Turning off the television… for good!

Two years ago my wife and I asked each other a question.  What would happen if we unplugged the TV?  Shall we try it for a week?  – Okay, sure!    It was mindless summer programming anyway, and we were out of the house most of the week, so we wouldn’t miss out on much.


Well, that week then turned into a month, and another, and then a year, and now two.   With the exception of the Royal wedding, and the annual Melbourne Cup race, our TV has been no more than a decoration piece, sitting in the corner of the lounge room.  We haven’t missed it at all.  tv

I should clarify that we do watch the occasional ABC and SBS television program – via catch-up TV on the iPad.  It allows us to watch it when we like – our lives aren’t scheduled by the stations – and by watching the non-commercial stations we have greatly reduced our exposure to advertisements, which is a pet-peeve for us.

Well the day has come.  The television got replaced yesterday, not with a new high-definition LCD… but with…  a wood stove heater.


The Bakers Oven wood stove by Nectre.  Firebox on top, oven down below, made proudly in Australia, and sitting pride of place in the corner of our living room, in the same spot where our television once sat.   It’s a smallish unit, but should be ample for our modestly sized ex-govie house.   With the improvements we’ve made to the thermal properties of the place over the last few years I expect she’ll do well without being too demanding on fuel.

frontlookingdown ovenbox

It’s part of my plan to get more off-grid, and self sufficient.  I love the concept of building a stockpile of wood over the year in preparation for winter, and hope to be able to collect at least most of the fuel it requires from storm felled trees and branches about the place.


So without even a moment of sorrow, the TV was moved into the garage, and will go to my mother shortly, for a second go at life.  I dare say the sight of flames dancing in the firebox will make for much more entertaining viewing.


7 thoughts on “Turning off the television… for good!

  1. livingsimplyfree

    That’s a huge improvement in appearance over a TV. I haven’t had a TV for nearly two years as well, but a TV is something that was never a big thing in my life. I started my adult life without a TV, then was given a free one, when that died we lived without for a few years then to the urging of my children bought another one. This time it’s for good. The children are gone and I find the quality of the programming to be less than appealing.

    1. suburbandigs Post author

      Thanks Lois – I think there are just so many better applications of my time. I do wonder about the kids though – It might be something we’d have to reconsider when they’re growing up. This thought might be over-exaggerated – but in this day and age (or in our case another 10 years), could depriving kids of TV cause them to become social misfits because they can’t chat about the latest popular show? – I’m not sure, probably! At that stage, a policy around moderation and the TV being a “family activity” might be a better way forward. Does anyone have any opinion on that?

      1. livingsimplyfree

        That was a big part of why we got a TV, my boys would come home from school (before we began home schooling) and complain to me that they didn’t know what to say when the kids from school would talk about what they watched. Unfortunately for my boys, I still didn’t allow them to watch many of the programs their peers were watching.

        I do think we are seeing some changes. I have run into families at the library who don’t watch TV and use Netflix or borrowed DVDs instead, so it may not be as strange for your children when they are of age to enter school. I don’t envy you having to make these decisions today, the world sure is a different place from even 20 years ago when I had to make the choices of what to allow.

  2. David

    Good for you. I must say that is an interesting little stove plus oven, but what interests me is, did putting in a wood burning stove affect your house insurance? And did you have to get the chimney, distance from the wall, etc ‘certified’ to meet insurance requirements? My TV broke down 12 years ago and hasn’t been replaced but when I go to other people’s houses and a TV is on I find it addictive and can’t keep my eyes off it.

    1. suburbandigs Post author

      Hi David, Before installing I called the insurance agency twice to confirm – there was no impact to insurance as long as it was council approved/certified. So yes, we paid for a builder to install it according to the regulations, and it will be inspected by a certifier within a few weeks. Seems like a bit of a fuss, but I suppose there is the possibility for something to go wrong. Interesting observation about the TV when you go over to friends places – I’ve had a similar experience twice now when I’ve stayed in a hotel for work – I’d find myself binging on TV, only to regret later the complete waste of my life hours. It might actually be addictive!

  3. ethicalliving2013

    We have talked about this too many times but because we don’t watch much TV except the occasional SBS or ABC show or a DVD (and we prefer to watch it on the TV and not the computer), its not really a problem for us. The teenagers have their own TV in the sittingroom upstairs and needless to say they could watch it all day long if they were allowed, as would the four year old. We limit TV to days with rainy weather, evenings and always after school work is done for the big ones. The four year old gets half an hr of ABC or a DVD in the morning (so I can get myself and baby ready) and same in the evening. With the kids I think it’s hard to ban TV, computers, games etc and it’s more about WHAT they watch/play. Some shows are great and they can learn so much from them. The teenagers also have a play station (which they saved up for as we didnt want to get one for them) and again I think it’s about limiting the time they are allowed to use it and what games they play. We would never ever allow any war games or other violent games. The biggest mistake we have made was letting the 15 year old buy a smartphone (again with his own money) as he is totally addicted to social media and the Internet and its harder to control the usage as its also his phone/music and so on. We have had endless discussions and arguments since he got the phone a few months ago and it’s clear that he suffers from extreme FOMO (fear of missing out). He was in tears when we limited his Facebook usage to half an hr in the evening. That’s after he’s spent all day with his friends at school already! It is definitely not an easy time to raise kids when it comes to these issues and everybody has to do whatever feels right for them but as I said I believe it’s about quality not quantity and that its possible to use TV and other electronics for good not evil 😄

  4. Margaret

    Hi, I just found your blog and think the wood stove is awesome, what a great idea to add a stove as well as having the cook top and in Canberra I am sure it will be well used.
    re. the strawberry post, you can use lines of sawdust to protest tender seedlings from slugs and snails, so maybe surround the strawberry plants bed with some , it has to be enough to stop them crossing….. trial width and depth to see what works, good luck.


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