Watching TV

In the past few weeks, I have seen numerous people citing that the average American watches something like 5 hours of TV a day. 5 hours seems really high and the 2013 Time Use Survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows that the average America really watches about 2.8 hours of TV. That is still a crazy number. Particularly now that summer has started and the kids are out of school, I am planning my TV time like I would plan a trip to the movies. Let me explain.

In the morning, there is no TV. Between walking the dog, going to the gym to coach or workout, eating breakfast and getting ready for work, I don’t have a minute of time to stare at the TV. Sure, my kids might have it on for an episode of My Little Pony or Phineas and Ferb, but I’m not watching it.

During the work day, I don’t watch TV because I’m working.

After work, I am either coaching again, going to cheer my kids on at a swim meet or helping prepare dinner, so no TV then. After we eat and get the kids ready for bed, with baths and stories, I might sit down on the couch at 8:30 at night. My bed time, to ensure that I can do the same routine the next day is 9, so that leaves me enough time for a 20ish minute show. If I want to watch something longer, I have to treat it like a trip to the movies. Make sure the kids are tucked in bed and be ready for a late night.

I was talking this fact over with my wife and she found an interesting fact which might contribute to our viewing extended TV watching as a movie. We do not watch live TV. We cut the cord (or would if Verizon didn’t make their bundle so weird that is financially stupid to just have internet). No broadcast TV, just Netflix, HBO Now and iTunes TV and movies. Because the content we want is on demand, we don’t have to schedule time to catch our show. With a DVR, we could time shift it, but our current setup is that without the warnings about the DVR getting full, or the guilt of seeing a massive list of shows to watch.
This is not to brag about how little TV I watch, or how busy my days are, just to comment on how much time can be “wasted”. Is there really 3 hours of television I want to watch every night of the week? Watching a show that you really like is different from just watching TV to watch.