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Dumped Cable TV - Saving $109/mo - Still have 45+ channels (1 Viewer)

Mark Booth

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Four weeks ago I replaced all of the RG59 cable in my home with quad-shield RG6.

Three weeks ago I started experimenting with rooftop TV antennas to see how many channels I could pull in.

Two weeks ago I ordered a VHF Hi-Band Yagi antenna and a 4-bowtie UHF antenna.

10 days ago I finished permanently installing the antennas and I returned the cable DVR and 3 cable TV mini boxes to Cox Communications and knocked $129 per month off my bill by canceling cable TV entirely (I still have high-speed internet and a single landline phone).

I still wanted to record shows for later viewing (and to skip commercials) so I purchased a Channel Master DVR+ digital tuner. I added a 2TB external hard drive. The DVR+ has two tuners (can record two programs at the same time) and a free 14-day guide that is better than the cable DVR guide (the guide requires an internet connection). The DVR+ also allows manual recordings where you set the channel, date, and start & stop times. You can setup a recording for days, weeks, months or years in advance, just like the days of a VCR. The DVR+ is a VCR on steroids and without any tapes!

Everything works beautifully. I am getting 100% signal quality and 100% signal strength on all local channels. After I filtered out the local OTA channels I wasn't interested in (Spanish and shopping channels), I have 12 OTA channels: ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, WB, FOX, KUSI (independent), Me-TV, Laff-TV, COZI-TV, AntennaTV and THIS-TV.

The DVR+ also has a few internet apps, including Sling TV. I subscribed to Sling TV for $20 month and that gives me 26 cable channels (all streamed over the internet) including, ESPN 1&2, CNN, Disney, History, Food Network, AMC, TNT, TBS, A&E and many others.

After all is said and done, I am saving $109/mo over the cost of cable TV. And that includes boosting my internet speed to the 100Mbps/700GB per month plan (more streaming these days). The total cost of all of the equipment was a hair over $600. After six months the savings is all gravy.

The Channel Master DVR+ also has free streamed channels as part of "Channel Master TV". A weather channel and a few others. All told, I've got 45+ worthwhile channels.

Best part: My Cox communications bill had edged up to $228/mo. Now it's $99/mo.

Getting BETTER signal quality than provided by cable TV: $109/mo savings
Still getting most of the more popular cable channels (Sling TV): Excellent
Giving the proverbial finger to the greedy monopolistic cable TV industry: Priceless!

Oh, one more thing... Sling TV caches the programs on many of its channels. So, when I go to Food Network, for example, I can not only stream the show that is in progress, but also stream other shows and episodes that have been on Food Network recently. The selection is substantial!

Mark
 

Mark Booth

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This is my antenna installation:

i-b6xX7zS.jpg



The top one is a Stellar Labs 30-2475 VHF Hi-Band antenna (channels 7-13). It's quite directional and it's pointed at Mt. Soledad here in San Diego for channels 8 and 10. The 4-bowtie antenna is an Antennas Direct DB4e UHF antenna. It's pointed between the two mountain tops to the south that have all of the UHF channels. The DB4e provides up to 12db gain and has a pretty wide horizontal beam width (which is why I chose it).

The little black box is an Antennas Direct VHF/UHF combiner. It accepts inputs from each antenna and filters out UHF signals received by the VHF antenna and filters out VHF signals received by the UHF antenna (which helps eliminate possible multi-path issues).

The mast is a 12 foot section of Schedule 40 chain link fence top rail. The stuff at Home Depot is too thin-walled. The Schedule 40 pipe has almost twice the wall thickness. I purchased it from a local fence supply company.

The mount is a Winegard Gable Mount. Both the mast and the coax are grounded to house ground via 10 gauge wire. The ground wire drains off static electricity buildup created by wind through the antenna elements, reducing the possibility of a lightning strike (which isn't much of a concern in San Diego in the first place).

I can't over emphasize how much better the image quality is compared to the compressed crap that cable TV (and satellite) rebroadcast.

