February 12, 2014

Misty Watson: Cutting the cord: Television isn’t the only option

Misty Watson

— After months of talking about it, we finally decided to cut the cord.

We agreed to cancel our satellite just after the Super Bowl.

We didn’t quite become those people who live completely without television, but I did sacrifice Food Network. (How am I going to become the healthy queen of Southern cuisine without it?)

Actually, I knew I could live without TV.

Growing up in rural Murray County, cable wasn’t even an option. We had five channels: ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and a very fuzzy version of Fox.

We’d hang our heads out the door yelling to dad as he turned the antenna trying to get a clear image of Bart Simpson: “Worse!” “Better” “You went too far! Go back.”

It wasn’t until I left for college that I could shake my head at what MTV had become. I had already missed the good years.

Besides, when you have a 2-year-old, it’s not like you have much time to sit still anyway. It was already an unnecessary expense, and I could no longer justify paying a monthly fee for a service I didn’t really use.

Outside of a few shows, Food Network was the only thing I ever watched anymore. Even TV Land was beginning to disappoint me. Where was “Green Acres”? “Petticoat Junction”? “The Beverly Hillbillies”? They were replaced with shows like “Roseanne,” “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “King of Queens.”

More and more networks have left their original format in favor of reality shows. I am beginning to think TLC stands for Toddlers Learning Corruption. Even the History Channel isn’t just 24-hours of World War II programs anymore.

I haven’t missed TV. At least not yet anyway.

But that’s mostly because I watch shows I like online now. We haven’t evolved far enough as a family to enjoy staring at each other instead of the TV yet.

We opted to buy a Roku, a device that allows us to watch shows, movies, exercise programs, cooking segments, listen to music and a lot of other things I haven’t explored yet. It connects our TV to the Internet.

We have Netflix and are testing Hulu Plus. With both, customers pay a small monthly fee to access archives of shows, movies and other clips.

We do not have a television antenna yet because we’re going to have to mount one to our roof in order to pick up the Chattanooga channels. But if we had one, we could watch live TV should we ever choose to. I know by the time football season rolls around again, having an antenna will be a must or I’ll come home one day and the cord will suddenly be intact again.

My hope is that my family will eventually wean ourselves off of TV, that we will opt for reading and spending time together in a way that doesn’t involve staring blankly at a screen.

Of course, if I could find a way to watch my all time favorite show, I would be a lot happier right now.

Anyone know where I can find episodes of “Jeopardy!”?  

Murray County native Misty Watson is a staff writer and photographer for The Daily Citizen. You can contact her at mistywatson@daltoncitizen.com, facebook.com/MistyWatsonDCN or on Twitter, @mistydwatson.