree program taking two courses at a time. It's just that I've gotten rid of the convenience of sitting in front of it and turning my brain off. I don't have a car, so skipping out to a coffeeshop takes effort as well.
My bills are lower than they've ever been, my apartment is clean enough for guests 7 days a week, and I'm tearing through my reading list. It's great.
posted by notquitemaryann at 4:34 AM on June 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

When my kids were 2 and 4, I got rid of the TV because I was horrified at the blank looks on their little faces when they were watching. It stayed off for over 15 years.

Cold turkey, no more TV. This was pre-Internet, so I didn't have to think about not looking at my computer, but I suppose I would have turned it off and kept it off.

I thought TV withdrawal was going to be difficult because like you, I crashed in front of it when they were napping and zoned out for a couple of hours. But it was fine. Just sitting on the couch with things to read, a few crossword puzzles, some mindless cleaning; it made the time go in a very relaxing way. I found that those hours just filled themselves kind of organically and I didn't miss TV at all.

Be wary of becoming one of those, "I don't watch TV" people; they can be annoying.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 5:09 AM on June 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

My TV watching diminished dramatically when I started learning to play bass guitar, and that was without any intent on my part to cut back. I'd recommend learning an instrument as a great substitute for a hour or two a day of watching TV.
posted by layceepee at 5:21 AM on June 8, 2016

Two suggestions that I don't think have been made yet:

- Is your TV watching in the evening? Go to bed instead. Have your relaxation/"me" time early in the morning, when you can't turn on the TV because your kids will wake up. (This probably only works if you tend to be a morning person.) If that means your bedtime ends up being absurdly early, you can also extend your bedtime routine -- slather on various beauty products, give yourself a foot massage, or do other pampering things.

- Try designating some days as TV days and some days as screen-free days. I like TV, but I only want to watch it when I'm really craving that feeling of mindless relaxation or am excited to see something specific. Watching TV about 2-3 days a week is perfect for me, and I don't feel deprived on non-TV days.
posted by chickenmagazine at 6:13 AM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

An idea that hasn't been mentioned yet:
If you find yourself staring at a second screen while watching TV (ie, using your phone, surfing the web, etc), you probably don't really care about watching TV. I cut back my TV-watching tremendously when I realized it was really only worth watching things that I was genuinely interested in enough to put my phone away. That usually means about 1 show at a time, watched once a week as an "event" with my fiance.

And yes, over time, you'll lose context for what's happening in most shows, which is strangely freeing, if a bit socially isolating.
posted by writermcwriterson at 6:36 AM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

[Couple comments removed. Let's try to keep this to giving the asker the advice they're asking for; it's a pretty concrete request that doesn't require arguing with the premise.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:01 AM on June 8, 2016

Set up OpenDNS (or equivalent) and block streaming sites.
posted by michaelh at 9:04 AM on June 8, 2016

Go cold turkey. Just stop watching.
posted by AugustWest at 9:06 AM on June 8, 2016

"Wait until it is raining hard, then put your TV out in the rainstorm. After a couple of days of rain and sun, then take it to a charity. That is what I did to all my TV's and then my Mom's TV's when I inherited them. Yeah. I haven't watched TV since 2003."

Um, do this, but maybe skip the part where you deliberately break something before you give it to a charity? Just give them a working tv? Seriously, why would you break it first?
posted by joelhunt at 9:09 AM on June 8, 2016 [5 favorites]

I've kept TV in my life, but limited it to when I'm doing chores. This also helps motivate me to take care of chores. :)
posted by myaru at 9:57 AM on June 8, 2016

I've gone for pretty long stretches without TV. The first time, I just hadn't gotten around to buying one and realized I kind of liked it, so I just didn't. That's probably the easiest way if you're watching compulsively, or if anyone in your home uses the TV as background noise.

Another option, if you want one around for special occasions and have the space, is to keep one in a kind of inaccessible area. You know, not in the main living area, not right by the kitchen, and maybe even somewhere not super-comfortable. Somewhere you have to intentionally plan to sit down and watch something specific, where you're not tempted to just hang out there with the TV on.

