Skip to content

TV – Give me those years back!

September 6, 2011

We’ve done over a year now without a TV license (well, almost – see below), and so far so good. But even still I wasn’t prepared for the latest bizzarre statistics on TV watching. TV shortens your life. Apparently. By 22 minutes for every hour you watch! The Independent reports:

Television watching is a sedentary activity which is known to be harmful to health and is distinct from getting too little exercise. But a new study suggests its damaging effects may even rank alongside those from smoking and obesity. The study includes bad news for advertisers: it found that if you get up during the commerical breaks and run around, you may be able to ameliorate television’s worst effects.

Researchers who studied television viewing habits in Australia calculated that people who watch for an average of six hours a day shorten their life expectancy by almost five years.

Now, I’ve long since given up taking statistics at face value. But there clearly is a link between TV and bad health of various sorts. And we’re watching more of it, too (although I guess being sat at a computer as I am now is just as sedentary). The only thing missing in these particular reports, so far as I’ve read, is the full time cost of TV. To watch an hour of TV may indeed shorten your life – that is, it has a high association with shorter lifespans. But even if it’s as much as 22 minutes per hour, that’s nothing compared to the 60 minutes you’ve already lost in the first place!

In total, watching an hour of TV could make our lives 82 minutes shorter! Now there’s an incentive to turn off the box.

It’s hard, though, I know. Just the other day I was almost hooked by cult TV series The Killing. I watched the first episode on iPlayer, and was suitably thrilled and entranced. But then I thought about the other 19 hours I’d need to finish it off. That’s 1140 minutes of my life. If the research is right, maybe 1558 minutes!

So all in all I’m glad we cancelled our licesne. I say cancelled, actually we briefly reinstated it for the royal wedding and Wimbledon (!) but it’s gone again now. Not that it was easy – the only reasons the TV licensing people seem to accept for not wanting a license anymore are moving or dying! Can’t they imagine that we might simply have had to much of it? Come to think of it, can’t we?

11 Comments leave one →
  1. September 6, 2011 5:45 am

    We haven’t had a tv in years and had a really bad time with the licensing authorities as they wrote some awful letters. In the end we got the MP involved. It is worth bearing in mind though that even having a tv means you should have a licence, even if you don’t use it, as it means you are still capable of receiving the signal.

  2. Mark permalink*
    September 6, 2011 9:36 am

    Thanks Joanna. We use the TV set to play DVDs, and it remains unconnected to an arial. Presumably that’s OK?

    • September 6, 2011 10:45 am

      I am not sure that technically it is Mark as it is still capable of receiving a signal – until they switch over to the digital and then I think you would be okay.

      • Mark permalink*
        September 6, 2011 11:04 am

        Well that’s interesting! I appreciate the difficulties of regulating the license system, but I’m not going to get rid of a set on which I’m able to watch DVDs. If the TV people want to come round each day and not watch TV with me each day, just to check, that’s OK. I will make thema cup of tea, too.

  3. September 6, 2011 10:05 am

    We haven’t had a TV since we came to Germany, ten years ago. We didn’t miss it. The German licence authority keeps sending letters asking us to confirm we haven’t got a TV, although I didn’t get one since I started sending their pre-printed envelope without any stamps.

  4. Sally Rhodes permalink
    September 7, 2011 8:32 pm

    I haven’t had a TV license for about 10 years now and the occasional glimpses I get of what’s on when I’m visiting a friend who has a TV confirms the fact that I really haven’t missed out on anything! In response to the debate about whether one can own a TV without a license – My parents had a bit of trouble with the licensing people who seem convinced that no one actually chooses not to watch TV – they pop round for surprise visits and seem determined to find them sneakily watching it! They’ve never been told that they shouldn’t own a TV if they don’t have a license though…(the aerial point is miles away from the TV though so it’s obvious they don’t use it)

  5. September 8, 2011 9:43 am

    We don’t have TV in our community and I can honestly say I’ve barely missed it. 9/11 was an exception (t’internet was fairly slow back then) – and I confess as few of us went round to someone else’s place to catch the Royal Wedding last April. But on the whole – happy without. (Keep that license cancelled, Mark, I say!)

  6. Tonksthecat permalink
    September 8, 2011 12:02 pm

    Mark and Joanna
    I have been asured by a nice tv licencing bod that owning a tv purely for dvd/video viewing is fine as long as you really don’t watch any. (we unplug teh arial and scramble the channels so as not to pick up signal accidently while the video is rewinding, but my husband thinks that’s a bit OTT.) Being *capable* of picking up a signal isn’t the issue, it’s actually watching and that includes live tv on the itnernet…. so Mark like you we just reinstated the licence for Wimbledon!

    • September 8, 2011 2:31 pm

      He was a nice tv bod indeed as that wasn’t the impression I got, although it was a while ago so hopefully they had their wrists slapped often enough to stop being so awful about people’s choice not to watch tv.

  7. Tonksthecat permalink
    September 9, 2011 11:08 am

    Yes Joanna, think I struck lucky that time. Had fair share of snotty letters, but the licence inspectors who’ve been round in person have been polite and pleasant – I was expecting ‘you are presumed guilty’ rough tough treatment

  8. Mark permalink*
    September 10, 2011 5:20 pm

    very informative, guys – thank you. I feel suitably emboldened!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: