Sometimes the world can be a scary place. Economies are failing, climates are changing, and pollution is waiting just around the corner to beat up your grandmother. It’s stressful and anxiety-inducing. How do we manage in modern society with the threat of aliens, communists, and axe-wielding clowns?
One glorious word: television.
If we didn’t have a way to unplug from the hustle and bustle and unending rat race our cultural overlords have enlisted us in, we’d drop dead of information overload. Nowadays, we have multiple screens to use as calming opioids to our frazzled psyches–video games, social media, movies, etc.
In the wildly realistic and perpetually frustrating open-world survival game, Project Zomboid, television is just as transformative as it is in our world and time today. It can relieve your stress, distract nearby zombies, and it can even teach you a thing or two about survival. Television, after all, has lots of educational content to digest. Documentaries are highly stimulating regardless of their topic.
You’re learning whether you’re watching cheetahs devour gazelles in the Serengeti or John Waits Gacy tell a police officer how he hid the bodies. And since Project Zomboid is nothing if not dedicated to realism, their television is just as educational–if not more so–than ours.
However, if you don’t know when to turn on the television, you’ll never get that sweet information your brain needs to survive in the zombie apocalypse. Turn on the TV at the wrong time, and you’ll either get nothing but static or a Snoop Dogg music video, which is about as helpful as nothing but static.
Here is a Project Zomboid TV Schedule guide for your viewing pleasure.
Key Info Up Front
If you don’t want to flip through all of my TV guide and want only the absolute minimum, look no further.
For the simplest TV schedule guide, turn your TV on at 12 pm, 6 am, 12 am, and 6 pm. You will see something. But that something will only last the first few days of your playthrough, so make sure you don’t miss any.
How to Watch TV In Project Zomboid
When faced with survival in 1993 Kentucky, there should be many things on your list of priorities. Food, shelter, water, clothing, etc. But when faced with survival in Project Zomboid, you should also have ‘watching television’ on that list of priorities.
To watch TV to the fullest in Project Zomboid, you’ll need three things.
Well, yeah. Duh. You can’t beam television right into your eyeballs; you’ll need to find a TV. Your best bet is to break into any house nearby. Some homes won’t have TVs, but about 90% do. Head into the living room, grab a cozy spot on the ground and prepare to be amazed.
This is a bit harder to obtain because once the power is shut off in Kentucky, there’s no turning it back on at scale. Electricity will be supplied to Kentucky for the first 10 days or so of your playthrough. At some point throughout day 10, however, you should notice that lights, TVs, and most alarms won’t work. This means you should put a high priority on watching television the first week of your survival, as once the power goes out, so do all the televisions.
The lucky thing is that just about every television in Project Zomboid will be found inside a house. Easy way to protect yourself while watching the latest gossip. However, TVs make noise. The sound must be on for you to gain any benefits from watching television, which means you risk attracting unwanted attention.
Before you settle down to watch any television, make sure the sound is turned down to the lowest setting, the curtains are all drawn, and the lights are out. Do everything you can to minimize attention from zombies before you start watching your soap operas.
Once you’re ready to watch TV, right-click on the television and select ‘Device Options.’ You’ll see this screen.
Device: Just the name of the television. This only matters when you’re dismantling televisions; this can help determine how many resources you’ll get from taking them apart.
Channel: The TV’s current channel. There are five TV channels in total.
- Triple-N – News and talk shows.
- WBLN News – More news and talk shows.
- Life and Living TV – The only channel you should care about.
- TURBO – You thought I was kidding about those soap operas?
- PawsTV – For all my people still addicted to Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.
Power: If the light is green, the TV has a power source and will turn on. If the light is red or off, the TV is not receiving power and won’t turn on.
Volume: The higher the bar, the louder the TV. Your goal should be to have the television on its lowest volume setting at all times. You should change it only if you’re trying to lure zombies into the house right before you rig the stove to fill the kitchen with gas and light an explosion.
Media: This section will be highlighted if you’re planning on watching a VHS tape in the TV. If the power is still on and you’re in possession of VHS tapes, you can pop them in and get even more XP.
Channel: This menu allows you to select which channel you’re watching. Again, it should pretty much always be on Life and Living TV.
Tune In: You don’t technically need to hit this button to tune into the TV. You can simply stand in the same room as the television while the show is playing. I’m reasonably certain this button is a remnant from an older version of the game they haven’t phased out yet.
Why You Should Watch TV In Project Zomboid
Watching television in Project Zomboid gives your character passive XP gains. Those gains add up to so many points you can easily gain several levels in multiple skills simply by watching TV shows during the first few days of the apocalypse. This is wildly helpful as the alternative is to go out and grind those skills, which will undoubtedly take more than a few days and force you into danger. Watching TV, gaining XP, and sitting in the safety of your base is the best feeling you can have in Project Zomboid.
The skills that you can level up by watching television in Project Zomboid are:
These skills can take serious investments of time, resources, and stamina to level up manually–not to mention you’ll have to risk dealing with zombies.
Watch TV now. Thank me later. Bask in the TV schedule guide.
When to Watch TV In Project Zomboid
6, 12, 6, and 12.
That’s easy to remember, isn’t it?
6 am, 12 pm, 6 pm, and 12 am. That’s the only time television will be broadcasting anything in Project Zomboid. That’s all the TV schedule guide you need.
