Saturday, 20 April 2013

What's on TV?

In our house? Not a lot.

We have a TV, a nice flat screen that sits in the corner of the living room. On the roof is a Sky dish, on the opposite side of the room to the TV is a coiled up Sky cable (which is the wrong sort for Sky+ and is too short to reach our TV). We live in an area that doesn't get a decent Freeview signal so Sky is really your only option.

When we moved in funds were tight, so we contacted the TV license people and said we wouldn't be watching TV at home. We figured we'd get settled in, I'd start my new job, then we'd look into getting TV. Where we were living before we had access to the complete Sky package and before that we'd paid £20-ish per month for Sky+ Entertainment and Documentaries package, so we had a lot of programmes we liked to watch.

But we decided that in the interests of saving money, we'd hold off for a little while because it wouldn't just be a TV license, it'd be the cost of getting a new Sky card (a relative offered us a spare box which would've saved us a bit of money), plus getting the cable changed and extended, plus the Sky subscription. Not to mention the fact that if we were getting Sky we'd want a phone line, at which point we'd want broadband. Each little thing would lead to another.

So we put it off until Christmas. We moved in the Summer, so we figured that six months down the line we'd get it. Instead we started watching some of the TV series we had on DVD; starting with Waking the Dead and then Spooks. We have something of a large DVD collection, so we've not been without viewing material.

One of our DVD bookcases
It seemed like the longer that we put it off, the less we felt like we needed to get the TV stuff. The major downside was that I never got to see the last episode of the first series of Game of Thrones (as it coincided with our move), as you can see above, I've taken steps to rectify this by getting the first series on blu-ray (it's next on our viewing schedule).

We are lucky in that we've got my in-laws who let us record Bones on their Sky+ and we catch some stuff on iPlayer there as well. It's funny to think that we've gone from getting in every evening and switching the TV on, watching any old random thing (so many repeated episodes of Crystal Maze and Top Gear as I remember rightly) and adding another programme to the viewing list each time a new series was shipped over from America, to just watching one series straight through at a time.

We've taken to watching two things on an evening; something on DVD/blu-ray in the living room while we eat our tea (at the moment it's All Creatures Great and Small, next up is Game of Thrones), then something else on my laptop in the bedroom before bed (currently the boxset of Scrubs that Mr Click got me for Christmas). It's a good set up.

The one downside is that sometimes there are things on that you really want to watch, but miss out on. We dutifully downloaded all the episodes of BBC's Dancing on the Edge onto iPlayer desktop (an old college friend of Mr Click's stars in it) so we could watch them in quick succession once they were all on; but when the time came to watch them it kept giving us an error message before any we tried to watch vanished. We were able to download them from iPlayer for Windows Media Player, which let us watch the first episode but then stopped the second twenty minutes from the end.

In the end we gave up. Mr Click's pre-ordered it on DVD, so we'll watch it then. And we'll have it for posterity. We'll squeeze it in between the first and second series of Scrubs if it's here on time.

As you can see above, we've got enough viewing material to keep us going for quite a while yet. I'm sure it's working out much cheaper to just keep buying TV series boxset than we would spend each month on whatever deal Sky could offer. I never thought I'd be able to go completely without a TV, but now I can see how many programmes I watched just for the sake of watching. I like our new set up and I'm very glad we're finally getting to watch so many of those DVDs we've acquired over the years.

I'm also curious to hear about other people's viewing habits. Are you TV-free too?


  1. I can make out the entire collection of The Sweeney, The Professionals (I had the same box set but ended up selling them) Bill Bailey, Sherlock Doctor Who and Survivors....all FANTASTIC. You and Mr Click have excellent taste ;) I'm currently working my way through all 3 series of the original Survivors from the mid 70s. Just about to start S3. Loved the remake too.

    1. We've actually been adding to the collection since that photo was taken (we've added The Good Life to the shelf now). ;-) You and John actually have very similar taste in TV, hehe.

      I'd love to watch all of the original Survivors, I watched odd episodes when it was on one of the UK Gold type channels years ago. I've got to get the second series of the remake too, I'm just annoyed they never made a third one to round everything off!

    2. I've really enjoyed watching the original. I'm just 4 eps away from finishing it now. S1 was great, most of S3 has been pretty good and the 1st half of S2 was fun. So it's been a very enjoyable experience that I'd heartily recommend. Though there's a few boxsets out there, so if you ever do invest you might want to get one with commentaries if you like listening to them as my set was without them :(

      It was really frustrating when the BBC axed the remake after just 2 series and on a cliffhanger too! Apparently it does really well around the world and on netflix , especially in the US too, so its weird they stopped it.

  2. PS Dancing On The Edge was brilliant.

    1. It was! Totally different to what I was expecting but I loved it. We've bought the soundtrack too.

      I've got to do a review post for it, but it keeps getting put off.

  3. I would love to be without the TV, my husband and daughter will watch any old thing that's on.

    I love my box sets, I got Game of Thrones 1 and 2 for my birthday. I can't wait to get started on them!

    1. Sometimes I think how nice it would be to just switch something on and have it on in the background as white noise without having to go to the effort of actually chosing a DVD, hehe. I wonder whether if we have kids we'll have to get proper TV so they don't feel like their missing out, it's probably harder to go without if you've got children.

      Enjoy Game of Thrones. We're watching ER right now but as soon as we get to the last series I'm ordering Game of Thrones Series 2. I can't wait for it either!

  4. I've not had cable for a while and honestly, I don't miss it at all. I watch through old tv series on DVD and have a netflix queue a mile long!!

    1. I feel like the longer we're without it, the less I miss it. In the past I thought of having Sky or Freeview as something of an essential, but I've kind of realised that it isn't. ;-)


Let me know what you think. :-)