I don't know why I waited so long! The ONLY channel my wife wishes we still had is TV Land. But I'm solving that issue by purchasing DVD versions of old TV shows (Andy Griffith, Dick Van Dyke, I Love Lucy, etc.) and ripping them to my PLEX server in the house. Both our living room and bedroom TVs have PLEX apps built-in. Still better image quality than cable TV and no freakin' commercials! Saving $109/mo allows a lot of room for old TV episodes on DVD!

Mark
 

ChristopherG

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Mark,

Congrats! Everything about this sounds good. I would think there is maybe 1% of channel viewing I do that would not be served by this however I think I could live with that. Thanks for sharing.
 

Scott Merryfield

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Sounds good, Mark. We still have Comcast cable, but we were recently able to drop our monthly cost by $80 by threatening to cancel and also bundling our phone service with them instead of AT&T. We are down to $160 a month for cable, Internet and phone service, with two HD receivers and two standard cable boxes.

It's still high, but better than before. My wife would probably divorce me if she lost HGTV, and there are a few sports channels I would miss - - the NHL Network, Big Ten Network, Golf Channel and NFL Network.
 
Last edited:

Josh Steinberg

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I've thought about doing this, but my fiance watches enough stuff where having a cable service still comes in use for her. Most of the time, I could live without it. I had checked into canceling cable a few years ago, a few different apartments and cities ago, and found that it wouldn't be worth it financially at that time. At that time, I lived in Boston and the cable company provided both my cable and internet service. They told me that my internet service was being charged at a reduced rate because I had cable, but that if I canceled cable, the price of internet would rise until it was almost the same as both of the services together. And I figured if that was the case, if I'm going to being paying the same either way, I might as well have cable. But I have no idea what it would entail to do it in NYC now. The building I live in doesn't have a roof antenna and I don't have roof access to install one.
 

Dr Griffin

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I love it! Looks like a pro installation job! Brings back a lot of memories. I'm inspired.
 

David Norman

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Normally I would have said the stories been told, but the details of this post are really impressive and the equipment seems top notch.

It helps to be in a major urban area with many stations all broadcasting from the same direction and on relatively flat terrain.
I think I could get about half the channels you;re getting if I had antennas point on direction or similar number is I had directional antennas
focused in the 3 directions though many of those stations would be pushing 60-90 miles.

Southern Thunderstorm season would also likely take it's toll on the mast installation (or the house it was attached to) -- wind not lightning so much. I also not sure that I could
tolerate the loss of some of the channels and I'm pretty sure my wife would object. I just lost yearly negotiated deal with TWC -- Cable, 100/10 Internet without cap,
and phone for $110/month. It jumped to $30/month, but I think I could get it back down to the previous deal with a couple persistent phone calls. I use CableCarded
TIVO with lifetime as DVR and my own modem which now are down to about $4/month total cost over the time I've had them (vs $30-40/month for TWC rentals)
 

Ron1973

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I've been interested in doing this myself. There's RG6 ran through the house already where that my dad replaced the flat twin lead in the late 70's. I'm in the middle of the country in rural SE Missouri with a clear line of sight in all directions.

As a kid, I remember us getting all of the Memphis stations, Cape Girardeau, Mo., both Jonesboro, Ar. stations, and Jackson, Tn. although we had a rotor in use for some of those. If the weather was "just right," we picked up Evansville, In. and St. Louis.

With all of the digital substations in play, it might be worth checking into. I ditched Directv after they kept changing my prices constantly. The only thing I miss us Cardinals baseball and Hee Haw on RFD-TV. That might be worth getting a basic package from Dish Network for.
 

Stan

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Four weeks ago I replaced all of the RG59 cable in my home with quad-shield RG6.

Three weeks ago I started experimenting with rooftop TV antennas to see how many channels I could pull in.

Two weeks ago I ordered a VHF Hi-Band Yagi antenna and a 4-bowtie UHF antenna.

10 days ago I finished permanently installing the antennas and I returned the cable DVR and 3 cable TV mini boxes to Cox Communications and knocked $129 per month off my bill by canceling cable TV entirely (I still have high-speed internet and a single landline phone).

