I Cut the Cord and Couldn’t Be Happier

I wonder why I didn't do it sooner

After thinking about cutting the cord for a few months I decided to finally do it. Most of the shows my family watches are available on networks we can get via antenna at my home according to TVfool.com:

antenna1.JPG

I was mainly interested in the networks: ABC (UHF 38), NBC (UHF 48), CBS (UHF 51), FOX (VHF 13), CW (VHF 11) and PBS (VHF 9). A lot of these carry not only network programming , but additional programming on subchannels. I also wanted independent UHF channels KZJO (UHF 25) for Antenna TV and KFFV (UHF 44) for MeTV, Movies, Heroes & Icons and Decades networks.

Looking at the charts above I faced a few challenges. Most of the channels I wanted were broadcasting from the same compass location (a good thing), but Channel 13 was not. Also channel 44 was listed as red, which meant it could be difficult to pick up at my address. I also live in deep suburban Western Washington, with a lot of hills, not a RF friendly environment.

I tested different antennas and mounting locations over the last few weeks to get the right blend of performance with athletics. I started with a basic $36 RCA yagi antenna purchased at a local Walmart hooked up to a single TV as a proof of concept. Not much thought went into it, other than it was the only antenna available locally on the night I wanted to dive in:

rca antenna.

It only pulled in 27 out of the 59 possible channels, about half of which were ones I wasn’t interested in: foreign language, shopping and religious channels. I was not getting CW, PBS, FOX (all VHF channels), CBS or UHF channels 25 and 44 even when I manually aimed it in the direction of the transmission towers. This antenna that might work well in a flat area, or much closer to the transmitters, but wasn’t suitable for my location. It did confirm that I could get reception at my house and that broadcast HD looked good.

I then took the plunge and purchased a Winegard 8200 based on reviews. It’s what I would consider a “classic” roof antenna, a 14″ long combination UHF/VHF.

winegard.
Frankly, I didn’t think the purchase through. I installed it in my small “attic” to minimize anything visible on the outside of the house. It was a real pain to install and unfold around all the roof trusses, and because of the trusses I was unable to aim it properly. I was able to get some additional channels over my proof of concept, but not all the ones I was looking for.
nosignal.

This was not the fault of the antenna, but the fact that I couldn’t aim it properly due to my roof trusses. I’m sure based on reviews that I would get much better performance if it were mounted on a pole on the roof properly aimed. Unfortunately this won’t pass my wife’s curb appeal test.​

winegard_attic.

 

Back to the drawing board.​

I then bought the Antennas Direct DB8e as its their best performing UHF antenna, and its compact form factor would allow me to install and aim it in the attic.

DB8e.

Its essentially two of their DB4e antennas with a combiner. In addition to having twice the coverage of the DB4e, if you are trying to pick up stations from different directions you can aim each of the two panels independently. I installed it at the far North end of the attic closest to the transmitters.

antenna_attic.

Because I was able to aim the elements I was able to pick up the additional UHF channels I was looking for, but the signal was hit or miss depending on the weather or time of day. This antenna was UHF only so I didn’t get any VHF stations. I talked to Antennas DIrect support and they recommended I try their $20 VHF Retrofit Kit antenna to get Fox, CW and PBS.

VHF_add_on.

I wasn’t able to get any of them in my attic with the Retofit Kit. The transmitters were too far away. My only other option was the ClearStream 5 dedicated VHF antenna.

c5-medium.

I tried installing it in the attic aimed toward the channel 13 transmitter. I picked up a weak signal on channels 9 and 11, but nothing on 13. I realized that our roof mounted solar panels could be interfering with the signal, so I hooked up a 100ft long piece of coax between the antenna and a TV with the signal strength meter visible and took it up on the roof. There was still no signal, so that eliminated the solar panels as a problem. On the roof I noticed that there were two clusters of large trees at the end of my street. I moved the antenna onto the backside of our garage roof which was lower and was able to find a spot where I could line up between the trees and get a great signal. It was very close to the where our satellite dish was mounted on the side of the house.

This turned out to be an ideal location, as there was a grounded mount and coax cable already there. It was also on the back side of our garage roof so it wasn’t really visible from the front of the house. The satellite mount J pipe had a 2″ outside diameter. I found an adapter that would allow me to connect a 1 3/8 pipe (used as a chain link fence top rail) to the mount. I bought a fence rail covered in black vinyl at Lowes, removed the dish and installed the adapter and pipe.

I test mounted the two antennas and a Stellar labs UHF/VHF combiner to the pole and after fine tuning the aiming, ended up with 59 channels, including all the ones I wanted. A thunderstorm rolled in during the process and I was pleased to see that I kept great signal strength throughout the storm.

testing.

