Do we watch TV anymore?

One of my coworkers works remote from somewhere that’s, well, remote. A recent thunderstorm blew down his antenna and from three fuzzy stations he’s now down to one channel. And it’s not PBS.

He emailed us all at work and asked about satellite options and what kinds of things we watch on TV. Making a list I realized, I do not watch much TV.

When we were in grad school in Bloomington, IN, if you did not have cable you could only get the local college-hosted PBS station and frankly, between that and video tapes we were happy with it.

At my house these days we have something like 100 channels on cable (but none of the Movie channels like HBO — call me cheap) but I have noticed that we only watch a very few of those. Listing them out we watch (by network):

1.  ** FX
2.  ** TNT
3.  ** AMC
4.  ** BRAVO
5.  *  PBS
6.  *  CNN/Headline News (two channels but I think of them as one)
7.  *  HIST (History)
8.  one of the local news shows for 45 minutes in morning (CBS)
9.  A&E
10. DSC     (Discovery)
11. TWC     (Weather Channel)

** = watch these most – lots of movies.
* = watch more than some other channels.
No * = I watch occasionally.


I could live with just the ** and the * channels. If I could ONLY have the 12 channels on the list I would almost never notice since this is really a two-sigma list (better than 99%) of what we watch.

Interestingly, 12 channels fits in the classic TV band: channels 2-13.

Other than the local news, I never watch any of the classic networks (ABC, CBS, NBC). I’m right at the cusp of the Baby Boomer Generation (the young end, thank you!). The networks are dead.

I never watch ANY serial shows (“series”). Ok, I’m lying, I watch series that are on HBO when they come out on DVD. Series on the networks are double dead.

Of course, my wife and I have our Netflix habit running at a steady 4 movies a week. For scale, those movies make up fully 80% of the time we spend watching TV. We also tend to multi-thread when watching broadcast channels but single-thread when watching a DVD. Movies still Rock – but not at the theater.

When did this happen? When I was growing up we watched network TV and we went to the movies every other weekend.

I’m looking at the listing in the local TV Guide and I see that if we subscribed to everything, there are 851 channels available. 

Guess somebody’s watching.

2 Responses to “Do we watch TV anymore?”

  1. ken wood Says:

    I have exactly the same issues only on Dish Network.
    I don’t need 8 foreign language channels, 4 religous, 10 or more shopping, and x numbre idiotic sports rehash channels.
    As there are 150 or more channels only about 10 to 15 get used by me it is a waste.
    What’s more, I see if I click up to the higher channel numbers a couple of things happen: A) inundated with ‘buy’ me channels, B) the lower channels start to repeat. C) or the same stuff is on 2 or more channels (should count as 1/2 channel)
    And the programming absolutly SUCKS! Replaying TV show where all of the cast is DEAD, I mean in the ground dead!
    Thank the free market for Netflix.

  2. Bob Says:

    Hi!I would say there are some channels like Discovery/NGC/BBC which do have interesting shows which have nothing to do with saas bahu and tears..:-)
    One thing that I find DD laggin behind is packaging. People are now so used to good quality signals and nice packaging, that it is usally a pain to watch it in DD. For example, when DD and ESPN telecast a match, I prefer to watch it in ESPN, as the DD stuff is usally amatuerish, with the telecast being cut during the last ball for the advert and coming back only after the 1st ball of the next over..
    But CAS has made it difficult to view those channels in Chennai..:-(