My rhetorical question is a blatant attempt to get people interested in the thread. Some people might interpret it as a complaint about the prices we pay for this stuff, and if anybody wants to address that they're more than welcome. But in my case I'm directing the question to myself.
When I was a kid our connected home ent & comm consisted of a couple of rotary dial corded phones, a TV set that received two channels off the air, and AM/FM radio. We probably paid $15-20 a month for phone service and nothing for TV or radio.
Now in the year 2012, my total cost to be connected is about $300 a month, taxes in. That includes our bundled telephone/internet/cable TV with all the trimmings, two cell phones and an OnStar car phone.
That's a hefty chunk of change for someone in the middle middle class such as myself. And most of this is discretionary spending. I need the basic phone service, and that's about it. I am paying through the nose for stuff I don't really need. So why?
Well, in one sense I do need entertainment and communication to keep me from going crazy. In another sense, though, needs have been created for me and for us. We all managed to survive before there was an internet, before high def, big screen TV's, and movie channels with On Demand service and PVR's.
Am I thinking about cutting back on any of this? Not at the moment. If money got tight I would do it out of necessity. But for now I'm staying wired because I do like a lot of this stuff and I do think it enhances my life. Still, $300 a month is a lot of dough...