After testing, I pulled the pole and antennas down to install new coax between the antennas and combiner with the waterproof boots and to trim the top of the pole with my Sawzall .

final.

Only the very top of the upper antenna is visible from the front of the house so my wife is happy, its hidden from the neighbors behind the hedge so they are happy, and I have all the channels I was hoping to get so I am happy. The only loser is DirecTV who will no longer be getting our money.

I took all the coax that was connected to the DirecTV splitter and connected it to an Antennas Direct distribution amplifier.

amp2.

I wanted a DVR so we could still record and skip commercials. I was initially looking at the Tivo Bolt, but wasn’t thrilled about having a monthly fee and the expensive hardware. I asked other HTF users what they use and ended up going with the 4 tuner 1 TB Amazon FireTV Recast paired with Fire TV Stick 4ks. I’ve been using the setup for a week now and it works great. I can even stream live or recorded TV to my phone using the Fire TV iOS app. The only downside is that you can only stream to two Fire Sticks at a time. Normally that is not a problem in our house, but that is why I made direct antenna connections to each TV as well. That way if there is a major event: Superbowl, Oscars, etc, we can have the live signal on more than two TVs.

Cutting the cord is easier with streaming entertainment. We have Hulu (which I will probably drop later this summer), Amazon Prime and just got Netflix for free (thanks to T-Mobile), so we aren’t missing DirecTV at all. My only regret is not doing this sooner.

Have you cut the cord, or are considering doing it? Did your experience match mine?

Published by

Adam Gregorich

administrator

63 Comments

  1. We cut the Cable TV cord 3 years ago. Like you, my only regret is not doing it sooner than that.

    Our OTA DVR is the Channel Master DVR+, which has been discontinued. It has performed FLAWLESSLY.

    We recently dropped Netflix and DirecTV Now. We just weren't watching programming or the cable channels on those too often enough to justify the cost. Their recent price increases were the proverbial straw.

    Now, other than OTA TV, we still have Prime and Hulu. I resubscribed to HBO Now for 2 months to watch GOT season 8. Once I've seen the last episode of GOT I'll cancel HBO Now again.

    Mark

  2. I'm inching in that direction. For those who are "in the know," right now I can stream TCM programming through my Apple TV 4K or Fire Stick 4K because I am a Spectrum cable subscriber who gets TCM on cable. If I dropped my cable service, how would I be able to get TCM any more? That's one channel that I just would not want to be without.

  3. Matt Hough

    If I dropped my cable service, how would I be able to get TCM any more? That's one channel that I just would not want to be without.

    To put it simply – if you want TCM you have to pay for TCM 😉

  4. Cranston37

    if you cancel traditional cable only to subscribe to numerous streaming services, is that really cutting the cord?

    Probably depends on if you have wifi in your house.

  5. “Hulu With Live TV has only one plan. You’ll pay $40 for a lineup of 50-70 channels, depending on your area. This includes major sports channels like ESPN and Fox Sports, news networks like Fox News and CNN, entertainment channels like FX and A&E, and, of course, TCM. For the price, it’s a fantastic lineup of channels.”

    or you can buy a Sling TV $25 package and add a package with TCM and more for another $5

    …according to my web research, not experience

  6. Chip_HT

    Probably depends on if you have wifi in your house.

    Maybe you mean something other than WI-FI since it's an easy thing to set up wifi in pretty much any house with Internet service?
    Broadband Internet or High Speed internet service maybe?

    Simple to have streaming without wifi at all if you want to run the proper cables to each room for a wired network

  7. Adam, I did this about 15 years ago. Then a few years later I upgraded my antennas, and actually got the exact same VHF one you have. When I got it, it came with a combiner. I'm also in a fringe area, and still have some trouble picking up VHF channels, but all except for one channel has made changes to broadcast on a UHF channel instead. For example, our local NBC station has a sister channel. NBC broadcasts on VHF, but the sister channel broadcasts on UHF. They added a second transmission of NBC to the sister channel's signal. I also pick up over 50 channels, though a lot of them are of no interest. The UHF antenna I got is pretty much like the one you got, just a different brand. It picks up the signal from 70 miles away like a champ

  8. Cranston37

    if you cancel traditional cable only to subscribe to numerous streaming services, is that really cutting the cord?

    Subscribing to Sling TV and the like isn't cutting the cord, it's just getting the same stuff from a different 'cord'. I gave up on cable more than 25 years ago, as I had a laundry list of problems with it that have only gotten worse as time goes on (mainly the idea of paying for channels that still show commercials.) I've tried out Sling TV for free a few times when it's been offered, and I could never imagine paying for it. Flipping through the channels, it seemed like all of them were showing commercials and in the overnight hours many of them also ran "paid programming" in place of anything that I would actually want to watch.

