Have you ever asked yourself “could I live without cable?” Sometimes, the more you thought about it, the more you may be able realize that you hardly watch TV at all, and when you do…you don’t really pay much attention to it. Now, that doesn’t cover everyone as there are some channel jumpers that watch every single episode of a handful of various series. Those people never leave the house…a slave to TV. The others though, keep TV for background noise, only watch an episode here and there and save movies for dvds, blu-ray or are willing to look for streaming solutions. If TV is just a minimal means to entertainment for you, ditch the expensive options.
(alternative recommendations below)
Sure, you may only be spending $50/month for TV if you have the bottom package, but that’s $50 x 12 months (that’s $600 / year) x however many years you hold onto it. On top of that, what are you paying for? How many channels do you really watch? 5? 10? Compare it to how many channels you pay for. You are forced to pay for such channels. They don’t give you an option of ala cart (unless you live in Canada), so you only have to pay for the channels you watch. That means that the majority of what you pay for monthly, is something you don’t even have a use for. The rest of it is usually crazy (socially degrading) reality tv shows, court shows, Jerry Springer-like shows, and so forth. Nothing but garbage when you think about it.
Surprisingly it’s a lot easier to let go than some would think. It takes about a month for the shock of change to wear off, but when it does, you find yourself watching even less TV. The solution: OTA (“Over the air”) TV! Setting up a good antenna can get you DOZENS of free channels. People seem to forget that there is a world of TV stations out there that do not require a cable/satellite subscription to watch. These channels are *free* and include most if not all of your local stations (news, pbs, etc). You can find out what OTA HD channels are available in your area by visiting the FCC’s Reception Maps page (given, for some reason it doesn’t always truly list “all” of the, but it at least gives you a quick idea of a few).
Most of us here live in a metropolitan area, so it was a battle to find a good antenna to maximize the amount of channels received. Station broadcasts were coming from all directions, reflecting and bouncing off buildings. We tried one after another after another until finally the perfect one showed up. It didn’t just get 30 channels….not 40…but 72 channels over the air (OTA) for free.
This amplified antenna (Only $60+!!…on average) was easily installed on the back corner of a roof with the coax running into the attic where it plugged in and then fed our test house’s main coax feed. Now ALL of the TV’s in the house are getting every single OTA channel in town (and a few from out-of-town)…including the few channels that 99% of the antennas won’t receive for some reason here. Now THAT was impressive. We followed it up by installing one at a few more of our homes and received the same results. Astonishing!
Ignore the antenna specialty companies who give you the claim that you need to spend $300-500 on some major metal hardware to take up your roof with. They are obviously motivated by profit and the more they can sell you, the more they can take home for themselves.
Next, assuming you have an internet connection (which just about every household has now), get Netflix to take care of any other need you have for watching series, movies or simply having background noise when you are working on things. There is also Hulu Plus and Amazon’s Prime Instant Video option that is only $6.50/month. That last one is a popular one if you do a lot of shopping on Amazon as it comes with “Amazon Prime” (which is the $6.50/month) and gives you free 2-day shipping on most of your orders on Amazon (two birds with one stone).
There are many other apps that deliver the alternative content that you crave, including sports, trailers, anime, documentaries, comedy and much more. Local stations for sports and news…check. Netflix and other apps for series, movies, trailers and more…check. Thanks to streaming solutions, most commercials eliminated…check. Cost per month….$0 – $8 on average for each. You can even stream movies and TV series, ordered by the single episode/movie, paying only $1-3 for each on certain services like Amazon.
Most TV’s are smart TV’s so with a connection to Netflix and other apps. A lot of blu-ray players offer it as well. If you have neither of these, you can also pick up a small box that delivers streaming media and apps to any TV with an RCA or HDMI input. Some of these include the Roku (also comes with games like Angry Birds and a motion controller), Apple TV and Google TV branded devices. So as long as Netflix keeps their prices where they are (or Hulu if that’s your kick)…this is an amazing escape from cable.
SO there you have it! A SUPER affordable alternative to TV! You could have an average of 40-72+ free channels (of course that number changes depending where you live and what channels/stations are around you) plus access to a lifetime of movies and tv for a price that is a fraction of what cable costs (and no DVR needed). Plus if you get the Roku (or one of the mentioned alternatives), you will be just swimming in entertainment for dollars a month.
Now if you REALLY wanted to go crazy, you could take the money you save and buy yourself a super cool TV to watch all this great stuff on. For example, we reviewed VIZIO’s 80-Inch LED Smart TV….80 inches!!!!…with 3D, Wi-Fi and apps (ie….NETFLIX). That option is completely…optional, of course.
We give this antenna a very rare 10/10 score as it was the only one of the pool of antennas we tested that returned such great results.
On a side note, we have received reports that the Mohu Sky HDTV Antenna delivered comparable results as well. We have not tested this personally as we have already found a working model to suit the needs of everyone here. There is a lot of chatter about this guy but he is also more expensive. So the choice there is up to you. If you decide to put them to a head-to-head challenge, we would be happy to hear from you and possibly even include your results here if we can.
Are you a manufacturer or vendor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.