When my husband and I decided to move, we looked around our current apartment and started to think about what would come with us, and what we would sell or give away. One of the first things we landed on was our television set. At 32 inches and seven years old, it has served us well, but we both felt like it was time to move on and enter the modern world of the flatscreen. The current set is bulky, very heavy and takes up a lot of space, but the living room in our new home is a little bit smaller than where we reside at the moment. Space-saving decisions have had to be made, so we chose to upgrade to a flat-screen which we’ll mount on the wall. The problem? Our move-in date is June 5, but we agreed that the best day for a stoop sale was on Memorial Day, May 25.
We ended up giving away the old TV set to an elderly neighbor whose equally elderly television had died; truly, we could not find anyone who wanted to buy our practically ancient device. In the meantime, we’re watching TV shows and movies online from a laptop, and it’s a different experience. Years ago, as a graduate student living just above the poverty line, I went without television at all and just watched DVDs on the set I bought with my college graduation money. It was kind of great not having ads and chatter being brought into my home, but instead I was in control. So, it’s surprising to me that I miss television at all, knowing firsthand how great life can be without it.
Even with the rise of sites like Hulu and YouTube, the percentage of people who prefer to use their computer as their television remains rather low; a recent study by Pangea and YPulse found that only 10% of teens opt to watch shows on their laptop rather than on a TV set. In some ways, I can see why. The form does change the way you view content, however so slightly. While watching a movie last night, it didn’t have the same larger-than-life feel that lingers on a big screen. I had to keep hitting the mousepad every 5 minutes when the screen went blank to energy-save mode, lulling me out of my couch potato state. And since the computer is something I typically use to do work, the impulse existed to catch up on email with the movie playing in an inset window. Sure, I check email in front of a regular TV, but the difference is that I don’t feel like it’s what I’m supposed to be doing, since that isn’t the purpose of a television. It’s different on a laptop. I had more distance from what I was watching, and couldn’t quite commit in the same way.
I suppose the real test would be to ban myself (and my husband) from watching anything at all on the computer, and spend two weeks with no movies or videos whatsoever. But, come on. Moving is stressful enough, right?