    I've been far happier spending my money on media, things I actually want to see with zero interruptions. Some streaming services have been good also, though I now have issues with a few of them similar to cable- but that's another topic. Most over the air TV is garbage, but at least I'm paying exactly what it's worth for it.

  9. I'm going the opposite direct and adding all the cords. I have cable and streaming and internet. And I'm getting more streaming.

    So…yeah…not on track to "cut the cord". 🙂

    When I deal with cable contract renewal the end of this year, I'll be looking at options, including dropping cableTV and going only streaming. That will make me evaluate whether I keep the TiVo DVRs (which I love), or am I now done with DVR completely? It's a tough one because DVR can still have a better experience than streaming.

    But going OTA isn't of interest to me. Been there, done that. Loved it. But too much bother for where I'm at now.

  10. DaveF

    When I deal with cable contract renewal the end of this year, I'll be looking at options, including dropping cableTV and going only streaming. That will make me evaluate whether I keep the TiVo DVRs (which I love), or am I now done with DVR completely? It's a tough one because DVR can still have a better experience than streaming.

    Streaming for sure. I only pay $45/month for YouTube TV that includes recording functionality. Most channels have their shows available on demand as well, so usually you don't even need to record.

  11. Cranston37

    Streaming for sure. I only pay $45/month for YouTube TV that includes recording functionality. Most channels have their shows available on demand as well, so usually you don't even need to record.

    But I've found that locally recorded playback on a DVR can be a better overall experience than streaming. There's no buffering. There's no ads (TiVo auto-skip). And if you miss some dialogue, the skipback function on the TiVo tends to work better than on streaming services.

    The benefit to streaming of course, is no risk of Sunday Night Football screwing up the broadcast schedule and causing the TiVo to miss half a show, and other such quirks of chasing recordings of live broadcast against a fallible scheduling system.

    What's going to decide it is if Survivor and Amazing Race can be watched in real time via streaming without a cable subscriber. I don't care about live sports, but my wife needs her live "sports"! 🙂

  12. DaveF

    But I've found that locally recorded playback on a DVR can be a better overall experience than streaming. There's no buffering. There's no ads (TiVo auto-skip). And if you miss some dialogue, the skipback function on the TiVo tends to work better than on streaming services.

    The benefit to streaming of course, is no risk of Sunday Night Football screwing up the broadcast schedule and causing the TiVo to miss half a show, and other such quirks of chasing recordings of live broadcast against a fallible scheduling system.

    What's going to decide it is if Survivor and Amazing Race can be watched in real time via streaming without a cable subscriber. I don't care about live sports, but my wife needs her live "sports"! 🙂

    I would look into it a little more, Dave. Even sign up for a free trial.

    I've never once experienced buffering with YouTube TV (although I have with Sling and of course your internet may vary).

    If you missed dialog – on an Apple TV you would just say "Siri, what did he say?" and it not only skips back about 15 seconds but puts on captions for that time so you can read it 😉

    And of course shows like Survivor and Amazing Race are on in real time. What we're talking about with these services are exactly like cable.

    Channel list can be found here:

    https://cordcutting.com/services/youtube-tv/channels/

  13. Thanks. I'll be looking into this stuff more seriously this Fall. First, I've got a project to run Cat6 cable from my Fios box to my network terminal, to be able to upgrade to Gigabit. The third year of my two years contract (sigh) is over Dec 28, so I'll be looking seriously at my options this Fall or Winter.

  14. We cut cable years ago and I couldn't be happier. Don't have wired phone service either so no cord there and no "bundles" needed. Pay a small amount for internet service, stream Netflix, have an antenna with solid local channels, and tons of free stuff to watch via Hoopla, YouTube, Vudu and more. Also have 4K Blu-rays and Movies Anywhere.

    Why would I ever go back to spending $100+ a month for a ton of horrible channels that show commercials? Answer is I won't. The only commercials I see are when local channels are playing through the antenna.

    What I love about streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and all the others is the fact they set a price and you know what it is. There is no surprise. The cable company has a package, then adds fees and equipment, "broadcast fees" (for the channels you can watch for free if you don't watch it through them). It's endless. Then on top of that you have to go haggle with them once a year to get back to a reasonable rate. Netflix, Amazon, Disney +, Criterion streaming, Hulu, etc. is the same price for me, you and everyone else.

