When it comes to the way I consume media content, I am a highly un-relatable weirdo. I’ve lived for two years without cable television, my TV doesn’t have a digital tuner for local channels and I don’t even own a DVD player. With this spartanly bleak media landscape, one would assume I’d be a much more productive human being—but that assumption would be wildly inaccurate.
Armed with nothing but my Netflix account and a second generation AppleTV, I spend the better part of my free time pursuing what I like to consider a continuing education in media and cinema studies. You say couch potato, I concede to over-educated TV and film nerd. I’ve seen every episode of King of the Hill—all 13 seasons worth—many of them more than once. I have a few go-to shows like that (Party Down, South Park, 30 Rock); I have to, for when I’m stuck between a rock and my bloated Netflix queue. It helps to pass the time between the new episodes of Downton Abbey I’ve subscribed to on iTunes.
Do not misunderstand me, I adore my AppleTV, and I love Netflix, but solutions like the AppleTV were never meant to be a full-scale replacement for home entertainment. The single most daunting thing about living without broadcast television is the task of making my own programming choices. I miss being told what to watch.
As exciting as the prospect of original programming from outlets like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon is, it will never be an adequate replacement for coming home to find oneself at the mercy of a Law & Order: SVU marathon. If there’s one thing to be learned from my experiment on the stark frontiers of home entertainment, it’s that this is not a prescription for everyone. Because no one should ever have to watch as much Battlestar Galactica as I have.