Good-bye, DVR

Our life changed about a month ago with one phone call.

That sounds dramatic, doesn’t it?  It was sort of a dramatic incident and, yet, not such a big deal at the same time.  It was a phone call my husband made to our television provider to cancel our service for both it and our home phone.  This decision was a long time coming.  And it’s now been more than a month.  We’ve survived — quite well, in fact.

Growing up I wasn’t a big television watcher.  In fact, I never had a T.V. set in my bedroom until I went to college.  I never wanted one.  I had other important things to do like homework, hours-long phone calls to my now husband and reading.  Who had time to watch much T.V.?

My love affair with DVRs began with Tivo way back when I was in grad school. While I don't miss our DVR now and it's been years since we've used Tivo, I do still miss its noises sometimes. Ba-doop, ba-doop!

In graduate school, my husband decided we needed a Tivo.  Nobody had one.  He’s a technophile.  He recently reminded me that when he told me about Tivo (one of the first DVRs) and how it would record shows I like so I didn’t have to remember when they were on, I told him that was silly.  I knew when my favorite shows were on.  How hard was it to remember “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “Party of Five?”  Then we got Tivo for Christmas.  It was the coolest thing ever.  I apologized to my husband for my hesitance.  I told him he was right and I was wrong.

And thus started my love affair with DVRs.  It had a good run.  It ran until recently.  I’ve never been a night person and often get sleepy during T.V. watching time in the evenings and found with the DVR, I could watch things at other times.  And I always had something to watch.  And I never had to watch commercials.  Our latest DVR recorded up to four shows at one time.  Four shows!  We’re a family of four.  Only three of us are allowed to watch television and one of those three has television time very restricted.

I was a bit hesitant to give up my DVR.  I just was.  I was used to it.  I didn’t think I’d ever live without one again because of its convenience.  I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this change.  Have I mentioned I struggle with change?  I had my habits set.  I also knew some shows that I’ve enjoyed I’d no longer be able to watch through our Internet television providers we planned to use like Hulu and Netflix through our Xbox One.  I told my husband that we ought to have a trial run for a week and use only the new method and see how we survived.  We never got around to doing that and just made the switch cold turkey.  I also worried about our daughter.  She doesn’t get to watch much television, but she does love Disney Junior and we weren’t going to be able to get as many Disney Junior shows now.

Interestingly a few things happened before we made this change that made the switch easier.  First, my daughter got tired of her usual Disney Junior shows.  She got bored that there were only reruns of most of them and wanted something new.  We let her delve into PBS Kids and she fell in love with Daniel Tiger.  Super Why was also a hit.  This made the transition for her much easier.  In fact, before we had gotten rid of the DVR, she often asked to watch shows on Netflix instead to watch something different.

The second thing that happened is I realized how much television I was watching.  It wasn’t a huge, crazy amount, but it was a lot for me.  I’d gotten in the habit from a couple of years of not feeling well and being stuck at home all the time.  I realized that some mornings I actually stayed up when I woke up early to go to the bathroom just for the chance to watch one of my shows in peace before anyone else was up.  And if my daughter got up before my show was off, I’d feel irritated for a couple of minutes instead of happy to see her.  That was NOT OK.  I was looking forward to not having shows sitting on the DVR that left me feeling pressured to watch them before the DVR filled up or got out of control with shows recorded for me.

The third that that happened is I looked at the financial component.  I looked at how much money we’d be saving every month.  By removing T.V. and home phone services, we cut our bill by 75 percent!  That’s a good chunk of change.  I’m a frugal gal.  I love saving money.  Thinking in those terms helped me feel much more on board with cutting our services.  When I thought about missing a certain show then I’d ask myself if it was more important to me to watch that show about random strangers or have extra money to put toward my family’s future and my children.  Hands down our family’s future and my kids won out.  It wasn’t even a debate.

And so we canceled our services.  We’ve done well with using the XBox One with Hulu Plus and Netflix to watch shows when we want to.  We haven’t abandoned all television watching around here.  My husband and I have found some new shows to watch together.  And I’ve felt more settled that I don’t have pressure to watch shows that have recorded for me.  I’ve been happy to break the habit of watching more television.  I start my mornings now with my devotion and prayer time (which I did before turning on the T.V. before) and then have my breakfast while reading through updates on my phone.  I move on from breakfast to being productive instead of watching a show.  I do things like unload the dishwasher, write blog posts, work on my to-do list, switch out laundry and send e-mails for work.  So when my children do wake up, I feel like I’ve gotten my day jump-started and am ready to get going.  It’s been a good change and one that’s working for all of us.

I have happily said good-bye to my DVR and am not looking back.  So long!

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