We have been TV-less for at least 10 years now and between you and me, I don't know how people find the time to watch so much not-so-riveting rubbish!!
The first question people always ask (and usually in incredulous tones) is; "What do you do all night then?" The flip answer I sometimes give alludes to my husbands prowess and although that may be the case - most evening we simply talk. We sit with a cuppa outside in the pergola and actually talk and discuss our day, dreams, hopes, kids, gardens, plans, whose fault it is for leaving the chicken coop door open and the subsequent ruin of a part of the garden - you know, all the things that make up a relationship!
We spend a lot of time on the evening meal quite often cause we sit with a cuppa at the table and try and talk which ever child is in residence to make another cuppa or dessert or even into doing the dishes!
If we are not talking - we read, a lot. I often have four or five books on the go at a time. Mainly non-fiction for me and my husband is working his way through the classics he has always meant to read on his brand new kindle. Because we read - all our kids end up reading. Thursday night is our night to bug the librarians at our local library and since we can get out 20 items at a time - we often do! Kids follow your example - if you read, they will read too!
Its great fun to be able to sit and spend time discovering stuff together!
Homework gets done in our house because we don't need to find out who is pregnant to who on 'Go Home or Away'. I can usually read what I want to read on the couch and still be available to answer questions, advise or encourage the reluctant homeworker on those nights when I'm not feeling so academic! If the homework has an art component - I usually get stuck in with the "presentation" aspects while they do the research and writing part - its a team effort!
We also sew, mend, fix bikes, do dishes, entertain, play the odd board game or do a jigsaw, bake, write real letters, email, blog, fold washing, play sports, pay bills, do my uni assignments, talk on the phone and generally all the things you want to get done but never have the time for!
And yes - we do watch movies. But not every night as people imagine. We have laptops (two), a desktop computer (one) and a short throw projector and screen to go all out with and have movie nights. We sometimes have the neighbours over for a pot luck dinner and movie in our backyard. That's way better than any night in front of the box!
I'm often asked how I keep up with the news then. I listen to the radio in the mornings and if I'm in the car - 97.3fm, just a standard mainstream station in Brisbane - and with news every 1/2 hour - you don't miss much. I like the Sunday paper as well and if I'm going to have time to read it, I grab one at the markets and spend an hour or so reading that in depth. If there is something happening that I want more information on, I usually go to the net for that sort of thing. We don't "watch" the news on the net although I believe you can.
What are the pit falls of not having a TV then? - Well, the main one for us is a bit embarrassing. When we visit people with one on, neither of us can take our eyes off it! We find them VERY compelling! Most people turn them off after 1/2 and hour of trying to get our attention.... Ooops!
Neither of us were big TV people in the first place and it simply happened rather than was a conscious decision that we made. Another big benefit is no ads in our lives. The kids dont bugg us for things cause they aren't exposed to it constantly, including junk food.
If you were thinking of getting rid of your TV - I would certainly encourage it! Start with a TV free evening - but go out, don't stay in and make it hard to give into the pleas to turn it on. Go for a picnic dinner/BBQ at a park, go for a family bike ride, go to the library or whatever appeals so that no one notices that they aren't watching TV. Maybe introduce a movie night where everyone gets to pick a movie on a rotating basis - again its a choice rather than blind absorption of whatever some TV exec wants you to be exposed to.
Make not having the TV on fun and you are 3/4 of the way there to eliminating it altogether!
Good luck! Let me know how you go!