Watching Aussie TV – without a TV

Old televisionWe don’t have a TV. We had one in the UK, but heard rumours that not all UK TVs work over here, so we sold it in the UK when we moved here in 2002. We didn’t buy a new one here because our UK expat friends tell us that Aussie TV is – to put it politely – not worth watching. Also it’s nice not having a TV – gives you time for chatting and reading. And blogging, of course.

(It also gives you a great excuse when the Foxtel door-to-door mob come a-calling. “Why don’t you want to have Foxtel?” “We don’t have a TV”. “Oh…”)

Weirdos

Interestingly, when we tell people we don’t have a TV, their first reaction is, “Woah, weird!”, closely followed by, “No, good on you – you’re not missing much…”

When we go on trips, though, we love watching the TV in our motel/B&B room. It’s a real treat. We do mostly watch ABC and SBS though – everything else seems absolute tosh. (We did get strangely addicted to Channel 7’s Border Security on our last couple of trips, but it’s still tosh.)

Internet to the rescue

No doubt this is old news to those of you who actually watch TV, but while watching ABC on our last trip, I learned that you can download some ABC TV shows as video podcasts (vodcasts, if you will). Works great on Windows, Mac and Linux using your video player of choice – no proprietary closed Windows-only viewer crap like the unenlightened BBC have cobbled together in the UK. We watch the shows using Front Row on the Mac in the living room.

So we now have Aussie TV in the apartment – without actually having a TV. It’s great to have it on-demand too, so we can watch it when we like. The picture quality isn’t superb, but it’s good enough to be watchable. The quality of the content, though, is low – at least, judging by what we’ve watched so far. The Einstein Factor looks like it’d be at home on UK daytime TV. The New Inventors is a bit better. The Cook and the Chef has some interesting cookery nuggets, but it’s no Naked Chef. (I’ll wait until I’ve watched the other shows before passing a final judgement.)

Despite the questionable quality of the content, it’s good to have a bit of nicely-controllable Australian TV in our lives. We still won’t be rushing out to buy a TV set though.

4 Responses to “Watching Aussie TV – without a TV”

  1. Megami Says:

    And when we lived in the UK, we didn’t buy a TV, as most of it was crap, and just watched it on the weekends when we were staying in B&Bs … sound familiar? And yes, EVERYONE in the UK thought we were strange, and we were continually getting letters threatening to take us to court for not paying our TV licence.
    Works both ways.

  2. Matt Says:

    *lol* Fair point! Actually having just got back from a trip in the UK I reckon TV over there has got worse since we left in 2002. Lots more dumb reality TV shows. Top Gear has improved though :)

  3. AJ Says:

    “Border Security” should be renamed “Asians smuggling food” because that is what seems to occupy most of the show.
    When I lived in England the most interesting thing on TV was the lager commercials. Mind you, that was 20 years ago and we didn’t have cable. I think TV is fundamentally crap in most countries. (Although Italian TV does have an interesting proportion of gratuitous nudity).

  4. Matt Says:

    Fantastic! I’ve only watched Border Security a couple of times but both times they had Asian people smuggling food. :) That and some drunk bloke who has to be taken off the flight.

    Yes, TV is fundamentally bollocks. That’s what I like about the podcasts – I can watch the semi-decent stuff that I want, when I want!

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