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A New Year's Video Resolution

Alan Breznick

All I wanted for Hanukah, and the new year, was a brand new TV set.

For the past few weeks, my little family did without a working boob tube as our two, nearly 20-year-old sets both went on the fritz within days of each other. Feeling a bit overwhelmed after having just moved to a new house in a new town (Toronto) in a new country (Canada), we debated whether to repair or replace the broken-down sets. But, I'm embarrassed to say, we never took any action as drain-pipe blockages, broken garage doors, and unexpected snowstorms stole our attention and exhausted our energies. Talk about screwed-up priorities, eh?

What did the Cable Guy's crew do without TV for most of December? Naturally, we read a bit more, although not as much as we might have thought. We watched a few DVDs on our laptops but, surprisingly, didn't view any more Internet video than before. We did listen a little more to the radio but didn't play any more CDs. In short, we generally consumed less media, electronic or otherwise, although I did find myself staring longingly at TV screens in airports and hotels during a recent business trip. And we prided ourselves on our ability to make great sacrifices, just like the hardy pioneers of old.

So what happened when we finally got around to buying a new set during Boxing Week sales last Saturday? Did we keep up our healthy, low-fat media diet? Nah. We went right back to football games, old movies, news broadcasts, hockey highlights, home-decorating shows, holiday extravaganzas, and the like, just as if we had never done without the box. We even spent a half-hour late one night just scrolling through all the digital cable channels that Rogers Communications Inc. (NYSE: RG; Toronto: RCI) delivers, mesmerized by such offerings as the six different time-shifted broadcasts of "Canadian Idol" that were available. Hoo ha!

Wish I could say that we learned some great lessons from this TV-free experiment. But we really didn't. Mainly, we're just happy to have the medium back in our lives, warts and all. Even if there's still not much good stuff to watch in today's 500-channel universe, it beats a blank screen any day, believe me. Happy viewing in 2008.

— Alan Breznick, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

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