    For anyone "fearing" they can't survive with out this or that channel, then I guess they should keep cable. Frankly though, I have more options than ever and if I miss a channel, so what. I'll never be able to watch all the good, commercial-free stuff available as it is. And if worse comes to worse, just stream / buy / rent that show or movie.

  15. I live outside of my home city and still love to watch all the sports teams from my home town.
    As far as I can figure the only way for me to watch them is to have cable or satellite so I’m staying with it until I don’t care anymore I guess.

  16. DaveF

    How is the FireTV Recast DVR user experience compared to TiVo?

    So far I really like it. Full disclosure I haven’t had TiVo. I also need to double check and see if there are system wide recording defaults (like end at one minute past, etc). You can set them per show being recorded, but I haven’t figured out if I can do it as a system default. While you can record up to 4 shows at once depending on the model, you can only watch/stream 2 at a time. I really like the iOS app- I can see what’s on live now and see what I have recorded. You can also stream live and recorded TV to your phone/tablet. I love no service fees.

    If you really like TiVo, the bolt works with an over the air antenna. It only has some streaming services built in, but I can’t remember which ones, and you can’t record off of them to the best of my knowledge.

  17. David Deeb

    We cut cable years ago and I couldn't be happier. Don't have wired phone service either so no cord there and no "bundles" needed. Pay a small amount for internet service, stream Netflix, have an antenna with solid local channels, and tons of free stuff to watch via Hoopla, YouTube, Vudu and more. Also have 4K Blu-rays and Movies Anywhere.

    Why would I ever go back to spending $100+ a month for a ton of horrible channels that show commercials? Answer is I won't. The only commercials I see are when local channels are playing through the antenna.

    What I love about streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and all the others is the fact they set a price and you know what it is. There is no surprise. The cable company has a package, then adds fees and equipment, "broadcast fees" (for the channels you can watch for free if you don't watch it through them). It's endless. Then on top of that you have to go haggle with them once a year to get back to a reasonable rate. Netflix, Amazon, Disney +, Criterion streaming, Hulu, etc. is the same price for me, you and everyone else.

    For anyone "fearing" they can't survive with out this or that channel, then I guess they should keep cable. Frankly though, I have more options than ever and if I miss a channel, so what. I'll never be able to watch all the good, commercial-free stuff available as it is. And if worse comes to worse, just stream / buy / rent that show or movie.

    I think there are so many great shows available via Amazon/Netflix/Hulu that you will quickly replace anything you watch now.

    You bring up a good point about other fees. Comcast (Xfinity) was advertising what sounded like a pretty decent bundle price for internet and basic cable. When I read the fine print on the back they mentioned that there was a $10 local programming fee, an $8 regional sports fee, plus $10 for DVR service and $10 per TV for equipment. For me that’s an extra $78 above their advertised price (5 TVs). I understand that the DVR and equipment charges will vary on a per customer basis depending on what the customer’s needs are, but since everyone has to pay the local and sports fees ($18) they should be including that in the base price. It’s like seeing a a box of cereal advertised to $2.99 at the store and getting charged for the box it comes in when you are checking out.

  18. David Deeb

    We cut cable years ago and I couldn't be happier. Don't have wired phone service either so no cord there and no "bundles" needed. Pay a small amount for internet service, stream Netflix, have an antenna with solid local channels, and tons of free stuff to watch via Hoopla, YouTube, Vudu and more. Also have 4K Blu-rays and Movies Anywhere.
    .

    I guess how small and how fast?

    Locally – we have two broadband choice.

    Assuming you only get Internet and aren't interested in Service Roulette:
    1) Spectrum lower speed/lowest priced for a current customer — 200mbps $70 per month (45 intro, but since I'm a customer it's not available). Actually I'm on a 60mbps grandfathered Time Warner plan currently, but I still wouldn't qualify as a new customer without leaving spectrum for 30-90days.
    2) ATT — 5 or 25 $40 or $50 per month. If we were on or near a fiber ATT (should be local by 2045) I actually might consider rotating providers.
    3) the only other option I have are some form of old dial up I think which is useless and satellite which too slow for anything useful and far more expensive.

  19. TonyD

    I live outside of my home city and still love to watch all the sports teams from my home town.
    As far as I can figure the only way for me to watch them is to have cable or satellite so I’m staying with it until I don’t care anymore I guess.

    I get that. For us, we just care about the Seahawks, and every game is broadcast on local channels, so we are covered with the antenna. I bet in the near future there will be more streaming options for sports.

  20. David Norman

    I guess how small and how fast?

    Locally – we have two broadband choice.

