Since it was requested
I am a lifelong tv addict. I don't remember not watching tv, and by the time I was a latch-key kid in third grade, I remember having huge fights with my parents over it -- that is, over my watching waaaaaaaaaaay too much.
My parents weren't actually TV junkies, and they did a lot of things right when it came to TV. There was only one, in the livingroom (until my brother's 16th birthday when they gave him one, which my mother said was one of her worst parenting mistakes). We watched as a family, and we watched specific shows or movies, or it was off. As a result I can't have a TV on without watching it -- which was really interesting when I went to houses that just had it on in the background. (It's also a sensory thing, and I have mild sensory issues inherited from my father. I just can't ignore it.)
So it was easy to zone out to when I was home alone, and helped me not FEEL alone, and I became completely, totally addicted. From ages 8-12 or so I could tell you what every single channel on basic cable was, and the afternoon schedule for most of them. How sad and frightening is that?
Except for during periods of depression, that was the most TV watching intense period of my life. When I was just a kid, growing into my full size body, learning who and how to be. And I watched TV like it was my full time job.
Fast forward several years...
I had been thinking of turning off TV for a while. My partner (who was raised in a TV saturated house also, where he did have one in his room) and I were moving halfway across the country for me to go to college, and we talked about not setting up cable in the new house. And then my mom bought us a DVR for our birthday, and it cost all of $10 more to get expanded cable on top of our broadband, so there went that idea. Those next few years convinced both of us that for our health and sanity, we couldn't "do TV" any more.
So when we moved back to Portland in Jan 2006, we set up the TV in one of the bedrooms, hooked up to the PS2 so we could play games (which we enjoy playing together) or DVDs. When Naked Baby was born in March 2007, we went back there a couple times, but who had desire or time to game, when we could be staring at the most beautiful creature on the planet? We still watched the occasional DVD on the laptop, but we did that in the livingroom, and only when Naked Baby was asleep. So the TV gathered dust.
When we moved again last Nov, we put the TV in the closet in the study, and we have plans to set it up in there to be used for the occasional video game, because we can't quite give up our fantasy that that part of our life isn't completely over -- but here we are, at the end of March, and it still hasn't been plugged in. We're on the $5 a month plan from Netflix, but most months we don't get our money's worth. I can't imagine ever again planning the livingroom layout based on where the TV will go, although I so clearly remember doing so, not all that long ago.
I feel very much like an alcoholic, surrounded by those who drink within reason, and those who drink through compulsion but are in denial. I remember TV fondly, and I do not doubt that it can be neutral to good for some people (even as it destroys others' lives), but I dare not partake, because I am and always will be an addict, and the farther away from it I get, the more I see it as a mostly pointless, poisonous, addictive substance that I really don't miss.
That said, I've always been in to semi-cult shows, things a little out of the mainstream, the good 2%. Star Trek, Buffy, Firefly, The Daily Show. I made friends based on knowing these shows -- and I don't regret it. They've been a positive influence on my life, in a lot of ways. I do wonder whether my child(ren) will miss that, but then I remember that there's so much more. There are always things we don't give our children because we gave them others instead. And that's OK. My child may not taste TV in his home because of my addiction, but he will grow up hearing books read aloud. He will know quiet, and still time. He will know play, and he will know how to play. He will never forget that his body loves to move. What happens when he gets older is beyond my sight, but TV is simply not a part of my parenting toolbox, and I like it that way.