Sunday, November 16, 2008

A quiet life without a TV tuner

I've been spending time without TV at home since this (2008) September. And I recommend you to do so too for living a quiet life.

I decided to stop watching TV regularly; no airwave, no satellite, no cable channel at all. Actually the condo building I live is cable-TV ready. But I decided to quit. I gave our LCD TV to my wife's Mom. We instead listen to the radio when we're at home and having a dinner or lunch and we want some news. Most of airwave TV programs are junk. And most of non-airwave (that is, paid) TV programs are also junk. And we know most of airwave radio programs are junk. But some of them, including news and classic music programs of our national broadcaster (in Japan), are fortunately not. I carry around a pocket radio when I travel in Japan to listen to the same night program called Radio Shin-ya-bin, a rather-quiet-and-calm program without ads.

We still want to see the DVD contents. We have a DVD player. So I decide to newly buy and install a new PC display instead. It accepts DVI, VGA, component and NTSC video, and even HDMI. It has 1920x1200 pixel resolution; an excessive spec for DVD or an old PC. It doesn't have a TV tuner, however. It doesn't have speakers either, but that is OK, because I installed a pair of speakers and an amplifier with AM/FM radio tuner installed. So no problem for enjoying audio.

The good thing about not watching TV while on a family meal is that we rather talk and make a lot of conversations. And we started to read a lot of books and talk about them. It's like living in the world of 1950s or 1960s, though we still use PCs.

We have also quit subscribing newspapers since this April. I decided so because even Nikkei Shimbun, let alone other papers, were carrying junk articles these days. The New York Times and The Economist have already allowed people to read their articles online freely, as other media companies follow. So I told my wife we didn't need a newspaper subscription at home anyway. She first complained, but eventually she also learned to enjoy reading something instead, or to spend the time for being exposed to mass media to something else.

We don't have any game machines such as Sony's PlayStation or Microsoft's Xbox. Our eyes can no longer follow or respond to artificial graphic pictures.

We mostly use PC to read letters and design presentations; we don't make active 3D graphics and we will not unless we need to visualize something for our works. And of course we see visual presentations on YouTube and elsewhere. The good news is, however, they are on-demand only. Unless you explicitly tell PCs to show them, you don't have to watch at those on-demand videos.