I Don't Have a TV! (2)


If you are a regular listener to my 5 Things feature on Wave 105, you will know that it’s an ongoing joke between Simon and I that I “don’t have a telly.” That’s not strictly true; I do have a TV. But when we moved house, the new flat had no aerial on the roof. The landlord said if it became a complete pain in the bum to have no aerial, to let him know and he would sort one out for us. Meanwhile, we tried an indoor aerial. The problem is that this is a very old building, with very… pain-in-the-bum walls. You can pretty much guarantee that any nail or hook you put into a wall, will stay there for approximately five minutes before falling onto the floor. So there was no point in even putting a hook on the wall for the aerial; instead it was carefully balanced on top of a book shelf… where it proceeded to stay for approximately five minutes, before falling onto the floor.

I had never watched a huge amount of live TV at the old house, preferring instead to use the catch-up service instead to watch anything I may have missed from the day before. We did used to have CBeebies on a lot of the time though, and I was worried about how S would react to the lack of CBeebies type entertainment.


As it turns out, I needn’t have worried. Our YouView box has BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD, Demand 5 and UKTV Play. There are also Sky Store and Talk Talk Player if we want to watch anything Pay Per View. Added to this, if you have a Now TV movie subscription you can get this through your YouView box (you can’t currently get the channel subscription through a YouView box). And as of fairly recently, you can also get your Netflix subscription through the YouView box. You’ll notice from the photo there’s also a “Milkshake” channel – this shows all of the children’s shows from Demand 5. I think it’s great that it’s split out like this; we can go into Milkshake to find something to watch, and I don’t have to worry S will point to something wholly inappropriate and demand to watch it because the picture that goes with it looks exciting!

We love this; especially Netflix, which we’ve never used so much! S has her own profile set up, and we watch endless episodes of such fantastic shows as Teletubbies and Team Umizoomi. Seriously, I love that. No, really, I do.

Okay, so the endless Teletubbies is not so fantastic for me – but it means S has endless choice. When we switch on the On Demand function, we can either go to the screen shown above, and then choose a show or film based on which channel or player it’s on – we do this if we want to watch a movie in Now TV, or a specific show on one of the regular TV channels or YouTube.

Quite often though, S isn’t entirely sure what she wants to watch. Or she keeps changing her mind. More often than not, we’ll head for this screen:


This screen lists all of the children’s shows available on the four main on demand services (iPlayer, ITV, 4OD and Demand 5). You can sort them by popularity, or by the latest shows. We tend to go by popularity, as that’s the default setting when you go into the screen. As you can see, a certain pig is very popular! Each one of those pictures is a different show, and I promise that as you scroll across there are other shows too. S loves to just go through these shows and watch different ones. Sometimes she becomes fixated on one particular show, and we have to watch “Peppa beach” over and over again. The great thing is that there are several seasons of Peppa on Milkshake, and they seem to be there permanently – so when you find a favourite episode, you really can watch it over and over again, indefinitely. Fantastic for the toddler; not so fantastic for you!

It’s worth noting here that all of this comes through our internet connection, since we don’t have an aerial. Those of you who follow me on social media (or on this blog, for that matter) will know how much I can be online some days. Usually when I am online, the TV is on in the background – and I have never known that to cause “buffering” or any of that nonsense on the TV.


Our TV, Phone & Broadband are from TalkTalk.


There’s something very liberating about being disconnected from live TV in this way; neither of us sees any TV ads (except if I watch something in ITV Player or 4OD). Also for me, when I sit down in the evening and look at what shows are available to watch from last night’s TV, I tend to think “oh, that looks reasonable… what? 45 minutes? I’m not wasting 45 minues on it!” and so I don’t watch much TV. Instead I watch movies, documentaries or TV box sets.


We actually don’t miss having access to live TV at all. If there’s something I want to keep up with – for example the current series of Broadchurch –  I can watch it On Demand the next day. As long as I stay away from social media between the show airing, and my next chance to sit down and watch it, I don’t lose out from having that delay – in fact, it means I’m not beholden to the TV listing times; I can watch what I want, when I want.

Vicky Charles

Vicky is a single mother, writer and card reader.


Helena Clarke · 20/02/2015 at 17:49

When we moved house at the end of 2013 we bought a TV for the first time ever (having always inherited TVs from friends and family who were upgrading). We got a smart TV (whatever that actually means!) and as such, like you, have never looked back from the joy of discovering netflix. Apart from the occasional foray to Channel 4 to watch Come Dine With Me, Dinner Dates or other fabulous reality TV shows we are addicted to, my children watch netflix, netflix and more netflix (not that they spend all their time watching TV you understand!). :-)

Catherine · 20/02/2015 at 19:30

We haven’t got a television at all but on the odd occasion that we want to watch something we watch YouTube or download a movie.


Louise · 20/02/2015 at 20:52

That sounds great. I hardly ever watch live TV these days (other than when CBeebies is on) and having no ads is always a good thing!

Amanda · 20/02/2015 at 21:34

We don’t have live TV either!! We found we were watching mostly catch up or series on DVD and could reduce our monthly outgoing massively by cancelling cable and the TV license (which you only need for live TV). We currently have Netflix and Amazon Prime plus Iplayer, 4od, Demand 5 and youtube and we love the freedom to choose! O has his on profile on Netflix and is also a mega fan on Team Umizoomi!! I love the fact he can watch several episodes in a row without adverts etc. We stream it through the Xbox downstairs or via the Tab computer or my laptop. Youtube also has some great channels for kids which are educational as well as fun (although O also loves those crazy egg opening videos that so many kids seem to love!)

In the evenings I often go upstairs and watch a programme I want to watch while TJ watches a programme he wants downstairs. Other times we find series or files well both enjoy and watch them together. The freedom this gives us is far beyond that of a single TV in the living room!

Here’s to alternate viewing options :)

Popping over for #weekendbloghop

Mrs H · 20/02/2015 at 23:07

Reading this post has made me realise that I don’t actually watch that much live TV either. Little Miss H and I watch a lot of DVDs and Netflix. I love the fact there are many Disney films on Netflix. Although I was gutted this week when they removed “Cars”! Little Miss H and I love that film. We also watch CBeebies on IPlayer as there is more choice and I have just discovered episodes of the “Octonauts” on YouTube. Amazing! Hugs Mrs H xxxx #weekendbloghop

Ross · 14/09/2015 at 13:35

I am very surprised you can get all the iplayer and catch up channels through you Youview box without an aeriel because I have had to send mine back for this very reason.Maybe you are using an indoor aeial?
Talktalk have apologised for not making it clear to me that it needs an aerial for the iplayers to update themselves depending on the local area location.

    Vicky Charles · 23/09/2015 at 19:02

    Hi Ross, I wasn’t sure it would work and was happily just using a Chromecast to cast shows from my mobile, but then I plugged in the YouView box just to see what happened. We don’t use an aerial at all; it all comes through the internet.

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