Apparently under the age of 3 is the worst time to use the "babysitter". Aric Sigman recommends that parents completely avoid screen time for infants because it interferes with language acquisition and socialization. He says (and I totally agree) that children are self-entertaining and do not need to be externally occupied. A bug flying overhead, a shadow crossing the wall, the conversation of people walking by--these are all better entertainment.
I personally believe that television is the downfall of our culture. I believe that current "programming" causes people to be greedy and neurotic. It certainly does that to me, so I avoid it.
I have never owned a TV. I was lucky to be de-programmed by my early teen years in Europe, and have not been a television consumer since then. I find the violence disturbing, and the high-speed transitions unnerving. The only part of television that I enjoy is the advertising, largely because I dissect each ad to find the meta-messages. I want to know who will be persuaded and how.