When I bought my house, one of the first things that Ashley and I decided on was eliminating the cable bill. We figured that with an internet connection and Netflix, we’d have enough mindless entertainment. On top of that, have you ever looked at your cable bill? Take that $100+ bill and divide it by the number of channels that you regularly watch. Did you do it? Are you crying? I did… Tack onto that the fact that to get your 300+ channels that you PAY FOR MONTHLY, they charge you $8+ for a damn box to watch those 300+ channels THAT YOU ALREADY PAY FOR! It’s absolutely absurd…
But I digress…
So we had Netflix and we were saving $60+ per month and life was good – but one thing we missed was the local news. I had heard about HD antennas and how they were quite good – way better than the rabbit ears we had when I was a little kid, where you could get the Saturday morning cartoons, complete with fuzz and grainy image, IF you were able to get the rabbit ears in JUST the right spot…
The first thing I did was go to Antenna Web and entered my zip code and street address. This website will then give you a few pieces of critical information:
A map showing where the broadcast towers are located
A list showing the stations you can pick up, their direction (complete with degrees!), and how far away they are from your address
A color coded list showing you what broadcast frequencies the station broadcasts in
So what do these three pieces of information allow us to do? They allow us to purchase an antenna that will receive the proper frequencies (UHF vs VHF or both) and they allow us to know the general area that we need to point our antenna to pick up those stations.
With our house, all of the channels that we wanted (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX) were in the same general direction, with only a few degrees of direction difference between the two – this is PERFECT as it allows you to basically ‘set it and forget it’ with your antenna – no need to have a control to rotate your antenna to pick up certain channels.
So then I went and ordered the actual hardware that I’d need to pick up these channels – due to the distance (~50 miles) from the broadcast towers, I knew I needed a large(r) exterior rooftop antenna. If you’re close to the broadcast towers (in a city for instance), you can usually get away with a small indoor antenna – just slap it on top of your TV or near a window and you’re golden. For me, I’d be mounting it on my roof. So I needed the antenna itself, a mount, and enough coaxial cable to wire it to my TV.
Here’s what I wound up choosing:
Winegard HD7694P HD Antenna – this antenna will pick up both UHF and VHF, so all your stations are covered!
Total cost: ~$90.00!
For less than the cost of one month’s cable bill, I had permanent HD channels of ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX – all the live news we’d need, all for a one-time cost!
What we were surprised to discover is how GREAT the over the air HD broadcast is – I’ve had many people state that it’s actually BETTER than what the cable company broadcasts. So not only do we not pay the horrendous monthly prices for cable anymore, we actually get a much better product!
So I encourage you to give it a shot – it’s a simple and cheap setup that you can try without cutting the cord…YET…try it out for a few days/a week/a month and see how you like it – I guarantee that while you might miss a few channels/shows, when that monthly bill fails to show up after you’ve cut the cord, you’ll know it was all worth it!