College Connect: Can you really live without a TV set?

Posted By Crystal Beasley

By Kouichi Shirayangi

We all grew up with television as part of the background in our lives. So, when we get to college, a TV comes along with us. I did a research of ads, and most dorm residents get a TV that’s about 32 inches. In fact, that’s the recommended size for dorm room from experts at, and that size can be purchased for under $300.

In the dorm, cable hookup is part of the bargain, but apartment dwellers will have to pay for cable or satellite hook-up, which can run from $50 to $100 or more depending on channel choice, service and location. Of course, you’ll share that cost with other roommates, so it could end up being very reasonable. And of course, you’ll likely choose a larger TV set, since more will be watching at the same time.

As a graduate student, my wife is my roommate, so the cost is all ours.   We chose NOT to have a television. And that’s just not a financial decision, but we feel a television steals away time, and there are alternative sources for news and entertainment programming.

In my view, television has been a huge contributor to exposing people to a consumer culture. It is not just the regular dose of advertising after every seven or eight minutes of television programming that contributes to the consumer culture, it is the content in the shows that also contributes to it. Scenes in movies and TV shows are full of well placed sponsored content. From the clothes the stars wear on set, to the type of toys children in scenes play with, to the products that are in the news the underlying message of television is consume, consume, consume.

The internet is also full of advertising content but the difference is that you can control what ads you see and you can chose to download ad-blocking software that filters out ads. Sponsored content is all over the web but you have to find places that limit ad viewing. Many videos online allow you to skip the ads before them after five seconds.

So what are options? If you have a laptop or desktop, you can choose to use Netflix or Apple TV, Amazon Streaming or Hulu for programs. They also have news segments. Most are a much smaller monthly charge than cable.

You can also choose just to watch shows free on the internet, or on a mobile app. All major networks offer a lot of free programming on their own streaming sites, or make it available through YouTube.

Either way, you don’t have to be tethered to a TV, or cable, when you are a college student. There is a choice!


Kouichi Shirayangi is a master’s student at the University of Missouri.

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