A Year Without Cable, Week 13: Broadening Your Media Horizons
I’ve been on this cable-free journey for 13 weeks now, and I’ve talked a lot about how you can try to replicate the cable TV experience at a much lower cost. If you’re willing to hack together a system in the name of saving Benjamins, it’s totally doable. But freeing yourself from the mark-it-on-your-calendar prime time TV appointments can do more than let you set your own viewing schedule; it can actually open you up to experiencing other types of media.
That night when everyone else is watching the first run of whatever major TV show is on? That’s a great time to avoid social media by burying yourself in a good book. You have it pretty good if you’re a Kindle owner — Amazon offers the free Kindle Lending Library for Prime subscribers, as well as its new $9.99/month Kindle Unlimited service. And many libraries allow book borrowing through Amazon’s distribution system. You can always buy e-books or dead tree books, as well, but try the libraries first.
You could also pursue more interactive forms of entertainment, such as video games. If you’re willing to go back one generation to the tried-and-true Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, both consoles are extremely affordable and have amassed enormous libraries of inexpensive, high-quality titles. Even better, subscribing to Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus can net you some free games every month. As far as the next-gen goes, Nintendo’s Wii U offers a lot of value for your dollar; the console is the cheapest of the bunch and there are a lot of great first-party games sitting on store shelves, waiting to be plucked up.
And what about music? When’s the last time you made an effort to discover something new? Throw some Pandora on and find your next favorite band, or check out what your friends are listening to on Spotify. You could combine this with one of the above two activities (if you can listen to music and read at the same time; I cannot) and really push those TV shows to the back of your mind for a little.
I’m not one of those TV-is-the-devil folks; not even close. If that were the case, I’d be telling you to spend all of your TV time in a drum circle. But there are other experiences to be gained from losing the ability to channel surf. If you can’t mindlessly stare at the tube, you can at least steer that brainpower toward something more entertaining and insightful. And who knows; maybe you’ll learn something, too.
What do you think? Drop us a line below.
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