One warning, though. You know how people complain about non-TV watchers always running around evangelizing and stuff? Those people exist, to be sure, but there are many, many more pro-TV evangelists out there than anti. If they find out, a lot of people will give you the third degree, argue with you, and sometimes, actually get mad. I have been accused of child abuse more than once because we didn't have a TV when my son was a kid. That, to me, is the most compelling reason not to even bring it up. Not because you'd be annoying, but because it gets people's hackles up for some reason.

For me, anyway, it was not that hard not to have a TV around, or to avoid it when it was avoidable. Once you fall out of the habit, you'll probably find that days are a lot longer than you'd thought. And as others have mentioned, you probably won't even miss the compelling and well written shows, and the trash TV is just unequivocal good riddance.
posted by ernielundquist at 9:59 AM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I watch tv or listen to podcasts while crafting, so I'm still "accomplishing" something. I find it hard to watch tv without something in my hands to do.
posted by freezer cake at 10:13 AM on June 8, 2016

Agreeing that the simplest thing to do is to get rid of or put away the television, and find an alternate activity to do in the time that you would normally spend watching TV. I inadvertently did this by moving to a new city and just not buying a TV, and it was pretty amazing how quickly I stopped missing it. In the end I decided that I prefer things this way, and even though I now live in a house that has several TVs I don't feel inclined to watch. My closest equivalent in terms of activities for when I want to just vegetate and relax is reading books, which I like better because they don't shout at me and try to sell me stuff, and also there's a lot more content out there along the lines of what I tend to enjoy.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 10:42 AM on June 8, 2016

Oh, something else you could do; stop watching TV shows but explore a film genre or top 100 films of all time. That way, you're doing something mindless but also working towards a goal.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 12:55 PM on June 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

Like Freezer Cake, I like to do things while listening to podcasts--crafting, cleaning, cooking (and things that don't start with C!). I'm entertained, but still feel like I'm accomplishing something. This works only because I have found podcasts I love (for me, these include Note to Self, Reply All, 99% Invisible, Criminal, The Black Tapes, Surprisingly Awesome, Freakonomics Radio and so many others!). So maybe spend some time "auditioning" things to listen to?

I don't have home internet, other than a little bit of data on my phone that I have to ration (I download my podcasts whenever I'm somewhere with a connection) and it's been terrific for cutting down on my mindless watching and surfing: no more hours lost to compulsively paging through my Tumblr feed! I have pretty disruptive ADD, and TV/internet make it much worse, so you may not need such a drastic step. For me, it's restored a lot of my hobbies, like painting, sewing, bike riding etc. My house is cleaner, and I'm eating better home cooked meals, often with friends I invite over. Internet-less-ness is not a total cure-all, and I still have my idle and distracted times, but it helps.

I watch TV when I visit my parents, and I'll nth the voices who say that once you are unaccustomed to watching shows, it starts to seem like a strange thing to do--okay for a novelty, but not something I want in my day-to-day life. So many glossy wealthy people being unpleasant to one another! I also need something to do while I "watch" tv--it's actually more like listening to tv and looking at my crochet or whatever.

Reading also fills my totally-inert entertainment needs--especially when I go to the library and get a pile of exciting paperbacks. Not staring at a glowing screen makes it easier to have a reasonable bedtime, too.
posted by Edna Million at 10:52 AM on June 9, 2016

explore a film genre or top 100 films of all time

Oh! Oh! This is a fantastic idea, if you mean giving up TV shows and not giving up the device itself. The majority of the time, I watch movies rather than TV shows, and it doesn't make me feel crummy the way it does when I watch TV. It's kind of a more intentional thing, where you select one thing and sit down to watch it, rather than just binging to have something on. And in general, it's just much higher quality than most TV shows, and feels much less like I'm just killing time.

And if you did want to do that, the streaming service Mubi is $5 a month, and has a very small, rapidly cycling selection of movies. Each movie stays up for 30 days, and they add a new one every day. So there are only 30 movies available at any given time. I've never subscribed, but it seems like it'd be a good option if you just wanted to eliminate TV shows, but still have a small selection of movies available to watch. Fandor might be another good choice, if you wanted a larger selection. I don't think they have TV series either.
posted by ernielundquist at 11:06 AM on June 9, 2016

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