Buried in the labyrinthine menu of our television is a nasty little feature called the warranty clock. It keeps track of when the TV was first turned on, and how many hours it’s been on since that date. Like the outstanding balance on your mortgage, it’s the kind of information one really doesn’t want to know, but for some stupid reason I thought I’d check it out anyway.
In the 3,086 days since we first turned on our TV, it has been on for a whopping 14,772 hours. That’s more than 600 days of television viewing, or an average of 4.79 hours each and every day. It made me slightly sick just thinking about it.
I don’t consider our family to be voracious TV viewers. The boys watch morning cartoons on the weekend, and B and I have a couple of shows we watch regularly, but I never pictured us as couch potatoes. However, even if I only account for one hour of television viewing per day, it still means that I spend more time watching TV than pretty much any other activity, including exercise and practicing.
There have been times I’ve been tempted to get rid of cable all together. Lately I’ve gotten used to watching shows on DVD or from downloads, and there’s no doubt that the ability to set your own schedule and avoid commercials makes for a more enjoyable experience. I loved the last two episodes of House, but I think it would have been much more compelling if the drama hadn’t been interrupted every 10 minutes with ads for Polydent.
If I can take any solace, it’s that our average viewing is far lower than the average in the U.S. According to The Economist, Americans watch an average of 8 hours and 11 minutes of TV every day. I’m not sure how that’s possible, but that’s what the survey said.
In any case, I’m hoping this little tidbit of information is the kick in the ass I need to begin shaping my viewing habits. With some self discipline, I’ll have more time to something really productive, like writing blog posts about…stuff.