OPINION: Why I’ve given up watching traditional TV

If you want original story lines, then get online

Films, TV, music, on demand, Netflix, EU Commission, proposals, Ireland, member states, content

On demand TV apps on a iPad Mini | Image: Steve Parsons / PA Archive/PA Images

I'm by no means a pioneer in this regard but I no longer watch live TV. I genuinely can't remember the last time I sat down in front of the box because a particular show was scheduled. 

When I was younger, my mum used to buy the RTE guide at Christmas and I'd sit with a highlighter, marking all the must-see shows and movies. This year I looked through the bumper Christmas edition and it summed up perfectly why I'm no longer bothered with broadcast TV. 

In the days between December 24th and December 30th "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory", "Wizard of Oz" and "Stuart Little" were each broadcast at least two different stations. The prime time slots were given to yet another disaster in "Emmerdale", "Coronation Street" and "Eastenders".

In between movie repeats and soap specials were ads telling viewers that sales are on and the value is far better than what they received before Christmas. Oh joy. 

I can't remember the station, but one evening Oprah appeared on the TV screen along with an uber-emotional soundtrack. Oprah's address stated that she is in on the Weight Watchers thing and we should too - because she knows we can be better versions of ourselves by doing so. 

I may have developed a repetitive strain injury from my constant eye-rolling.

There's only one 'big TV' in my mom and dad's, so it was a case of watch TV with them or... well, I'm not too sure what. 

On December 28th my father became utterly fed up flicking through the channels in search of something to watch. He suggested he looks on Netflix for something "decent". Within minutes he had "Making a Murderer" up on the TV via his Chromecast. 

For those of you who have seen it, you'll know that it is more than "decent" viewing. For those of you, who have not seen it, get on it. To quote The Jam "That's Entertainment".

We stayed up far too late watching the first five episodes and did the same again the following night. All this content and not a single ad? Amazing. This is why I don't bother with TV the old-fashioned way. I don't need to sit through three minutes of people selling me supplements with owls, tea with chimps, or insurance with meerkats. All this content, not a single ad and for just a tenner a month?

Look at the calibre of content on offer from Netflix (there are, of course, other streaming services, but this is what I use). Aside from "Making a Murderer", shows such as "House of Cards", "Orange is the New Black" and "Breaking Bad" are all housed within the online streaming hub. 

These shows alone have given me more entertainment than anything I've watched on TV in recent years. 

I don't get a whole lot of time to sit in front of the TV and watch shows or movies. When I do get to, I don't want 15 minutes out of every hour spent on ads. I don't want story lines I've seen before with characters that have come back from the dead after their fourth divorce, or whatever is going on in soap-land. 

I'm not looking down on the soaps - I know many people who love them, but I just feel that we deserve an alternative that is compelling and entertaining.

I have found a way to get that online, legally and ad free.  

Jess's top five picks for Netflix in 2016:

1. Making a Murderer - Filmed over a 10-year period, Making a Murderer is an unprecedented real-life thriller about Steven Avery, a DNA exoneree who, while in the midst of exposing corruption in local law enforcement, finds himself the prime suspect in a grisly new crime.

The question is not if you've seen Making a Murderer yet (this will interest you if you have). It's how long did it take you to watch it? A week? That's insane. Three days?

2. Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends -  the original intrepid reporter gives viewers the chance to get brief glimpses into the worlds of individuals and groups that they would not normally come into contact with or experience up close.

As Theroux puts it: "The show is laughing at me, adrift in their world, as much as at them. I don't have to play up that stuff. I'm not a matinee idol disguised as a nerd."

3. Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) - The modern and updated Star Trek offers something for every audience and also removes the stigma usually attached to a Star Trek title - it offers some stunning special effects which is far beyond anything else in the category of Sci-Fi.

4. Sherlock (Season 1 and 2) - The story of Sherlock Holmes is an old one, but never has it been as present in this version, starring current Hollywood hot-boys Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness, The Imitation Game) and Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) as Holmes and Dr Watson, respectively, it's an extremely engaging take on the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle classic.

5. The Internet's Own Boy - Filmmaker Brian Knappenberger explores the life and work of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz's help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet.