Old broken TVI have a Sky+ HD box at home and there are a lot of series that my wife and I have recorded, ready to watch, at any one time. We tend to watch a block of 24 or Lost, for example, in one go.

Unfortunately the box seems to have died. I can’t even get it to power on even after many a phone call to Sky customer services.

This causes two problems for us, trying to remember what was waiting to be watched or recorded and the fact that until an engineer comes out to replace the box we cannot watch any TV at all…

At first this was a bit scary. Life without TV, even for a few days, is pretty much unheard of unless you are off on holiday or something.

Now don’t get me wrong it is not like we both spend all evening in front of the box but we usually put our feet up for at least an hour and watch something before we go to bed.

So how have we survived…

Workarounds

The TV doesn’t usually get turned on until after dinner anyway. We have got into the great habit of sitting at the dining table for every meal now. This gives us the opportunity to chat about our day at work, plan upcoming meals or discuss anything else that crops up instead of just eating in silence on the sofa in front of the box.

This has the added benefit of slowing down the meal, which allows you to enjoy the food more. Also the portion sizes have slowly shrunk as, when eating slowly, you tend to notice when you get full rather than just shovelling it in and feeling stuffed later, which unfortunately I can have a tendency to do without realising it.

That is one area we had already worked around but the main problem now is what to do later on in the evening. There are loads of things to do, and it is only for less than a week after all, read a book or magazine, surf the internet, catch up on editing photos.

So what did I actually do? I fired up the computer in the living room and started searching for the programs that I could remember that we had recorded but hadn’t watched yet.

Catching Up

I found some programmes on BBC iPlayer and some more on Sky Player, in fact Sky Player even allows you to watch some channels live which is pretty amazing and the quality is very good as well.

The problem comes with some of the programs that have been sat on the Sky box for a while. There are a couple of examples that I can think about.

I like the Gadget Show but only get around to watching it when there isn’t much else left on the planner and I know there were 2 episodes left to watch. One of them was about the gadget of the decade, which was on back in December I think, and I was looking forward to watching it. This is just plain lost. I’m not really that bothered otherwise I would have watched it sooner but it is still a bit frustrating.

The other program that I know we had a few episodes waiting to be watched is Supernatural. I love this series and have watched all the previous episodes religiously. I searched on Sky Player and was able to watch the latest episode but none of the missing episodes.

So what next? There are a couple of options, the episodes may be available on iTunes but at a cost. This seems unfair as I legally have a copy of them on my Sky box, I just can’t play them right now. The episodes cost £2.49 on iTunes and we missed 4 so that is basically £10 for something that I am only likely to watch once.

The other option is to download them over bittorrent. Not sure about the legality of this though but what other option is there? For now I suppose I’ll just have to miss those episodes and look out for re-runs of them.

Time To Re-evaluate

I started making a list of all the programs that we currently have set to record each week. The length of the list surprised me a bit. I didn’t realise how many series that I followed.

I think viewing methods have changed so dramatically recently. You can now choose what types of program you like and if you look hard enough you can always find enough to keep you watch nothing but what you like. This has the disadvantage that most of what you watch is similar. As an example I love sci-fi and action stuff so that makes up pretty much everything I watch. Here is a quick list of series that spring to mind:

  • 24
  • Lost
  • Sanctuary
  • Bones
  • Supernatural
  • Fringe
  • Heroes
  • House
  • Stargate (Any)

I also enjoy a good quiz show. As there is always something in my preferred genre already on the Sky box that gets watched first and I very rarely get a chance to watch something like QI even though it usually gives me a good laugh.

The other major change is films. I have a reasonable DVD collection and have started collected some decent Blu-Ray discs as well. These films seem to just get watched once nowadays. I used to watch my favourite films over and over again. As there is always something new to watch I struggle to keep up with the latest additions to my collection let alone go back and rewatch something.

Conclusion

I think this little break from our usual watching habits has made me step back and think about what I am actually getting out of what I am watching.

I love watching TV and films but I think I am going to take this opportunity to think a bit more about what I watch and hopefully find some time for a bit more variety and hopefully some more films. Time to get out some of those classics again… Lord of the Rings trilogy at the weekend maybe…

Image: Creative Commons License schmilblick

3 comments

Shirley

Bravo as usual look forward to the next instalment

Gary

Back-to-back Lord of the rings Trilogy – Count me in, especially the extended versions! Just need to get someone to change the discs!
Personally, I don’t watch TV that much any more. Soaps, forget ’em. Haven’t watched any of those for years. I do like watching sport when I can, namely Formula 1 (finally back on BBC with no ad breaks), Man Utd football matches (they’re the only ones I’m allowed to watch anyway!) and some Rugby Union occasionally.
Being in spain, we’re a bit limited as to what we can watch for a reasonable price – Sky is too expensive for us at the moment and not sure about the legalities either! The TV package we get has mostly English channels and also Fox from the US. We generally see quite a few programmes on this channel such as The Forgotten, Bones, Lie to Me, Family Guy (best cartoon ever if you ask me – love watching that on a Sunday when hungover!) and also How I met Your Mother on E4 I think.
I do have the news on sometimes to see what’s going on in the world although I can get all this off the internet.
So, Life Without TV, could I survive? Essentially, yes as there aren’t many programmes that I have to stay in for (Top Gear is an exception although can bittorrent this at a later date depending on legalities). Also, once we buy a house of our own here in Spain, I won’t have time to watch any TV anyway so might as well get used to Life Without TV.

    Pete O'Shea

    Hey Gary, good to hear from you again mate.

    I don’t watch much sport any more only really when England play rugby, even that is starting to lose importance as there hasn’t been a decent game in ages.

    Yeah I think Family Guy is great, still like the Simpsons and also a bit of Futurama occasionally as well though.

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