I still wanted to record shows for later viewing (and to skip commercials) so I purchased a Channel Master DVR+ digital tuner. I added a 2TB external hard drive. The DVR+ has two tuners (can record two programs at the same time) and a free 14-day guide that is better than the cable DVR guide (the guide requires an internet connection). The DVR+ also allows manual recordings where you set the channel, date, and start & stop times. You can setup a recording for days, weeks, months or years in advance, just like the days of a VCR. The DVR+ is a VCR on steroids and without any tapes!

Everything works beautifully. I am getting 100% signal quality and 100% signal strength on all local channels. After I filtered out the local OTA channels I wasn't interested in (Spanish and shopping channels), I have 12 OTA channels: ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, WB, FOX, KUSI (independent), Me-TV, Laff-TV, COZI-TV, AntennaTV and THIS-TV.

The DVR+ also has a few internet apps, including Sling TV. I subscribed to Sling TV for $20 month and that gives me 26 cable channels (all streamed over the internet) including, ESPN 1&2, CNN, Disney, History, Food Network, AMC, TNT, TBS, A&E and many others.

After all is said and done, I am saving $109/mo over the cost of cable TV. And that includes boosting my internet speed to the 100Mbps/700GB per month plan (more streaming these days). The total cost of all of the equipment was a hair over $600. After six months the savings is all gravy.

The Channel Master DVR+ also has free streamed channels as part of "Channel Master TV". A weather channel and a few others. All told, I've got 45+ worthwhile channels.

Best part: My Cox communications bill had edged up to $228/mo. Now it's $99/mo.

Getting BETTER signal quality than provided by cable TV: $109/mo savings
Still getting most of the more popular cable channels (Sling TV): Excellent
Giving the proverbial finger to the greedy monopolistic cable TV industry: Priceless!

Oh, one more thing... Sling TV caches the programs on many of its channels. So, when I go to Food Network, for example, I can not only stream the show that is in progress, but also stream other shows and episodes that have been on Food Network recently. The selection is substantial!

Mark

Thanks for the info. I'm a bit behind the times, but want a dual tuner, and not have to pay TIVO fees. Been with DISH for eight years, it's just fits my personality and I'm really happy with them. Called and bitched, and they did cut my price.

Also got CenturyLink to cut my landline price and as sad as this may sound, my DSL prices. Unless I go with Comcast, which I despise, not a lot of choice in this area.

I think as we all keep shopping around and complain, prices will continue to drop.

I "cut the cord" for a few months, but AMC, TNT and my other favorites disappear. I receive 250+ channels, most of them crap. There are maybe 10-12 that I watch regularly. They better start going Al-a-carte or the cord may be cut permanently and I'll find other sources for the shows I like.
 

Tony Bensley

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Unfortunately for us, I think we have to live in the worst possible urban location for Rabbit Ears. Before we reconnected with Satellite TV in '06, it was 7 years with a handful (If even that many!) of mostly snowy reception stations, with significant ghosting even from our local in town MCTV channel! It doesn't help that we live in a Rental unit, for which Antenna installation is NOT an option (Heck, we were lucky to be allowed Satellite!), unfortunately!

At the moment, we're considering cutting the cord, and going with unlimited internet instead, although I'm not sure it'll be worth the price hike that comes from cutting out one of the bundled services. It does seem the Cable/Satellite companies have consumers where they want 'em, particularly in relatively low serviced regions, such as ours!

CHEERS! :)
 

Stan

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Unfortunately for us, I think we have to live in the worst possible urban location for Rabbit Ears. Before we reconnected with Satellite TV in '06, it was 7 years with a handful (If even that many!) of mostly snowy reception stations, with significant ghosting even from our local in town MCTV channel! It doesn't help that we live in a Rental unit, for which Antenna installation is NOT an option (Heck, we were lucky to be allowed Satellite!), unfortunately!

At the moment, we're considering cutting the cord, and going with unlimited internet instead, although I'm not sure it'll be worth the price hike that comes from cutting out one of the bundled services. It does seem the Cable/Satellite companies have consumers where they want 'em, particularly in relatively low serviced regions, such as ours!

CHEERS! :)
I've come across that "damned if you, damned if you don't situation". Cut the cord and I've got to upgrade to Comcast high speed internet, then sign up for Service A for some channels, Service B for others, possibly put up some goofy antennae for local, then get a DVR from somebody. Sorry to keep mentioning DISH, but they do it all, very easily. One receiver, one HD Satellite, supports two HDTVs, it's incredibly painless. I just don't want to learn a new system along with five remotes and then pray the shows I want actually appear.

