I’m really beginning to feel old fashioned, or maybe just old, because I’ve found myself lately really missing the simplicity of television when only “The Big Three” networks existed, that being ABC, NBC, and CBS.
Did you know that there are over 100 streaming services now that you can subscribe to, which only keeps growing yearly? That’s in addition to the 70 to 100 over the air channels one can get by just having a digital antenna in many cities. And don’t forget about all those hundreds of cable and satellite channels one can get by subscribing to either. With all these options to watch television programming, did you know that there are over 500 original programs airing on a yearly basis?
Maybe that’s why a recent poll showed almost 50% of consumers are beginning to feel that there are too many choices with television programming and I’m definitely one of them. I have a show or two I watch on a bunch of different channels, which causes me to have to subscribe to multiple entertainment platforms to enjoy the type of programming I like. At the present time, I actually have satellite television and five different streaming channels, with Disney+ streaming emerging this Fall beckoning me for a sixth.
When I was born in 1972, my family didn’t have all these television options. Back then, all I had to choose from was The Big Three on the two TV’s we had in our home. I remember being so excited when Fox emerged in 1986, as my choices finally got to expand a little. Having always been an avid sci-fi, fantasy, and superhero type of guy, I never really felt overwhelmed with the choices that fell on those few primetime networks. Occasionally, I had to tape a show downstairs on the VCR while I watched another upstairs, but now, sometimes my DVR is actually recording five different programs at a time and that doesn’t even include what I’m watching on those streaming channels.
Ironically, as the number of television options increases, I’m finding myself becoming more and more disinterested in many of the things I normally would watch and have ultimately been dropping shows off my viewing habits as well. But, maybe that’s a good thing? It probably is, except for the fact that I still have to subscribe to so many things to watch the specific shows I like, which is becoming quite costly these days in the process. Sometimes I wish I could just select the shows I want to watch from some type of service which charges a specific amount depending on the number of shows one subscribes to.
Nevertheless, maybe my nostalgia for those days when choices were far more limited, when I watched three or four programs a week, rather than a dozen or more, is because that was back in a time when all of us engaged far more with each other, instead of being glued to a digital screen. Frankly, I’m glad I have such an active recovery from my former addictions, as it keeps me doing what I feel God brought me here to do, which is to interact with others, and show more connection and love to human beings and not to just my television screen.
So, as the world continues to struggle with a growing number of people every day feeling depressed, isolated, and alone, maybe our world doesn’t really need yet another television service? Maybe our TV’s need to be more off than on, and our eyes and ears more on than off to each other instead. As maybe then, the world will start feeling a lot less depressing, isolating, and alone to a lot more of us…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson