You can't beat a good night in front of the telly. Unless, of course, you subscribe to the basic package from OSN. Once you've surfed through the 14 channels of one man and his beard, a dozen or so variations of MTV and a movie channel that insists on advertising the same brand of coffee every couple of minutes, there isn't a great deal to watch.
We lived without TV for two blissfully peaceful years in the UAE. But on moving to a new villa a month or so ago, we were secretly quite excited to receive a set-top satellite receiver with the basic TV package included with our rent. The excitement was short-lived.
We may not have had a TV service for two years, but our lives were not bereft of audio-visual entertainment. We had countless DVDs - especially during the summer when colleagues and friends take turns swapping the latest box-set mini-series from the US and Europe.
We had shows offered by Apple's US iTunes Store, we had some BBC iPlayer success, and for news we took advantage of Al Jazeera's online live streaming.
Sport was always a bit of a problem, but we found the 2010 Fifa World Cup streamed live on the internet by a South American TV network. Then there was the live cricket provided online - with rudimentary advertising breaks - by an enterprising Indian company.
We watched The Turn of the Screw, a Benjamin Brittenopera streamed live from Glyndebourne in the UK, and a couple of live comedy shows and musical performances from New York, supplied - legally, I might add - in a similar manner.
All this legal and free internet-based TV is far superior to the basic package supplied by most cable and satellite broadcasters anywhere in the world.
There is a plethora of other online outfits illegally offering bespoke televisual services, menus of TV programmes and films from all over the world.
We would not advocate using any of these services as they are illegal. They use BitTorrent technology, which is old hat these days, but their online interfaces have become very sophisticated - so sophisticated that one wonders why OSN and the like are not doing something similar. One of the many reasons they are not is that internet pirates have made the Middle East one of the most dangerous markets for holders of broadcast rights.
This week, The National told the story of one pirate who stole OSN broadcasts and distributed them to thousands of viewers via the internet. OSN threatened to fine him nearly US$1 million (Dh3.6m) and the police threatened jail. The pirate agreed to settle.
Because of his actions and those of similar swashbucklers in the region, the Hollywood studios and others that own the rights to broadcast the shows we watch know that each time they sell a season of The Wire or The Tonight Show it will be pirated to millions of viewers all over the Middle East. So they opt for a flat fee from the biggest broadcaster and withdraw from the market. The idea of negotiating something more innovative, like online streaming or video on demand, is anathema.
The loser in this deal is the viewer, who is left with just a handful of good shows amid hundreds of channels of unwatchable garbage.
Netflix, Hulu and Amazon have made some headway in the US with their own bespoke services. But they are still a long way from providing the variety and quality that is available illegally.
Not for the first time, TV rights holders and broadcasters could learn a thing or two from the music industry.
Spotify, a subscription internet music service, has made just about all tunes ever recorded available to those prepared to pay a monthly fee. The company also offers a slightly less attractive free service with adverts.
I would certainly pay a monthly fee for a TV service that provided only programmes I wanted to watch, when I wanted to watch them. Neither would I mind a free service with adverts.
Advertisers would probably be quite keen for such as service, too, as an audience of fully engaged viewers would command premium rates.
But it is the pirates who always seem to be blazing a trail in media content delivery, not the media companies and advertisers.
Perhaps instead of threatening to fine and lock up its Emirati pirate, OSN should consider offering him a job.