Stop Watching Commercials On Television.

I no longer watch any television, if I can help it, in real time. LOST may be on at 8pm, but I rarely start watching it until about 8:20 or so. The reason? So I can skip every single commercial. I have my DVR remote programmed to skip 30 seconds ahead every time I hit a certain button, so I just skip right on over every commercial. It’s quite a thrilling feeling knowing that I am avoiding the brainwashing and consumerism that commercials try to get you with. Part of the reason so many feel like that don’t have or aren’t doing “enough” is because of mass media, as we are fed constant images of new cars, McMansions, perfect white teeth, perfectly toned bodies, the latest and greatest gadgets and shiny, happy people – most of which doesn’t exist like that in the real world. But the marketing people are very good at their jobs; they know exactly how to feed into our feelings of inadequacy and make us think that we are not good enough. Thankfully, someone invented the DVR and we can escape all that marketing nonsense. None of us needs to be told that are are not perfect; we already know that (I hope). But buying new stuff to try to make us like the happy people on TV isn’t going to make us perfect! And living where I live helps too, as no one cares here what car I drive, what clothes I wear, or where I do my shopping/eating. It’s kind of like the anti-commercial.

So, do you use your DVR to escape commericals? Or have you gone even further and gotten rid of your television? This is something I want to do, but I have to wait until my contract with horrible DirecTV ends before I can get rid of it. With all the places on the internet I can watch TV shows for free, plus our Netflix subscription and the fact that antenna TV works here, I am looking forward to that day of ditching satellite TV forever. But for now, I will continue to use my DVR to never watch another commercial again. I don’t need some high-paid marketing person to try to A. make me feel bad about myself and B. sell me some crap I am perfectly happy without.

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Comments (19)

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  1. Great topic! This goes much deeper than just saving that extra time. As you pointed out, not exposing ourselves to mainstream marketing can really save us some bucks. I tend not to put a lot of faith in anyone who claims to be totally immune to these influences!

  2. I like you commercial skipper button! I have removed TV entirely from my life, except during the Olympics when I watched some online.


  3. magellings says:

    You should try Windows Media Center dvr. Just get an hd tuner, put it in your computer and then get an extender (xbox 360 works). Then you have a free dvr with channel guide that works with over-the-air antenna. Records HD too. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

  4. SaveBuyLive says:

    I don’t have a DVR. But I do watch some TV over the internet. This doesn’t eliminate commercials but it definitely reduces them (down to about 30-60 seconds). I’ll also rent complete seasons of a TV show which effectively eliminates commercials.

    I don’t hate commercials. Some are actually quite entertaining. And most marketing messages don’t really resonate with me. But there are a useless time sink and thus worth getting rid of in whatever way works for you.

  5. Craig says:

    I do the exact same thing with basically all shows, especially Lost. I do something more with more value like reading, preparing lunch for tomorrow, or some type of work and just wait an extra 20-30 minutes before starting the show. Then I can watch it straight through, not get annoyed by commercials, and save time.

  6. I skip commercials too, and I find it definitely has a beneficial affect. I longer feel the need to run out and see the latest movie, or buy the latest item, because I just don’t hear about them. Of course, companies are aware of this and are building more branding into the shows themselves.

  7. Annie Jones says:

    I agree with SaveBuyLive, that commercials really don’t influence me much. I mute them, go into another room, or otherwise ignore them.

    We don’t have DVR, and we are considering giving up our cable when our contract is over. The only show we ever make a point of watching is Lost, and often we miss it and end up streaming it from the ABC website the next night anyway.

  8. kristen says:

    We sold our TV when we moved from Texas to California three years ago. I thought we would miss it – but between Netflix and Hulu we keep up with the shows we watch (all three of them) on our computer. The only benefit I can see to having a TV right now would be a bigger screen than our laptop!

    I don’t miss having a TV. I don’t miss the commercials and the overdone news “reporting” and the terrible reality TV that has taken over. I don’t miss being a slave to when a certain show comes on. We’re not big sports fans so we don’t miss watching games (we went to a friend’s party for the Superbowl).

    What I really don’t miss the most is the influence TV and commercials have on my kids. It’s really nice and lets them just be kids.

