GUEST POST: The Importance Of A Balanced TV ‘Diet’

Watching TV can feel like being on a diet of fast food sometimes - you seem to get through a lot of it, but end up forgetting what you actually took in. Similarly, as with anything, focusing on one kind of TV can mean that you end up getting jaded, and miss out on the wide variety of different shows and programming on offer. Having a balanced television diet of different programs is consequently important, not only for getting more out of your viewing, but also to allow making television into a procrastinating tool that you leave running without really paying attention to it.

In this way, mixing up your viewing habits can be a good way to gain access to a more interesting range of programs. While there’s a lot that can be said for routine, whether that means watching the same soaps, or football on a Sunday, you can find yourself focusing on only a few shows, and not finding the time to watch anything new. Given the flexibility of choice and the fact that you can watch programs whenever you want to, it’s surprising how easily you can become even more set into the habit of watching the same things.

It’s possible to change this by taking time to look at the schedule and catch-up service to find new programs that you wouldn’t normally watch. These don’t even have to clash with your normal programming, but can be represented by BBC documentaries about a news story that you’re interested in, or a new comedy show on a channel that you don’t usually watch. This doesn’t mean that you have to stick with something, but sampling and finding out more about it can be more refreshing than relying on tried and trusted programs every week, and not giving other things a chance.

Being more active with your TV viewing can also help you to avoid procrastinating and gorging on a diet of junk television. If you’re addicted to watching daytime TV, why not use that time to go online and catch up on dramas and specials that you’ve been meaning to get around to. Chances are that you’ll find something more useful than scanning through the same channels while you’re online, or just having the television running in the background while doing other things.

A good way of widening your TV viewing is to make the best use of online players and catch-up websites, where you can set reminders for particular program genres, and make up lists of favorites for shows that you want to view. Doing so can also mean that you can find out about programming seasons that you might normally miss, such as archived shows on channels like BBC Four or More Four. For example, during the summer BBC Four uploaded a collection of documentaries about the history of London for the Olympics. You can also search out programs that you might have missed due to being on a less-well known network, with Channel Five’s recent broadcast of the excellent drama Hatfields & McCoys being one that has passed under the radar. By mixing up what you normally watch, and trying new things, you can break up familiar habits and enjoy new programs.

Rob James is a father of four girls, who spent a couple of years as a stay at home dad.  Whilst on a low income he found you could watch CatchUpTV online for free.  Rob can be found blogging about the many aspects of family life.