Now, you might be wondering about a few more specifics. The game’s own wiki keeps it fairly broad, and in my experience, the shows being broadcast can change from time to time. However, the loose schedule put forth is:
- The Cooking Show starts at 6 am.
- The Woodcraft Show plays at both 12 pm and 12 am.
- Exposure Survival, a show that teaches all sorts of bushcraft and survival basics, starts at 6 pm.
These are the TV shows for the Life and Living TV channel, which is really the only one you should be watching. You can’t control what skill you’ll learn through Exposure Survival; it might be trapping or fishing, but all of them will come in handy.
There are two other channels that I eventually started listening to when I wanted to know more about the Project Zomboid universe. For example, what kind of infection is this? Are there other survivors around? What’s the military doing? What’s the government doing?
If you flip the TV over to either of the news channels–Triple-N or WBLN News–you’ll hear conversations with military generals, speculative scientists, and panicked news anchors about what the hell is going on out there. Once I discovered these channels, I tuned in far more often. It was at the cost of XP, but who needs to learn Cooking in the zombie apocalypse anyway?
By doing so, I learned there are several recurring characters players can follow throughout the first few days of the Knox Infection Event. You follow a field reporter, Richard, on WBLN news as he infiltrates the Infection zone and discovers that the military isn’t being as transparent as initially thought.
“THERE IS NO NEED TO PANIC.
THE KNOX EVENT IS CONTAINED.
IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN CONTAINED.”
What About The Radio?
TV channels don’t have all the information, you know. Enter the radio.
The radio, while helpful in getting some forewarning and detailed information, does not increase any of your skills passively. You can listen to the same news broadcasts on the radio to get all the juicy gossip about the Knox Event, but your character will be just as underdeveloped as they were before they turned the radio on.
The radio can lower your stress levels when you listen to music, give you specific information about incoming weather and helicopter events, and keep you up to date on the news. That’s about it. Radios can be portable, however, so you’re not tethered to the living room while listening to them.
What Happens When The Power Goes Out?
No, but seriously. When the power goes out, you have an entirely different Project Zomboid on your hands. Stoves, lights, microwaves, and TV will no longer work. You must realize that when the power goes out, it goes out for all of Kentucky, not just your TV. The news stations and TV studios are just as dark as the empty grocery store.
When the power goes out, there are no more passive XP gains, so do everything you can to catch the broadcasts those first few days. Once they’re gone, they ain’t coming back.
Question: What do I get for dismantling a television?
Answer: You will get at least one bit of electronic scrap from any TV you dismantle. Remember when I told you the different types of TVs only matter when you’re taking them apart? The older the TV, the fewer parts you’ll receive. The newer and bigger the TV, the more parts you’ll end up with. TV qualities go from antique televisions at the bottom of the list to premium televisions at the top.
Question: So. Soap operas, huh?
Answer: Yep, there are soap operas to keep you entertained during the zombie apocalypse, which means they can reduce your anxiety and stress. There are some weird TV channels in Kentucky, apparently. See, soap operas aren’t all bad. The TURBO channel has everything your sapless romantic heart could ever need. They have the Hollywood Insider, Sunset Drive, and Hargrave’s Paranormal Department. Can you believe Project Zomboid is this committed to realism?
Question: Did they really need to add a children’s television channel?
Answer: No. No, they absolutely didn’t. But they did. Because why not? The channel has garbage programming, but it will help reduce your anxiety in a pinch the same as soap operas. It’s also yet another way to encounter the happy-go-lucky Project Zomboid mascot, Spiffo.
Question: How far away can I still get gains from the television?
Answer: Televisions reach up to 15 tiles away. So when trying to lure in some zombies to a house, you’ll only attract the ones within 15 tiles. However, when it comes to your character getting passive XP gains, they must be in the same room as the TV. You don’t have to be facing the TV; you can sew the holes in your pants while you listen, but as long as you’re in the same room as the TV, you’ll get passive XP.
Question: Can I level up other skills while watching TV?
Answer: Hell yeah. Nothing says multitasking like leveling up multiple skills at once in Project Zomboid. I usually worked on Carpentry–dismantling stuff–while listening to the TV, but you can do all sorts of activities within earshot. Sew your clothes, fashion a wooden spear, or cook that bunny rabbit you caught this morning. I will say that I noticed reading and TV didn’t always work together, which is the ultimate disappointment.
Reading a book takes forever in Project Zomboid, and being able to get XP from a book and a show at once shouldn’t be a problem. All I can say is that sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t. TV shows are usually too short for you to get much reading in anyway, so focus on other skills to improve while watching TV.
If you’re just starting out in Project Zomboid and are entirely overwhelmed like I was, take a deep breath and understand that not all of the game should be played outside where the zombies are. Veterans and seasoned PZ players know the importance of TV during the first few days of survival, and you should too. By watching TV, I can get my Carpentry level up to 3 without picking up a hammer; I can gain multiple levels in Farming before I even find seeds to plant. This TV schedule guide is meant to give you everything you need to know.
Watching TV in Project Zomboid is a free, easy way to level up some of the most essential survival skills. Find a watch, set an alarm, and always ensure you’re watching TV at 6, 12, 6, and 12.
If you need some more pointers to survive in Project Zomboid, look no further. And why not check out reviews to some incredible indies while you’re at it?