A brief history of television

A brief history of television in the Vilhauer household.

November 2002. Move in. Basic cable. No digital box, nothing fancy. Just cable.

October 2005. Cable canceled. No reason other than a desire to spend less on things we don’t need.

June 2006. Television is moved to the basement. Our antenna no longer catches PBS. This causes a conflict with our recent promotion to Members of Public Broadcasting.

October 2007. With a newborn in tow and an added need for easy entertainment, digital cable is hooked up. The idea is hatched because we want public broadcasting, but attaching an antenna to our roof is not a cost-effective option.

November 2007. Television breaks. An HD television is purchased on Black Friday. Sports will never be the same.

March 2009. After just 16 months, we cut the cable again. Irony is discovered as we have rarely even watched public broadcasting in the time we’ve had cable – the reason we went down the path towards cable in the first place.

April 2009. An amplified antenna is purchased. Suddenly, we get three PBS channels. In HD. In other news, the universe has been restored.

It seems that whenever we go through some change in our television habits, it gets posted to Black Marks on Wood Pulp. As if you care.

But it’s always been a big part of our lives – both the having and the not having. It shouldn’t be, but it is. Probably because we manage to pack so much drama and gut wrenching decision making into such a tiny problem.

It’s true. The reasons we’ve gotten cable have been blurred by the reasons we got rid of cable. Every time. Without fail. We find ourselves bogged down by television.

Not that it wasn’t a great distraction, and not knocking anyone who likes the things I don’t, but it’s just that there’s so much and so little time and there’s no way you can catch up with everything.

Really, we wanted to watch PBS. That’s where it all started. And now, without cable, we have stumbled upon this enlightenment – without the glut of stuff we became reliant on for entertainment, and with new found technology that allows us to, you know, actually get more than four channels, we’ve narrowed our choices to only what we wanted in the first place.

And what an enlightenment it is! There’s this PBS sub-channel called Create that shows nothing but how-to programs. I mean, good programs. This Old House and Sara Moulton and other programs that used to be on Discovery and TLC and Food Network before those channels turned into Jon and Kate Plus Kitchen Showdown House Swap.

Sorry. Are you falling asleep?

My apologies. It’s just that we have PBS again, and because we aren’t distracted by other things, we’re realizing how awesome it is.

Oh. You’ve snoozed off. That’s okay – Nova’s on in a few minutes.

This was lovingly handwritten on April 7th, 2009