Forbes: Ready To Cut The Cable TV Cord?

dkreichen1968

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Remember the days when you could watch network television for free? (those under 25, ask your parents). Well those channels are still available at no cost…if you have an antenna. And no, we’re not talking about the clunky rabbit ears of old. Antennas have changed substantially in looks and performance over the last several years. Breakthroughs in technology spurred by development of the tiny but powerful digital antennas in smartphones have been adapted to the realm of TV reception. The result? “TV antennas today are 10% the mass they were decades ago,” says Richard Schneider, president of Missouri-based manufacturer Antennas Direct. “And the move to an all digital transmission that the FCC mandated back in 2009 has put those TV signals in a higher frequency which means a better signal with less noise”...

To augment your free supply of live network TV, the next step is to choose your hardware for on demand programming delivered via your Internet connection. You may already have this capability in an existing device if you own a gaming console like an Xbox 360, Sony Playstation 3 or Nintendo Wii. Or perhaps you’ve bought a smart TV or Blu-ray player with built-in Wi-Fi.

The Roku 3 streams 1080p video, with over 1,000 channels of on demand content, to your TV.

If you do need to buy a set top box, the most popular options are the $100 Apple TV and the range of models from Roku. Google entered the field this summer with its $35 Chromecast, but it’s limited content makes it more a curiosity than primary option for mainstream consumers at this point. But it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.

In general, streaming hardware all works the same way. The device connects to both the Internet (via Wi-Fi or Ethernet) and your TV (via HDMI), streaming content from channels that are either free or require a monthly subscription. You browse through channels directly on your TV screen via a remote. A large part of the appeal here is that you choose which channels you want to subscribe to. Netflix and Hulu Plus, the most popular channels (available on the Apple, Roku and Google devices) provide access to a robust selection of movies as well as current and past TV shows...

The moment for me when the idea of dropping TV service became a long term prospect rather than just a short term experiment so I could write this article, was when I plugged in the antenna. The fact that I can get such high quality output, for network and PBS channels I had been paying for makes it hard for me to envision going back to a cable TV subscription. In addition, I have to sit through far fewer commercials (though I suspect that may change over time). Watching Netflix movies on the TV is much more satisfying than on the smaller computer screen and of course the freedom to watch current TV programs on my own schedule is a huge benefit when juggling the demands of work and family. I know there will be times during the year when a sports event I want to watch will be unavailable. But there’s just no arguing with the dramatic cost savings. Pay TV is undeniably a richer experience, but is it worth a 330% premium? Not for me.
Read More: Ready To Cut The Cable TV Cord? Here's How To Do It - Forbes

Yes, over the air digital television is the game changer. Some folks remember when cable was twenty-some channels of snowy reruns. Free digital OTA TV beats that, especially with the network channels in better HD than cable or satellite.
 

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