Saturday, August 24, 2013

Unnecessary necessities

Sky TV Basic Channels
Every once in awhile we realise something that we take for granted isn’t important. For me, television became one of those things. It was unexpected, but, it turns out, a good thing.

The end of July, we had some flooring work done, and that meant we had to remove all the furniture from the lounge and dining room. That also meant our TV was out of commission. A job that we thought would take at most a week unexpectedly dragged on to more than two weeks. It took us a week more to put everything back, and we were without TV all that time.

At first, I really missed TV. I saw my NZ friends Tweeting about shows they were watching that I couldn’t, and I was surprised to find that I actually missed watching the news. But then a really funny thing happened: I didn’t miss TV any more.

By the time we got TV up and running again, my perspective had changed. Yes, I enjoy TV, and I don’t want to do without it, but it suddenly occurred to me we could dramatically cut back on our pay television, Sky TV.

Like a lot of people, we subscribe to channels we rarely watch—movies, sports, a couple premium channels. We also pay for a second decoder even though we don’t have another TV hooked up at the moment. Add all that up, and the extras accounted for nearly 2/3 of our entire bill.

Then I looked at the programmes we’ve recorded or booked to record, and I found out that 96% of them were either free-to-air channels or Sky Basic. The few exceptions included a programme from a premium channel that actually airs a few days later on free-to-air TV. But, more specifically, 58% of the programmes were free-to-air channels.

The obvious question is, with so much of what we watch being on free to air television, why not just go with the free-to-air Freeview? First, it’s not HD (the terrestrial system is, but we no longer have a UHF aerial, just satellite). The bigger reason is that many of the programmes we like and watch are on Sky Basic, so we clearly do watch many of those channels.

So, Sky Basic is the ticket for us for now. While we weren’t looking to save money (well, no more than anyone else is…) it’s kind of nice to know that we won’t be paying for channels that we seldom or never watch.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens next. Will we find we don’t need even that much TV? I’d say that I doubt it, but before this experience I’d never given our pay TV a second thought. Now I realise that “necessities” can turn out to be unnecessary.

1 comment:

Logan said...

When we moved here, we decided we would never pay for TV, as we didn't move to NZ to watch TV/live like we did in the US. And 7 years later, we still don't have Sky. I do sometimes wish we could get the programs shown on the Discovery and Disney channels, but the accountant in me refuses to pay for so few channels that come with a Sky package!