# Cutting the cord to cable and satellite TV

Mentor
"Cutting the cord" to cable and satellite TV

Last year, fewer people in the US subscribed to cable or satellite TV. The only areas with increases were the largest metropolitan areas. People are wondering how much of this is due to the economic downturn (with many people needing to cut spending in general) and how much is due to streaming video on the Internet.

Map and data from the Wall Street Journal

You can click on the column headings to sort the data various ways. Even in the areas with increases, the percentages are mostly in the 0-0.5% range. A lot of smaller areas in the "heartland" have larger decreases, 0.5-1.0% and upwards.

(I've used an antenna on the roof for the last 20+ years, so I don't have a cord to cut.)

fss

People are figuring out that it doesn't make sense to pay $70 for 99 cable channels when they only watch 4 or 5 when they can just pay$8 for Hulu Plus and watch all the shows they want to watch.

dreiter

Netflix Streaming + Hulu Plus = lots of stuff to watch for only $16 a month... NobodySpecial Don't most people get their internet connection from a cable company? mugaliens Netflix Streaming + Hulu Plus = lots of stuff to watch for only$16 a month...

Bingo.

I haven't had tv service in three years. Netflix+Wii and other streaming methods are all I need.

Gold Member

Since broadcast TV has been gutted, my wife and I have subscribed to a satellite TV package that carries our local channels and a modest line-up of cable channels. Out in our location, we could barely get 3 channels on a good day after the switch to digital, using the antenna, after the switch to digital. That "switch" was a huge expense-shift to TV viewers to benefit purveyors of media (who are making $off the newly freed-up bandwidth), and it hit older people especially hard - people who got practically all their news, weather, public-affair info, etc from the TV. Radio used to carry useful local information years ago, but now all the stations have been bought up by conglomerates that format and program their content from hundreds or thousands of miles away. One bright exception is WKIT (FM) and Zone Radio (AM) owned by Steven King, that operate out of Bangor. They are the only locally-owned radio stations around. King loves music and sports and his fortunes from book-sales allow him to indulge himself by operating his own stations. Thank you! Homework Helper On a side note, are there any stand alone (no pc involved) over the air hdtv dvrs other than the channel master dvr (it has a list price of$350)?

Mentor

Out in our location, we could barely get 3 channels on a good day after the switch to digital, using the antenna, after the switch to digital.

This is definitely a "your mileage may vary" situation. With our old rooftop antenna, we could get five or six analog channels, all from our closest city (about 40-50 miles), with what I considered "watchable" quality. Then I tried a digital TV tuner and was amazed that I could also get channels from two other cities with pictures just as good as from the closest city except when they dropped out completely because of weather conditions etc. So a couple of years ago we upgraded the antenna, which needed replacement anyway. It boosted the number of watchable analog channels to eight or nine. But now we have about thirty digital channels (including subchannels) from three cities.

On a side note, are there any stand alone (no pc involved) over the air hdtv dvrs other than the channel master dvr (it has a list price of $350)? The only other one is the TiVo Premiere (and its big brother Premiere XL with a larger hard disk) which has three different combinations of upfront price and monthly fee, or you can pay a total of$600 ($700 for the XL) up front for a box and "lifetime" subscription. (lifetime of the box, not you) I was lucky to snag a couple of Sony HD DVRs while they were still available, five years ago. They're still going strong, with no subscription fee, using the same guide service that the Channel Master box uses. If I had to buy one now, I'd probably go with a TiVo with lifetime subscription, despite the higher price, because you can transfer recordings from it to a PC or Mac. Gold Member This is definitely a "your mileage may vary" situation. With our old rooftop antenna, we could get five or six analog channels, all from our closest city (about 40-50 miles), with what I considered "watchable" quality. Then I tried a digital TV tuner and was amazed that I could also get channels from two other cities with pictures just as good as from the closest city except when they dropped out completely because of weather conditions etc. So a couple of years ago we upgraded the antenna, which needed replacement anyway. It boosted the number of watchable analog channels to eight or nine. But now we have about thirty digital channels (including subchannels) from three cities. We have what I would consider a "Cadillac" antenna on a very tall mast, but still lost all but 3 channels during the switch to digital. All we could get was NBC, CBS, and PBS from Bangor. No more ABC (even the Bangor station) FOX and no more alternate affiliates from Portland. The person that owned this house before us had a brother whose business was selling and installing antennas and they spared no expense, since this place is located in hilly terrain. Luckily, the phone company that we get our POTS and DSL from, offered us a low-cost upgrade to a bundle that includes DISH with 120 channels, plus the local broadcast channels that we wanted. It boosted our monthly phone bill by about$15 plus tax, which was impossible to pass up, given our poor digital reception.

Homework Helper

The only other one is the TiVo Premiere (and its big brother Premiere XL with a larger hard disk) which has three different combinations of upfront price and monthly fee, or you can pay a total of $600 ($700 for the XL) up front for a box and "lifetime" subscription. (lifetime of the box, not you)

I was lucky to snag a couple of Sony HD DVRs while they were still available, five years ago. They're still going strong, with no subscription fee, using the same guide service that the Channel Master box uses. If I had to buy one now, I'd probably go with a TiVo with lifetime subscription, despite the higher price, because you can transfer recordings from it to a PC or Mac.
I recall seeing the last of those at a local retail store. They could also use a cable card if I remember correctly.

The channel master has an ethernet connector, so couldn't that be used to transfer video to the PC (if it has the software)?

We have a motorola dvr with our cable service, and can transfer recordings to the PC using the firewire (1394) connectors on the back of it, using drivers and a software packages call cap2vhs, that I downloaded from some video oriented web site.

With our old rooftop antenna, we could get five or six analog channels, all from our closest city (about 40-50 miles), with what I considered "watchable" quality.

We have what I would consider a "Cadillac" antenna on a very tall mast, but still lost all but 3 channels during the switch to digital.our poor digital reception.

We (wife and I) bought a HDTV back in 2000. We used a powered channel master UHF antenna to receive digital channels. We also had a large VHF antenna, but dumped that when we got cable, and now it would be useless unless (since I don't do HAM radio stuff).

Gold Member

Here's our antenna set-up, with motorized rotator on a very tall mast. The house is high on a hill, and even with that advantage, we lost almost all TV coverage after the switch to digital. Our neighbors are even worse off and only get 2 digital channels. Houses were sprouting satellite dishes like mushrooms after the switch.

Homework Helper

Here's our antenna set-up ... we lost almost all TV coverage after the switch to digital.
That's probably because of the change from VHF to UHF. Your antenna only has a small UHF section. A larger and/or powered UHF antenna (channel master makes these also) might help.