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Ten Benefits I Enjoy Because I Don't Own A TV

Updated on February 3, 2017

I haven’t owned a television since September 2008. At the time, I was moving across the country and didn’t have room to take my TV with. After I gave this TV to a friend, I didn’t immediately think about replacing this TV once in my new home. Since I ended up living in a 200 square foot studio apartment in order to save money, I didn’t have significant space for a TV. In the years since, I’ve occasionally wondered if I should buy another TV, yet most of the time I am happy to do without. It isn’t like I don’t watch TV, however; I certainly watch it while visiting friends and family. And, on the rare occasion when I want to rent a movie, I watch this on my computer. Nonetheless, I find my TV-free existence satisfying overall. My goal with this article is not to convince any and all readers to give their TVs away and behave similarly; I merely want to highlight the benefits I’ve enjoyed from living without one.


The first advantage is I am inspired to read more. I’ve loved books since I was a small child, and this affinity is obvious because I have two full bookcases as well as books stacked on dressers and my office floor. Unless I am reading a thriller or a particularly cryptic, academic volume, I find reading relaxing. Consequently, reading before bed—instead of watching TV like many others do—helps me unwind and prepare for slumber. That is, of course, unless I’ve started reading a volume such as Erik Larson’s “The Devil in the White City” which was so engaging it was nearly impossible to set aside no matter how much I needed to sleep.

Another advantage is I don’t have a routine involving a TV. In other words, I don’t have my favorite shows to watch on Tuesday night or Saturday morning. Similarly, I don’t automatically have a TV to turn on if I can’t decide what else to do. Being without a TV inspires me to take walks, go to free university-sponsored events, knit, or play card games with my friends. I can also make a collage, write a letter, or paint a bulletin board.


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Without a TV I see limited sensational news footage about recent school shootings, natural disasters, and political scandals. I much prefer to discover this information on the Internet, or wait to hear about the events from friends and family. It’s remarkable how much I can find out from others without having to watch the news.

A fourth benefit of not owning a TV is I have learned how to best entertain myself instead of wanting to be amused and entertained by a TV show. I may seem too easily entertained by the standards of some, as I can easily be diverted by noticing quirky bumper stickers on cars or by meeting dogs and their owners at a local park. Also, I like to explore thrift stores in search of colorful shirts from the 1970s which I refuse to live without.

Bumper stickers like this one add variety to my TV-free life.
Bumper stickers like this one add variety to my TV-free life. | Source

As already mentioned, I once lived in a 200 square foot apartment. This apartment was so small it was difficult to add a small desk; needless to say, I cannot imagine figuring out where I would have put a TV. I lived in this apartment for almost fifteen months. Afterwards, I moved into a 315 square foot apartment where I possibly could have found room for a TV. Since I knew I could always visit my Grandma Glenna’s if I wanted to watch TV, I decided to do without one. My current apartment is large enough to comfortable include a TV; by now, however, I’m so used to being without one it’s difficult to imagine adding one to my current existence.

In a tiny space such as this one, it's hard to imagine where you would put a TV.
In a tiny space such as this one, it's hard to imagine where you would put a TV. | Source

This leads me to my next point: Since I watch TV less than many people, I thoroughly enjoy the TV I watch. Last February I watched many hours of the Sochi Winter Olympics, and this was such a treat partly because I rarely watch TV.

I’ve learned that my friends and family usually let me know what TV shows are currently popular. As a result, I am aware of “Downton Abbey” even though I’ve never watched it. I also know a surprising amount about “Dr. Who” based on what my friends and family members have told me. This is all to say I am not necessarily in the dark about what people are watching on TV even though I don’t own a TV.


Living without a TV means I don’t spend money on cable TV. I’ve taken this thriftiness to a new level by not even having a Netflix account so I can watch movies, documentaries, and TV shows on my computer.

Not owning a TV has turned out to be a worthwhile social experiment. In other words, I find it fascinating how people react once they learn I don’t have a TV. Certain individuals are aghast at the thought, whereas others are intrigued. Others, unfortunately, seem to believe I am a snob who doesn’t believe anyone should have a TV.

This is far from the case. In fact, not having a TV has helped me be more accepting of the lifestyle choices of others. By examining my reasons for not owning a TV, I better understand why others might find having a TV a necessity. One reason living without a TV is easier for me is because, aside from the Olympics, gymnastics, and figure skating events, I rarely watch sports on TV. The main exceptions to this is if I am visiting a friend who is watching sports or if I am attending a Super Bowl party.

It’s possible I’ll one day purchase another TV. I’m not opposed to this idea, and will make that decision once I’m faced with it. For now, however, I find my TV-free existence most satisfying.



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    • Julie K Henderson profile image

      Julie K Henderson 2 years ago

      Thank you. "The Devil In The White City" was excellent. I hear they may make it into a movie.

    • profile image

      Ryan W Flynn 2 years ago

      Great article! Missing Jeopardy is the worst thing about not having a TV. Most local libraries have lots of good movies to watch on your laptop when needed. How did you enjoy "The Devil in the White City?" I love that book Julie! Never give up on hiker TV!

    • Julie K Henderson profile image

      Julie K Henderson 2 years ago

      Thank you. I am pleased you enjoyed it.

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image

      Kathleen Odenthal 2 years ago from Bridgewater

      What a great hub!!!! I admire you for this!

    • Julie K Henderson profile image

      Julie K Henderson 2 years ago

      Thank you. I am glad you also know the benefits of not owning a TV.

    • FatBoyThin profile image

      Colin Garrow 2 years ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      I haven't owned a TV for a couple of years and don't really miss it, as I can easily find plenty to keep me occupied. However, I do watch a few things online, and as you say, this sort of practice is more benficial since I end up only watching those programmes I actually want to watch, so enjoy them a lot more. I'm sure I'll get around to buying another TV at some point, but I think it won't be for a few years yet - too many other things to do! Great Hub.

    • Julie K Henderson profile image

      Julie K Henderson 2 years ago

      susie10: Thank you for your generous comment and vote for awesome. I am glad my article was an eyeopener for you.

      srsddn: Thank you for commenting as well. My Grandma has a television which she watches some, but she also finds time to play cards, socialize, and put together puzzles. I'm glad I was able to give you a few ideas of things to do if you decide not to watch TV.

    • srsddn profile image

      srsddn 2 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

      It is quite interesting, Julie. As a senior citizen I need to watch TV to keep myself busy, but I realise that there are many items which are repeated, especially news and there is a tendency to sensationalize. I may not get rid of watching TV after reading this Hub but certainly you have given me an idea of reducing the watching time and spend more time in other activities. Thanks for sharing your ideas. Voted up and interesting!

    • susi10 profile image

      Susan W 2 years ago from The British Isles, Europe

      What an eyeopener! I really enjoyed reading this, Julie! Owning a TV is so distracting, because you become so attached to regular shows, and always have to dedicate your evening to watching the show rather than doing something more inspiring. Shared and voted awesome.

    • Julie K Henderson profile image

      Julie K Henderson 2 years ago

      Thank you for commenting. I believe you will be able to make most of your forthcoming circumstances.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      My wife tells me that we may not initially get cable when we move to California so I shall soon be similarly bereft and I shall make the most of it. I don't use the TV as much as I did a decade ago. Now and again I realize that I could do without it.