  9. We’ve been doing the same thing for 6 years now, since we got our first Tivo. People always ask me if I’ve seen such and such commercial. I usually give a blank look and then state matter of factly that I don’t watch commercials.

  10. david says:

    It is a nice feeling, isn’t it? I especially like when shows tell me how long their commercials are going to be. The show “Fringe” does that, and it makes my life even easier!

  11. Rebecca says:

    It’s a nice idea, but I think you get just as much brainwashing through the TV shows themselves as the marketing. That kind of influence is more dangerous if you don’t recognize it! I like TV, don’t get me wrong, but cutting out commercials isn’t going to cut out commercialism.

    Another thing to consider is the fact that if everyone follows your advice, the television industry will either fall apart or change significantly. Network TV is free (and cable TV is discounted) because it counts on you to watch ads. If it figures out that no one is doing this anymore, it won’t be free/discounted anymore.

  12. david says:

    Cutting out commercials does cut out commercialism. Not every show is branded, but every show has 2 minutes of commercials every 7 minutes. As for the TV industry going out of business, well, I dont believe that for a second. It’s not my job to keep them in business; it’s their job to figure out how to stay relevant with people switching to watching on the internet.

  13. Enrique S says:

    We skip right through the commercials, too. I can’t believe we ever lived without a DVR. I find that even when I watch live TV, I catch myself trying to fast-forward through the commercials! I guess the DVR spoiled me.

  14. Rebecca says:

    Don’t you think that the content of the shows themselves also contributes to feelings of inadequacy, due to images of shiny happy people? You rarely see “regular” people featured as major characters on TV series. You usually see skinny beautiful people with plenty of money. Television shows are influenced by our culture as much as anything, and our culture is pretty materialistic right now.

    I didn’t say it was your job to keep the TV industry in business. I’m saying that if all people stop watching ads, advertisers will stop sponsoring shows the way they do now. That means no money to produce the shows. Either TV will fall apart (which I doubt), or it will find a new model – one in which you pay more money for what you see. Think HBO or Showtime – they are outside the current ad model, and they are more expensive than cable or network.

    I do think that watching TV on the Internet is going to get bigger and bigger, and I’m glad. But it will have to feature either advertising (free TV) or subscriptions (not free TV). Just like broadcast.

  15. I haven’t had a TV for more than 10 years. I do have a dvd player and a digital projector. So I watch lots of movies that I get (free) from the library. Also, a lot of TV shows end up on disc, so I can watch those too – sans commercials. Since I don’t have a TV, I don’t really care if I’m watching a show after the last season has aired; it’s new to me whenever I watch it. But mostly I watch mindless movies for escapism when reading isn’t what I’m in the mood for. I don’t miss regular TV AT ALL.

    I agree with you that commercials are insidiously effective, and I’m glad they haven’t been part of my life in a long, long time. It always makes me laugh inside when TV viewers gripe about commercials, as if they’re forced to watch TV and the commercials along with it. Also, most people seem to believe that they are uniquely impervious to the effects of advertising. Like you, I know that marketing is extremely powerful, and that I probably would be no match for skillful and well funded advertising. Therefore, I just do my best to avoid advertising whenever possible.

  16. niki says:

    I recently downgraded from digital cable with DVR to basic cable (would’ve skipped it altogether but the co. threatened to make me pay more for internet).

    Now my son is learning to watch PBS kids. And we are going to videos more and more often. The only commercials you ever see on movies are other movie previews.


  17. GOLDEN BROWN says:

    I really do not like to watch tv just for this reason the BAD commercials, why
    is every other one selling sex i say stop watching tv all togather period

  18. nikki says:

    the 2 new commercials about the doritos r so STUPID like who would even like 2 c commercials lik that

  19. Drayton Sawyer says:

    All commercials and advertising are strictly prohibited in my house. Nothing is watched on tv, unless it had been dvr’d to skip the obnoxious advertisements. ADBLOCK PLUS is installed on every computer and smartphone. We have no tolerance for obnoxious advertisements. Maybe if everyone did these things, the ridiculous advertisers would get the hint.