Are you a movie buff or a television addict?
To compete with the cinema, television has upped its game in the last few years.
With bigger budgets than ever for drama and a host of new formats, it seems like there’s never been a better time to snuggle up in front of the box.
But is television really that great or could watching it in excess cause more trouble than it’s worth, or even serious damage to your health?
Here’s everything you need to know about the advantages and disadvantages of television.
12 Television Advantages and Disadvantages
There’s no shortage of pros and cons of television! Here are 5 of the primary advantages of TV, followed by 7 key disadvantages of television that we’d all do well to bear in mind. Enjoy!
The Advantages of Television
1. Television Gives Us Drama & Epic Entertainment
Films are a great medium for telling stories. I mean, who doesn’t like sitting in a darkened room or a cinema being enthralled by a visual story for two or three hours?
However, two to three hours is a long time! Any more than that and you get bored or tired. Likewise, not everybody has a few spare hours to spend sitting on their butts staring at the screen!
By contrast, television gives us a whole new way of telling stories. It enables us to watch a story play out over ten or twenty hours; it can even return for multiple series. It’s the perfect medium for adapting books into an on-screen story.
In the process, television offers unparalleled entertainment. It keeps us engaged, enthralls us with dramatic tales, and bonds us to characters we get to know throughout the course of each series.
2. Television Brings Family and Friends Together
Television is a cultural, collective event that you can enjoy with loved ones. Unlike films, where you have to make the effort to go out and watch them at a cinema or order in a DVD or Blu Ray, television shows take place at a particular time each week.
Die-hard fans will sit down to watch each instalment. They might even discuss it together afterward and eagerly await next week’s episode!
In a world of binge-watching this can be a great relief. It means nobody gets ahead of someone else; everyone’s in the same boat and can speculate online and in-person about what happens next. It creates fun and excitement about the process.
3. Television is Cheaper to Make Than Films
Films are expensive to make and the only companies with the budgets to splash out on shows are Hollywood and the large streaming services like Netflix and Amazon. This means they control the purse strings and control what gets made and what doesn’t.
Television is a lot cheaper by comparison. This means the barrier to entry is lower and this means shows can be made on a lower budget by independent and smaller production companies.
In an age of extreme polarization, the rise of smaller independent companies gives rise to a diversity of voices and a chance for underrepresented communities to get their voices heard on television.
These companies can also be more willing to take a risk with edgy or innovative shows which is great for the viewer.
4. Education, Education, Education
One of the best advantages of the television is its ability to educate people.
As a permenant fixture in the home, a television is a hub that people see when they wake up in the morning and before they go to bed.
It’s the perfect medium to educate people.
From programs explaining the science behind the Coronavirus pandemic to history documentaries about the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, there are no end of things can you learn from watching documentaries. Documentaries are also generally cheap to make and production companies love them.
If you have small children then you can place them in front of the screen once a day to help them practice maths or improve their vocabulary. This is one of the biggest advantages of TVs for parents.
5. Cure for loneliness
Television can be a great cure for loneliness in this era of lockdowns and remote working. Whilst some of us are lucky to have country houses with sprawling estates where our entire family can seek refuge others of us are confined to poky flats with only ourselves for company.
Television can provide us all with something to watch and talk about with our friends and family over the telephone.
Our favorite presenters and movie stars have become our best friends, entertaining us all through this dark period.
The Disadvantages of Television
Heads up, you might also like this post about the disadvantages of technology!
1. Overstimulated Brains
One of the biggest disadvantages of television is that it can overstimulate your brain- especially before you go to bed. Watching TV is often a late-night activity as this is when all the good programs are on.
But watching before bed can lead to us feeling overwhelmed by all the information we have just taken in and not able to get to sleep.
In just the same way mobile phones can become addictive, watching TV can become addictive, particularly if a channel just shows back-to-back episodes of our favorite shows for hours at a time.
This can make it harder to switch off when we know we should be preparing for our bedtime routine.
2. Television Can Make Us Antisocial
Whilst television can be a great cure for loneliness when there’s no one around, it can also be incredibly anti-social at times when you could be with others.
It can feel tempting to stay in and watch our favorite show rather than going out and meeting our friends every once in a while. If a friend messages you then you should always prioritize meeting up rather than watching a show inside.
A bit like being on your smartphone, watching TV can suck you in and make you forget about the outside world. You end up spending oodles of time watching TV when you could be spending time connecting with loved ones.
3. Televisions Can be Expensive
Television can involve a lot of subscriptions. If you want more than just basic public broadcast TV then you’ll have to pay for cable or satellite TV.
And if you want on-demand streaming services like Netflix and Amazon then this will also cost you extra. Plus don’t forget about upgrading your internet so that your poor Wi-Fi can cope with streaming those extra Gigabits each day.
If you’re on a budget or hard up for some reason, then a subscription to a TV service might not be the best use of your money.
4. Shows can be Full of Violence and Graphic Images
TV shows nowadays are full of graphical violence.
While some people have become immune to it other people are seriously affected by seeing people fighting each other.
Shows like Game of Thrones are particularly graphic, and medical dramas can be just as bad. British shows with a cult following like Casualty, or ER in America, often depict patients having medical procedures or the consequences of violence with blood and gore.
These images can be unsuitable for younger audiences.
5. TV Can Make You Feel Inadequate
TV can make us feel as if we are a world divided into haves and have-nots.
Owning a television and being able to afford a streaming service puts us in the top bracket of privileged people in the world. But we can still feel resentful because we don’t have as much as the people we see on TV!
If we’ve just moved home we only have to turn on an interior design program or the Real Housewives series for us to realize our home is humble by comparison. If we feel we have a great job we might end up feeling jealous of other people on television who have better jobs than us and who are better paid.
6. Adverts Can Manipulate Us Into Spending Money
When was the last time you bought something you didn’t even need?
It can happen to us a lot if we watch too much television. Every ten to fifteen minutes we can be bombarded with adverts for products we’d never even thought about owning before.
Advertisements have become increasingly very clever at targeting consumers and selling them the exact product they think they need. The reality is in most cases we would all be better off saving this money for a rainy day.
7. TV Can Waste Our Time
Productivity has become a buzzword recently and technology is supposed to help us lead more efficient lives. Yet sitting through adverts on television and watching shows that don’t teach us anything can be a big drain on our time!
Think about it. If your regular program contains fifteen minutes of adverts and you watch just four programs a day then you have lost out on an hour of your time that you could have used to go to the gym or meeting up with a friend.
It might be best to turn off the TV and do something more productive with our days.
Remember the Advantages and Disadvantages of Television
Like everything in life, the advantages and disadvantages of television depend on you as a person and your lifestyle.
If you are someone who is prone to wasting time and isn’t very productive then perhaps you should cut back on television. Equally, if you are easily swayed to buy items that you don’t need that you see on adverts or different shows you might want to avoid them.
But TV also has the power to educate you about the world from the comfort of your living room and to entertain you during the lockdown period.
Want to read more articles like this? Check out my other posts in the wisdom section of the website.