Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I don't pay for TV anymore, and neither should you!

I hated paying for our Dish.  When we first hooked it up, we had a pretty middle of the road package.  It advertised something like 100 channels, but a good 1/3 of them were shopping channels.  I don't need that many things that slice and/or dice.

We bumped it down to a cheaper package, but for the few channels we watched it wasn't worth the money we were paying for it.  We finally pulled the plug (literally) in September of 2012.
Are we now TV free?  Nope, we might watch a bit more now than we did when we paid for it.  AND I have a DVR so I still don't have to watch commercials.  

Here's how we watch and DVR shows for free:
1.  Determine if you live in an area that has a good signal for broadcast television.  This website will tell you if you're a good candidate for cutting the cord.   We live approximately 20 miles from the local broadcast towers in Columbus, Ohio and we get 19 channels.  Yeah, like 4 of those are crazy evangelical Christian channels, but those are easily blocked.  The kid's "Science" show on one of them was enough to give me the willies. 
Since the switch from analog to digital broadcast a few years ago, you don't have to adjust the rabbit ears.  Digital broadcast means you'll either get it or you won't.  Yes, there might be some cutting out during strong storms, but that happened all the time with our Dish.
2.  If you look like a good candidate for broadcast-only TV, invest in a digital antenna.  We bought a Leaf Indoor Antenna and it's so light, it's held up with a 3M strip on the wall.  I suggest buying just the antenna at first to make sure you're getting a good signal. 

Depending on your distance from the broadcast towers, you may have to get an outdoor antenna.  And no, not the kind that you used to climb at your grandma's house.  No?  That was just me that did that?  Ah, moving on.

3.  If you don't want a DVR, you're pretty much done.  Just hook the antenna into the TV and start watching.  We've got a splitter between the antenna and the TV so it actually catches the signal (surely that's the right term) for two televisions.

If you do want a DVR, you'll need to buy a HD Homerun as well as an Apple TV.  The HD Homerun box has software that you put onto your computer that acts just like your DVR.  The box is connected between the antenna and the Apple TV box.

The Apple TV box is hooked as an input into your TV.  Once your show is recorded on your "DVR," you export it to your iTunes and it's playable on the TV through Apple TV.  

Easy peasy.   


  1. We got a Magnavox that has DVR capability a couple of years ago. It provides lots of amusement at our house since most of our TV watching is recorded shows, and then Jim tries to forward through commercials when we do actually watch a real-time broadcast. :) And we've now moved up from just getting NBC and PBS; we replaced our old antenna (thought it wasn't mounted where it could be climbed on). Amazing to me - students don't understand how I survived only having two channels and not cable, but they only watch two or three channels of their cable. Ironic.

  2. Between watching shows on Netflix and PBS, Cora doesn't understand the concept of commercials. Considering how many Saturday morning cartoons commericals I *still* have floating around in my head, I'm glad.