Why I Don’t Own a TV

When someone asks me if I saw the latest episode of House or a sports game or some reality show, and my response is always, “I don’t own a TV or watch it,” they always do a double take and exclaim, “What?!

Because frankly, not owning a TV or watching TV is not the norm. Yes, this makes me weird. Yes, I can’t partake in conversations about anything that’s going on in TV. BUT, I do have an awesome time doing what I love using that same time that could’ve gone to mindless channel flipping.

I’ve been asked, “Don’t you get bored?? What do you do?”

What do I not do, is the question! There are so many new things to try out, new classes, new activities, new friends to meet, new restaurants to eat at, new books to read, and the whole world just out there waiting for us to explore it that I could not imagine staying inside couped up day in day out addicted to TV. I just couldn’t do it. It’s not in me, it’s not my preference or lifestyle, and it’s not what gets me excited about life.

Nowadays, families have 5+ TVs in their home, 1 set for each family member, pets included. It has become absolutely ridiculous, unnecessary, bad for our health, relationships, and mind. I wrote an extensive post on how TV is such a time-waster entitled Want More Time? Stop Watching TV. Now. Check it out for some alarming statistics.

I’m a minimalist. I dislike an excess of things, especially if they are not useful and are unnecessary for my current needs. For me, this just so happens to include the TV.

3 Reasons Why I Don’t Own a TV:

1. TV makes us want things in which we don’t need.

It is a fact that just by watching a glamourous life being played out on TV makes us want glamour too. Replace that word for anything else, such as wealth, fame, power, beauty, thinness, intellect, etc. By seeing programs and commercials continually showcasing the perfect life, they will slowly affect our wants and desires, and not in a good and positive way. Kids seeing a commercial for a brand new toy now all of a sudden want that toy. What they have currently is no longer good enough. It makes us want something in which we don’t need.

2. I prefer to have a life versus watching others on TV have one for me.

When people come back from work, so often is the habit of turning on the TV right when they walk in the door, shoes and jacket still on. It has become a routine, a commonplace activity for everyone to gather around and “spend time together,” when in fact, they’re not developing their relationships by sitting next to each other while facing a television screen. Country folks in rural China have TVs in their simple homes, and almost the entire day the TV is on, with little to no conversation taking place amongst the family members and friends watching. If a person goes to visit his friend the next neighborhood over, they literally can pick up where they left off the soap opera they were watching before leaving the house. How does this help make the world a better place? How does this help us nurture our relationships?

3. Time is of the essence and I eliminate those activities which provide little to no value to me.

We are all time-strapped, racing against the clock, watching our lives slowly tick away. There’s so much to do as is, without having our precious time we do have available being given away to TV, which gives nothing back in return. We are left depleted of energy, lethargic, and brain dead instead. Watching TV was just one of those activities that provided nothing in return for me. So I stopped. Six years and counting, I can say I’m perfectly fine, and in fact prefer, living without one.

I don’t plan on getting a TV anytime soon, even if someone offered me one for free (which people have, thinking I didn’t have the money or resources to get myself one, when in fact, it was my choice to not own one).

And just to be clear, even though I don’t watch TV, this doesn’t give me free reign to go YouTube happy and watch hours of videos and clips online. That is the same thing, just through a different platform. I know what my limits are and make sure to be healthy in choosing how long to be online for, something in which I never bothered to exert self-control, especially during  my college years.

Hopefully you will be wise in making good choices for the benefit of you and your family. I fully believe that TV is an unnecessary item to have and to watch. It doesn’t bring us happiness or one step closer to realizing our dreams. What will? Only you can decide.


I’d love it if you’d kindly share this blog with others if you have found any of my writing helpful.

Also, come back next Thursday, July 1, for the launch of my first ebook The Ultimate Minimalist Style Guide! Did I mention it’s for free? Well, it is!

View Comments

  1. mrarr0gant says:

    I barely watch tv as well. I watch the latest Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece episodes on my laptop (come out one a week) and when I do watch tv it’s for sports (football and basketball) for the teams I like. I don’t know how people get in “Lost”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, and “Entourage”.

  2. Matt says:

    Great post.

    I would add that not all things on TV are useless (a lot of cool, educational documentaries have been made, as well as movies), however I agree that you can live perfectly well (and save a lot of time) if you do not have TV.

    If you really like to watch certain movies (or documentaries), you can always borrow or buy them on DVD,… or go to cinema. Of course having a TV is a lot cheaper and easier way of entertainment but it comes with a hidden price: endless TV commercials and channel surfing.

  3. mrarr0gant – Yes, I don’t know how others can get so caught up/involved in a TV series, but there are plenty of fans out there, that’s for sure!

    Matt- I agree that not all TV programs are useless, and in fact, I highly enjoy watching documentaries on multiple topics. It’s fascinating and educational. I just don’t watch it on TV since I don’t own one.

    Whatever I do watch then, would be through my Netbook or rented through the local library. Since I don’t own any DVDs after having sold my entire collection over a few months, I make sure I don’t get so caught up in watching DVDs that I forget to have a life. Because I know I could easily end up watching hours and hours of documentaries or movies!

  4. tokyin says:

    Yes, not only it’s wasting time, it’s also unhealthy. Below is another link/stat about how TV affects children.


    Too much violence and sex scenes on TV; inactivity for ___ hours in front of TV lead to Obesity; Commercials are not good either…

    Good point about self-control… self-control is very important when it comes to “entertainment”.

  5. says:

    I want to start off by saying that I LOVE your blog, I just stumbled upon it today and I've already read all of your entries! It's like a breath of fresh air, nearly every post has deeply resonated with me.

    I get increasingly irked by people who brag about not owning a TV, yet they still watch their favorite shows illegally online (not sure if you do this or not, I'm just using this entry of yours as a soapbox). It's killing the system; sitcoms, dramas, and even some documentaries are really expensive to produce, and I'd like to be able to watch them for free in the future. I guess I'd be ok with product placement in shows, but I wonder how much of that studios can get away with.
    I'd feel differently if people who didn't own a TV didn't watch any TV shows, but this rarely (never?) seems to be the case.
    That being said, if you watch the shows on the official website of the network, on Hulu, or if you purchase the episodes on iTunes or Amazon I suppose it's a different story.

    Anyway, sorry for that little tirade but it's something I feel strongly about. Keep up the good work, I look forward to reading your future entries.

  6. Hi Aisha, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read the entries! That's great to hear what I've written here has resonated within you.

    To answer your question about whether or not I watch my favorite shows online instead of on TV is: no, I don't. I don't have any favorite shows since it has been FOREVER and a day since I've watched TV and I include watching TV as also part of online media entertainment (most esp. YouTube). It may be a different platform but the message and the act is the same. Advertisements are put there to lure, entice, and encourage you to buy what is not needed. Along with that, the addiction and crave is the same with online watching as it is with TV watching. Just because it's on a laptop or desktop does not make it any less wasteful of time. If it's really something I want to watch, then I'll do it, but I've found myself not really ever needing to or wanting to. My time is busy enough as it is without watching shows or programs to fill it up with. I'm sure that's true for a lot of people out there too, but that they just can't stop watching television. You can, if you choose to take control of your life and your time.

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