This has been a reluctant goal in our house for several months. We were tired of paying over $200 per month for internet and cable, but we were reluctant to give up our shows. Let’s be honest, I was reluctant, while the Hubs was more than ready. I like my shows. and I really like my DVR. Commercials are such a waste of time. But when he told me we could save about $160 A MONTH, or nearly $2,000 a year, I was convinced to at least try it. Now I’m convinced to never go back.
Confession: When the hubs and I first started dating in 2006, he did not have cable. He still had the rabbit ears antenna and approximately five channels. One played exclusively hispanic programming and another played only 70’s B-list movies. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with those types of programming. They just usually aren’t on our “must watch” list. We watched a lot of DVDs or went out.
A year later I convinced him to get cable. The next year, all local stations switched from analog to digital programming, so a basic cable box was pretty much required to watch any television. I think he has secretly been trying to figure out how to game the system ever since. Turns out, other enterprising individuals out there felt the same way. The secret is a Digital Air Antenna. We bought the ClearStream Long Range DTV Antenna (affiliate link). This is not a sponsored post. I have not been contacted, nor am I being compensated in any way by ClearStream. We bought the antenna full price and all my opinions are my own.
It looks a little strange, but it sure does work! We get 25 channels and 8 of them are high definition channels! We get ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS and various other local networks. My favorite unexpected channel is one called the Live Well Network and it’s like a combination of HGTV, Food Network and the Travel Channel. It seems to have shows that didn’t make the final cut for those networks, but very similar content.
You’re probably thinking “Enough convincing- tell me how you did it!” Well for that, I needed to consult the Expert and his helpful assistants. The explanation was slightly technical, but I think most people can do it.
Steps to setting up a Digital Air Antenna
- Choose your antenna range. Consult the website antennapoint.com to figure out how close the local air broadcast towers are to your residence. Type in your zipcode and it will show you the distance local channels are to where you live. This will dictate the size of the antenna you want to purchase. While most of the towers we watch are between 10 and 22 miles from our house, we bought a 50 mile range antenna to increase the quality of the signal. If the tower is 22 miles from your house and you buy a 25 mile range antenna, don’t expect stellar crystal clear HD. Buying a 50 mile range antenna means we not only get channels from the Nashville towers, but also Bowling Green towers. Live in an apartment and can’t mount a mini spaceship off your balcony? No problem, consider this Ultra Thin Indoor HDTV Antenna & Amplifier Combo (affiliate link). The signal may not be as good since brick and other building materials interfere with signals.
- Choose your antenna location. While you’re on that website, also note the direction those towers lie in relation to your house. We live north east of Nashville, so we mounted our antenna on the south side of our house, pointing towards the towers. Mount the antenna according to local codes and construction regulations. For us, that meant the hubs got a masonry hammer drill to properly anchor it into our brick house.
- Modify cable feed junctions. Locate where your cable is coming in from the service provider. If you have wireless internet, find your router and work backwards towards the power lines. For us, the feed comes in at the same location as our electricity with a coaxial cable splitter. I am assuming you have wireless internet and plan to keep it, which is what we did. Below is a graphic of our set up before with cable and after with the digital antenna replacing our cable feed but KEEPING the internet feed.
- Unplug existing cable boxes. Plug the cable line originally going directly into your cable box in to your Television. Make a note of what input you plugged the cable in to.
- Reconfigure your channel set up. This sounds hard, but it’s probably the easiest part. Try to find your television manual from back whenever you bought it and follow the directions to rescan for channels. If you can’t find your manual, press menu on your remote and look for “set up” or “settings”. Then look for channel set up or channel scan. Reconfigure your input source. The choices may include “analog”, “air”, “antenna”, “broadcast”, or even “cable off”. It really just depends on your television. Once your input source is correct, then rescan your channels. Again, it will depend on your television and I highly recommend consulting your manual if you have issues with it. Having said that, I’m a rebel and was too lazy to get our manual. Got it on the second scan. Boom!
- Now the hardest part: Call your service provider and cancel your service. It really is the hardest part. The moment you say you want to cancel your cable service, your provider suddenly becomes the most helpful call center you’ve ever encountered. They offered to cut our bill by 30%, which was really tempting to me. Good thing I had the former Army Captain call. He just chuckled and said “Dude, I’m watching the big game on 1080i for free right now, I’m good.”
Don’t worry ladies, it isn’t all football. You can still watch Matthew McConaughey too! ;)In the spirit of full disclosure, we still have a Netflix and Hulu plus subscription, which we access through our Roku 3500R Streaming Stick (HDMI) (affiliate link). It’s going to be tough when Game of Thrones or Walking Dead come back on, but maybe we’ll buy those two specific shows through Vudu (a pay per show or season service accessed through Roku). After about eight days though, I really don’t miss the cable box messing up my dresser scape or any of those shows I can just wait to watch. Especially not when I think about that $2,000 extra dollars in our proverbial pocket at the end of the year.
So are you ready to quit cable? Have you already done it and have some more tips? Let me know in the comments below!