In the recent decades TV has ruled the living room with absolute power. The reign has been so forceful it has been deemed normal to keep the TV on even if we don’t watch it. The static background buzzing of a TV set is the de facto creator of the urban apartment ambience. We are comforted by the long-running family sitcoms in our hectic and laughless lives. We can’t turn it off because we might miss something. We are slaves.
However, even the most powerful reigns are always a regicide away from ending. And TV in its traditional sense is dying, at least in my house. Usually I avoid handing out death sentences but with TV I have to make an exception. The death growl in my living room is so loud it echoes around the whole apartment.
I too am/was a part of the slave caste of the TV era. I wrapped myself in the warm and fuzzy background noise when I was cooking, cleaning or even reading a book. I surfed the channels frantically in search of something worth my time, usually ending up watching some random program just for the sake of it.
Then came reality TV. The first season of BB, Survivor and other flagships were ok, but as the trend progressed I started to pull away. I used to relax watching mind-numbing soap operas and small game shows. Although I always felt a little shared sense of shame it was ok because all in all it was harmless fun. Then suddenly my TV was filled with all manner of “reality” filth the channels dared air in their desperate race for ratings. I was appalled.
I continued to follow the renaissance of TV series with some level of enthusiasm, but my relationship with the king of medias was changing. As soon as the one show that I wanted to watch ended, I had to turn off the TV. I wanted nothing to do with the reality garbage.
Then came Blu-ray and quality series in HD were liberated from under the yoke of TV, given that I had the patience to wait for the release of course. I usually could not wait and was so still forced to suffer regular TV.
Then came streaming. Then came the kingslayer.
Suddenly I was no longer bound by airing times, commercial breaks or reality show half-wits. I could watch anything, anytime and almost anywhere with any device I wanted. Why should I channel surf anymore when I can just decide what to watch and watch it instantly. When previously families gathered around the TV, the content is now following us anywhere we go. I have more “TV content” to consume than ever before, but because I don’t need traditional channels anymore for the first time in my life I can picture my living room TV-free.
TV no longer rules me. The reign has ended and the successor to the throne is me, the viewer.
P.S. As for the comforting background noise, I use this new thing called a radio. It’s really great, you should definitely check it out.