Then we increased our home internet speed from 2Mb per second to 18Mb (a change that has been attested to by the results of speedtest.net, though coming in more in the range 12Mb), and most significantly for the household: we ditched cable TV. Our history with television has been one of feast or famine. We used to regularly abstain from all television for a month each year (full disclosure: it was usually February--the shortest month). Then we gave up abstaining and signed up for two years worth of Direct Tv or some such provider that ushered innumerable channels into our living room. I guess now we're on a famine cycle during which the skinny television cows are gobbling up the fat ones.
Part of the reasoning was that the kids have been watching very little broadcast television since we signed up for Netflix a year ago. They rotate through episodes of Psych, Drake and Josh, Top Gear, and Dr. Who. It gets more difficult for the grown-ups. I hesitate to add up the amount of time I have spent the last year watching sports on TV. My visual investment in the Euro-Cup and summer Olympics alone probably could have accounted for writing another book. But we really enjoy such things. My good wife might be the only person on the planet who splits her television time equally between fashion/decorating shows and the sports channels. So, what to do...
Last night we had a mild case of the shakes from ESPN withdrawals so I found the rabbit ears antenna up in the attic and hooked it up to the TV in our bedroom. We stumbled on the beginning of Charlie Rose's interview with J.K. Rowling, and sat engrossed for about half an hour. You don't find that sort of intelligent, engaging conversation on cable. I said to my wife, "this confirms that we made the right choice." If Mitt Romney gets elected and diverts budgetary dollars from PBS so we can build more tanks, I shall be very put out! My wife then put in a dvd of the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, which can occupy you for hours with the gorgeous language used (my favorite line last night was Mr. Bennett saying to Mrs. Bennett, "Mrs. Bennett, I have not the pleasure of understanding you."). Again, you're not going to find that sort of thing in the various reality shows that dominate the cable networks. I was reminded of a talk a professor at my institution gave several years ago when he said that he had his television "fixed"--not in the repaired sense, but in the spayed or neutered sense so that its functions were limited. In his case only PBS could be received. Perhaps that is my future. Though I expect to have NBC on this afternoon to see the Notre Dame game.
Anyway, I'm anxious to see how this changes life. If anyone has suggestions for getting live sports via the internet... you probably shouldn't tell me about it.