It’s amazing to me how many people don’t realize they can receive free, over-the-air high definition television for free with the use of an antenna.
Last month I wrote a column about finally cutting the cord, buying a cheap antenna and supplementing OTA TV with over-the-top services like Netflix and Hulu. I even bought a $30 Blu Ray player on eBay because it was cheap and gave my wife and I another option for watching a movie, or catching up on a TV series on a binge-watching Saturday.
While most of what I write on here isn’t of much interest to my family and friends, I did share my column with them and received similar feedback: “Wait, you can get high definition for free?” Another response: “You don’t pay a monthly bill?”
You’d be surprised how many people haven’t a clue that HD TV is free over-the-air.
I’ve seen a couple commercials on KUSA Denver about being able to access HD TV over-the-air for free. Dyle’s mobile DTV commercial also plays on the Gannett-owned NBC affiliate every so often, promoting free TV without racking up high data charges:
The NAB’s new campaign touches on the importance of local broadcasting, especially during times of emergency. This past week’s horrific weather in Oklahoma was a perfect example. The commercial is emotional and effective, but I would have loved to see a line in it that says, “And all of this is available for free.”
Since cutting the cord, I’ve convinced a friend and my little sister to do the same. Of course, they had plenty of questions about the setup — Which antenna do I buy? Do I just plug it in? What do I get if I signup for Hulu Plus?
I’ve been recommending Mohu’s Indoor HDTV Leaf Antenna to them. Its flat design makes it easy to mount on a window and hide behind curtains. You can even mount it on your wall and paint over it using the same color as your wall, perfectly disguising it in your living room.
The folks at Mohu sent me over an antenna to try out after reading my column. I especially like how easily it can be hidden (sorry rabbit ears… you looked a bit to retro for my living room) behind the curtains in our condo. Being that I’m practically a stone’s throw away from the broadcast transmitters in the Denver market, I didn’t notice a change in quality from the rabbit ears to the Mohu. Perhaps those who live a bit farther away would.
While I was surprised by how many of my family members and friends didn’t realize the magic of broadcasting, I’m assuming that’s going to change.
The Leichtman Research Group said this week that U.S. pay TV service providers collectively lost subscribers for the first time over a four-quarter period. The reason?
“First-time ever annual industry-wide losses reflect a combination of a saturated market, an increased focus from providers on acquiring higher-value subscribers, and some consumers opting for a lower-cost mixture of over-the-air TV, Netflix and other over-the-top viewing options,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for the research group, in a statement.
Next up on my cord-cutting adventure? Getting over-the-air TV into my office. I don’t want to buy another TV, but I’m considering picking up this USB adapter by Elgato (yes, from the folks who also make mobile DTV dongles) that lets a user plug in an antenna to the adapter and watch those channels on a computer. Better yet, the software that it comes with, lets users record those shows, just like a DVR, onto their computer’s hard drive.
The next time you’re talking to a friend or family member about their TV service, ask them how much they pay per much for cable or satellite TV service, and then ask them if they know what’s available to them. Chances are they’re going to be a bit surprised.