I was out at my local Target store on Thursday for some holiday shopping and the like. I browsed the DVD section of the store, and came to a startling conclusion:
You no longer need to watch TV at all, ever.
Get rid of your cable, get rid of your satellite, forget the whole thing.
Everything you could ever want to watch on TV is now almost instantaneously available on DVD. At the most, you’re looking at a wait of one calendar year from a given show’s “season premiere” until you can catch the whole thing in its entirety, with no commercials, no delays between episodes, and all at whatever time you like. This realization led me to a question:
Is it actually more cost-effective to buy TV shows by the season on DVD, rather than paying for a cable package?
Figure your average individual watches 4 television shows religiously; that is to say, every week, you sit down and you tune in to see your favorite characters’ latest exploits. Let’s say two of them are an hour long, two are half an hour. That’s three hours of TV that you definitely watch every week, and you pay your cable company to provide programming for 168 hours a week.
Let’s say you pay your cable provider about 45 dollars a month for your average basic package, which would include your local network affiliates, and “basic” cable channels. At 45/month, you’re paying about 1.50 a day, which breaks down to just under 7 cents an hour. (Puts it in perspective for those of you who’ve worked in customer service, because I could tell you stories about some nutjobs calling up to get refunded for their cable being out for an hour-point-five. “Certainly, we can do that for you sir, I’ll credit your account the 12 cents.” That usually shuts ’em up.)
So at 7 cents an hour, and 165 hours a week that you DON’T watch TV, that’s 10.31 a week that you’re paying to have the TV turned off. During the summer, just about everything is in re-runs, so you don’t need to watch then, and so that’s basically 135 bucks down the shitter, and when all is said and done, 135 plus 10.31 a week for 40 weeks, this average person is pissing away 550 bucks a year on TV that’s not being watched.
Now, TV on DVD varies in cost, of course. An average season of a half-hour sitcom is probably going to run between 30 and 45 dollars, and you get 20-26 episodes. We’ll guesstimate on the high end, so at that rate you’re paying about 1.74 per episode, and at 24 minutes per episode, around 8 cents a minute.
The hour-long shows are generally gonna be more pricey, in the 50-80 range, and again at the high end, you’re looking at 3.08 per episode for 26, and 45 minutes per episode, you get about 7 cents a minute. So, on average, you can get the same TV you would’ve watched on cable, at 7.5 cents per minute, 3 hours a week for 40 weeks, and after you account for the commercials, you’re down to 138 minutes, and that’s 42 minutes you’re not getting back, so bottom line:
45 + 45 + 80 + 80 = 250.
You can see the same TV you would’ve watched DURING AN ENIRE CALENDAR YEAR for 250 bucks. Now, I know you’re going to have some questions, and I think I’ve already answered them:
“What about news? News doesn’t come out on DVDâ€¦”
You got the Internet? All the news you need is on the web. And if you don’t have high-speed, guess what? All that money you’re going to be saving on TV, you can afford it.
“What about the Packers???”
Go to a bar. Or go to the home of friend who’s dumb enough to pay for TV.
Worst-case scenario in both instances: bite the one-time bullet, put up an old-fashioned antenna on top of your house, pull local news and sports down from the air.
It’s over, man. Stop paying for the TV.