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Ditch Your Cable Part 2 – Adding an HD Antenna

Today, we start to put the puzzle pieces together. Everyone I have talked to is getting weary of paying high prices for a cable or satellite TV contract. You have to pay for a few hundred channels, to get the maybe dozen channels that you really want to watch.  I am willing to pay for my content, but I want to pay for only what I watch.

In my previous article, I talked about how you can start your own journey to “Ditching you Cable”.  Now that you have identified the channels you want to be watching, lets start assembling the items we need to achieve our personal content viewing experience.  To track my journey and progress, I put together my list of the channels I came up with in Part 1 of Ditch your Cable, and they are listed in the table below.

Purchase an HD Antenna

My first order of business was to find out how I can get the local network channels.  You know, ABC, CBS, NBC, & Fox.  I basically wanted these channels so I can watch local news.  Most of the prime time programming I would get from these channels I typically watch on my iPad.  All of those networks have iPad apps.  However, ABC in what I can only call a fit of insanity, just closed down their apps to cable subscribers only.  Meaning, you have to log into the app with your cable or satellite providers website login and password.

Really ABC?  You had one of the best apps out there for a network channel, and I suffered through your miserable commercials in order to use it.  You know what I mean.  You played the same exact commercials at every commercial break, forcing me to mute the sound whenever a commercial came on.  Don’t tie the distribution of your content to a cable provider.  If I can watch your shows on your website, you should allow me to watch them on my iPad as well.

I think I got a little off track.  It is no secret that all TV stations broadcast what is called Over The Air (OTA) programming.  With the use of an antenna, you can pick up that programming and direct it into your TV.  After all, back in the day before cable, that is how we received our programming.

I am not saying you need to go out and put an huge antenna on your roof, like we used to do.  HD antennas have moved indoors, and come in small packages.

For my experiment, I purchased an Antennacraft HDTV Indoor Antenna from Radio Shack.  It was listed at $49.99, but was on sale for $39.99.  It is super thin, and looks to be about 6″ by 8″.  It plugs into the Coax port on the TV.  I found in my experimentation, that mounting the antenna high on the wall gave me maximum reception of signals.  For instance, I originally put the antenna in it’s stand and set it on the desk below the TV.  I was not able to get NBC or Fox.  I then mounted it to the wall, just below the ceiling and kind of behind the TV, and I now get great reception for NBC, but a spotty one for Fox.  The station comes through, but it comes and goes.  Moving it to different spots on the wall has not helped much.

My HD Antenna

As with ABC, I can get Fox programming on my iPad.  However, you cannot get live sports.  Today, for instance, I wanted a strong Fox signal so I can watch the San Francisco/Carolina playoff game.  I had it on, but the signal comes and goes.  Fox is not streaming this game anywhere else, so I am stuck with the spotty reception.  I will be doing some testing with other HD antenna’s for future articles, so lets table this particular issue for now.

In terms of the other channels I get with this HD Antenna, they all come in loud and clear.

Ditch Your Cable Results

The table below shows the channels I want, and my progress so far in getting them through either the SmartTV or the Hd Antenna.

In Part 3 of “Ditch your Cable”, I will focus on the channels I can get with Roku, Chromecast, and Apple TV.

Stay tuned!

[table]Channel,SmartTV,HD Antenna ABC,No,Yes CBS,No,Yes NBC,No,Yes PBS,No,Yes Fox,No,*Yes HGTV,No,No QVC,No,Yes ESPN,No,No Golf,No,No Fox News,No,No Hallmark,No,No TLC,No,No Netflix,Yes,No Hulu Plus,Yes,No Amazon Prime,Yes,No[/table]

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