Once this process becomes easier, maybe then I'll truly consider a switch.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I've come across that "damned if you, damned if you don't situation". Cut the cord and I've got to upgrade to Comcast high speed internet, then sign up for Service A for some channels, Service B for others, possibly put up some goofy antennae for local, then get a DVR from somebody. Sorry to keep mentioning DISH, but they do it all, very easily. One receiver, one HD Satellite, supports two HDTVs, it's incredibly painless. I just don't want to learn a new system along with five remotes and then pray the shows I want actually appear.

Once this process becomes easier, maybe then I'll truly consider a switch.

That's essentially the boat I found myself in last time I considered quitting. Since my cable company provided both my internet and cable service, I got a discount for having both. If I canceled cable, they were going to raise the cost of internet service to about the same as what they charged for internet and cable combined. And if it was going to cost me the same to have just one of the services as it was to have both, I figured might as well keep both.
 

Tony Bensley

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With Cogeco, we actually have bundled Cable, Internet and Phone service. While the channel selection is on the weak side (I.E. They can NEVER get TCM, due to Bell and Rogers hogging that station's Canadian Broadcast rights, and I'd sooner swallow double edged razor blades before dealing with either one of them!), their Customer Service is excellent, and they have the highest speed internet that's currently accessible in North Bay, despite Bell's annoying "In your face" Bell Fibre-Op Billboard ads that apparently apply to less populated outlying areas, while their North Bay customers are still stuck in the bloody stone age with 5 mbps download speeds--Effing Jerks!! :angry::angry:

Oh, and Cogeco also provides us with unlimited Canada/U.S. long distance! :)

CHEERS! :)
 

Mark Booth

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To help soothe my wife's loss of TV Land, I picked up The Dick Van Dyke show on Blu-Ray. I've already ripped the first season to my PLEX server and we watched some episodes this evening. WAY better quality than the heavily compressed images on TV Land, Antenna TV, and Me-TV.

Mark
 

Josh Steinberg

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I'm watching the Dick Van Dyke Blu-rays with my fiancé now - they look incredible. It's stunning how good it is. Glad you're enjoying!
 

DaveF

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Very nice! I was OTA HD for a few years, circa 2009 to 2011 with just a couple of indoor antennas. It was great. And cheap. Everyone should consider it if they want to save money and can get reception.

That said, I don't understand your cable bill. Your now-halved cost telecomm bill of $99/mo is what I pay with cable TV, phone, and internet. If I could go OTA only (quick testing in 2012 suggested not) I'd save perhaps $50/mo. Not nothing, but not enough to be worth the loss of content and the hassle of the hardware installation.
 

Dennis Nicholls

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People think that Boise is a backwater but with the broadcast antennas up on a mountain about 4K feet above the valley everyone gets direct LOS OTA DTV with about 35 channels. The local cable company gets good marks for service - how odd is that?

TV - OTA
Internet - 100 mbs for $55/month
Telephone - OOMA for $4/month
 

Mark Booth

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100Mbps Internet, by itself, is $82/mo from Cox here in San Diego, plus tax. A single landline phone line with unlimited Nationwide long distance, by itself, is $45/mo from Cox in San Diego. Cox TV basic is 34.99/mo in San Diego. However, if you want a DVR you *must* also subscribe to Cox TV essential which is $75.99/mo more *plus* $9/mo for the DVR. The mini boxes (now required to get Cable TV on other sets in the house) are $2.99/mo each.

Our total bill (after taxes) was $260/mo which Cox was discounting to $228/mo with a bundle discount (and that was with 50Mbps Internet).

I couldn't drop TV essential without losing the DVR.

To keep us as telephone customer, Cox offered a bundle of 100Mbps Internet and unlimited Nationwide long distance (normally $127 + tax) for $99.82/mo including tax.

Those of you with quality high-speed Internet at decent prices should count your blessings. :)

Mark
 

Mark Booth

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Also, I can't switch to OOMA or similar because we have both an alarm system and a medical device on the landline.

Mark
 

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