It's hard for me to limit my kids TV viewing when I could spend hours upon hours in front of it myself. Since I discoverd DVR it's even worse (or better if I'm going to be completely honest). I have a hard time falling asleep at night so I love that I can watch a show of my choosing in bed, instead of the normal junk on at midnight. When we moved to our new home in San Antonio, we were lucky in that AT&T was headquartered here and they were rolling out a new product/service called U-Verse. I love my U-Verse system. To be honest, I'm not sure I can completely explain it. It has something to do with having fiber up to our home. There's a big box in our closet (the gateway, more on that later) that controls our TV, internet, and telephone.
The things I love about U-Verse include the DVR (being able to record 4 shows at a time), having caller ID show up on our television, and the little extras we get. Also, I've done away with our HD subscription (I know, gasp!), but the regular picture is leaps and bounds better than we ever had with cable and I just didn't see the need for it. Supposedly the reason is the fiber that comes to our house and that it doesn't use coaxial cable (don't quote me on that part, I'm trying to remember the long, elaborate, technical explanation my husband and others have tried to impart on me). Several months ago, they also upgraded it to include whole house DVR so that I can record from anywhere in the house and also watch my recorded shows anywhere. Just like in the commercial, I can start watching something downstairs after the kids go to bed and if I get tired, I just stop it and pick up where I left off upstairs in my bedroom. Yes, there's another fault... I have a TV in my bedroom, but I grew up with one and now it's become sort of a nightlight for me. I leave it on all night at a really low volume level, and leave it on a recurring news station like Headline News. I like to tease my husband that I stay updated on my current events through osmosis. We have agreed not to let our kids have televisions in their bedrooms as a result. One more feature I love about my U-Verse is that it's associated with Yahoo. I can access my Flickr photo account through it; I leave it on the Flickr channel when we have company over so that we have scrolling family photos showing. There's also games to play right on my television and more.
After our road trip, we lost some of the shows that we had recorded (poor little DVR box can only hold so much) so I've been preparing for some TV marathon watching sessions. Today a semi-miracle happened in that both kids were napping at the same time and my husband was off work for the day. It's a cloudy/rainy day so we decide it was a good time to sit down and watch a couple of shows, but the box was responding really slowly or not at all to remote commands. Simple things, like show me what I have recorded, were taking forever to do. The little green light would flicker so we knew it wasn't the remote. Dadda monkey decides (well he already assumes) he's the master of all things electronic and computerized and he reset the system. An hour later, it's slowly coming back, but it's worse than before. I persuaded him to call AT&T and see if they could figure something out. Another hour later, and apparently the consensus is that we have an old gateway, they can't even access it from their side, and a technician will come by between 4 and 9. Kudos on the same day service, but I'm sad that I don't have my TV. I'll be fairly shocked if this post makes it onto my blog due to the associated internet problem. I'm also not holding my breath on the guy actually showing up and/or knowing what to do and doing it, but that's a whole different story and one that I'm sure most, if not all, of you are familiar with.
So now I'm off to clean up my closet so they can easily access our gateway. To all the TV naysayers, I would like to say that I know I've learned things from watching television. Not that I'm saying everyone should watch hours of television, but it's not been a huge detriment to my life. In addition, my daughter now calls her grandfather, YeYe, thanks to Ni Hao Kai-Lan. I still try to limit her TV viewing (she's only watched an hour today), but hey, she's picking up other languages while watching without any intervention on my part.