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Life Without Television?

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A Diary of Life Without TV

The Digital Revolution Passes Me By...

DAY 1. June 12th came and went after I had failed to join the Digital Revolution. I did not subscribe to Comcast (they had some screaming deals, too), DirecTV (the "Cadillac" -- or should I say, "Lexus," "Mercedes," or any other number of makes considered superior to Cadillac? -- of satellite television), or the Dish Network (the price champion of the satellite TV industry). I also failed to connect any converter boxes to any of my TV sets -- most of which are so old, converter boxes cannot be connected to them.

So, when I tuned in on Saturday, June 13th, indeed it was an unlucky day for me -- or was it? Every station's channel was comprised of either a static-sounded, white snow screen or a message informing imbeciles such as myself how we needed a converter box or digital subscription to get our beloved channels back.

I had to confess that months ago when I went "partially" blank --- losing Channels 7 (ABC's KMGH), 9 (NBC's KUSA), and 12 (PBS's KBDI --- the station which broadcasts my own show!) -- I suffered the side effects of partial television withdrawal.

The fact I could use Channels 2 (KWGN), 4 (CBS's KCNC), and 31 (FOX's KDVR) through June 12th made the transition easier for me. They served as my electronic methadone for my TV withdrawal recovery program. I missed the other channels, all of whose analog signals (the only ones I could receive) went off the air early.

Having just Channels 2, 4, and 31 available probably was inadequate for most television viewers but they provided the occasional (OK, daily) fix I needed to avoid suffering serious withdrawal pains.

Now they all were gone. What was I to do? Could anyone survive without television? How would I watch the news? How would I get the weather? Heck, we just had a tornado touchdown only 4,000 yards from my house a week ago (actually, it was my brother-in-law -- not TV -- who warned me about it). How would I watch Two And A Half Men or CSI or Jay Leno or Law & Order or Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader or other great programs (The Aaron Harber Show would not be an example) Gee, maybe I was watching too much television after all...

I was curious how long I could last. My daughter already had been using our Skybeam broadband connection to watch some programs via the Internet. I had viewed a few with her but when I was in front of my own computer, I usually was working. Watching television on a computer screen wasn't my idea of a great viewing experience.

The Internet did provide me with the latest, breaking news, and I also read seven newspapers a day so I wasn't starved for news. Because I never had cable or satellite, I couldn't claim to be missing Entourage, Real Time With Bill Maher, or Spongebob Squarepants (don't ask me which of the three is my favorite) but, thanks to occasional trips which included hotel stays, I was aware of the amazing smorgasbord of programming electronically blessed Americans have.

As the day progressed, my withdrawal pains increased. I couldn't go and check the weather or look for news. Even HSN on Channel 45 was gone. Would my daughter be mad at me? It was only 7:31 am and I felt lonely and abandoned by my electronic friends.

I started to look for the article I had cut out which included a number to call for help connecting converter boxes. Then I stopped myself and said, "Hey, buck up. You're strong. You can do this." It was only 7:31 am. Could I make it through the day despite the electronic shakes I was experiencing?

As the day went by, I was amazed at how many times I went to turn on the television to catch the news or watch a show while I did something else on a Saturday. Each time I caught myself and remembered there was nothing to watch. My withdrawal symptoms were escalating...

Aaron Harber hosts "The Aaron Harber Show" seen Tuesdays at 8:00 pm and Wednesdays at 5:00 pm on PBS Station KBDI-TV Channel 12 and viewable 24/7 at www.HarberTV.com. Send e-mail to Aaron@HarberTV.com. (C) Copyright 2009 by Aaron Harber and USA Talk Network, Inc. All rights reserved.