    Assuming you only get Internet and aren't interested in Service Roulette:
    1) Spectrum lower speed/lowest priced for a current customer — 200mbps $70 per month (45 intro, but since I'm a customer it's not available). Actually I'm on a 60mbps grandfathered Time Warner plan currently, but I still wouldn't qualify as a new customer without leaving spectrum for 30-90days.
    2) ATT — 5 or 25 $40 or $50 per month. If we were on or near a fiber ATT (should be local by 2045) I actually might consider rotating providers.
    3) the only other option I have are some form of old dial up I think which is useless and satellite which too slow for anything useful and far more expensive.

    We have the choice of 10-12Mb DSL for $30 or up to 1GB cable. We pay $59 all in for either 100 or 150Mb (can’t remember which). Not having reliable high speed internet does make it harder to say goodbye to cable.

  21. Scenario and how this would work with Streaming

    College Football or MLB games or NFL Sunday. With my 6 tuner TIVO I can tune to 6 different games and flip between them with a 0.5 second switch time and 30 minute buffers on each game — or fully record all 6 at once, Essentially I can mostly watch multiple games simultaneously — no it;s not exactly possibly, but most sports fans know what I'm talking about

    When watch 2 or 3 games via streaming how does this work?

    I tried MLB network on my ROKU last year and had the choice of watching most every game every day, but watching more than one was a major pain, switching between games took 15-30 seconds at least, backing up/replays/slow motion was even more difficult — trying to watch a bang- bang play with a framebyframe slow motion I don;t think was even possible. Now the MLB/ROKU was far cheaper esp since I only subscribed with the Fathers Day special — rest of the season for $50 or something similar. I'll probably do the same thing this year, but it's far less useful than my old DirecTV Extra Innings package.

  22. TonyD

    As far as I can figure the only way for me to watch them is to have cable or satellite so I’m staying with it until I don’t care anymore I guess.

    Adam Gregorich

    I bet in the near future there will be more streaming options for sports.

    I could be misreading what you guys are saying but just to be sure – all the streaming services have your local sports just like cable would for half the cost…

  23. David Norman

    When watch 2 or 3 games via streaming how does this work?

    I can only speak for YouTube TV as that's what I use. When you are watching something you hit "menu" and, while what you are watching continues playing in the background, it brings up other programs it has learned you are interested in that you can switch to.

    View attachment 58159

    As I take this at 6am on a Sunday morning it recommends news shows for me. This afternoon it will be all sports. If you watch a lot of movies that's what you'd get. It learns you habits very well.

    Another option would be that it allows you to customize the order your channels are in, so you can group all the spirts channels together, hit back, and go easily to something else, all the while the current game plays in the background.

    David Norman

    I tried MLB network on my ROKU last year and had the choice of watching most every game every day, but watching more than one was a major pain, switching between games took 15-30 seconds at least, backing up/replays/slow motion was even more difficult — trying to watch a bang- bang play with a framebyframe slow motion I don;t think was even possible.

    If what you are talking about is MLB TV (MLB Network is a channel) – on Apple TV you can watch any 2 games side by side, live. You can back up at any time just by moving your thumb across the track pad, but slow motion is not possible. The other games are always accessible at the bottom of the page, so you can switch either of the 2 games without leaving that screen.

  24. Cranston37

    I could be misreading what you guys are saying but just to be sure – all the streaming services have your local sports just like cable would for half the cost…

    I think you misread Tony as he's from Philly that is retired in Florida so he's watching his Philly teams in the sunshine state.

  25. I have the Recast as well, and I do like it, but it has a few small deficiencies that I wish Amazon would address in future models (if there are any). It only records up to 720p. That works fine if I'm recording something in SD from one of the sub channels or shows that are broadcast on ABC or Fox in 720p anyway. But CBS and NBC 1080i shows don't look great in 720p when shown on a 4K TV. The image is tolerable, but that's about it.

    I also don't like that when you schedule a series recording, it records the show whether it's new or a rerun. My cable company DVR allows me to program whether I want all showings or just new ones, and the Recast doesn't have that feature.

    Otherwise, I'm very happy and could possibly see a time when I might cut the cable company cord and just use over-the-air broadcasts plus the streaming services I subscribe to.

  26. Robert Crawford

    I think you misread Tony as he's from Philly that is retired in Florida so he's watching his Philly teams in the Sunshine state.

    In that case you could subscribe to one of the sport services like MLB TV, etc, and that would certainly allow you to dump cable/satellite…*

    *this does not count as me helping a Philly sports fan, which goes against every fiber of my being 😉

  27. Cranston37

    In that case you could subscribe to one of the sport services like MLB TV, etc, and that would certainly allow you to dump cable/satellite…*

    *this does not count as me helping a Philly sports fan, which goes against every fiber of my being 😉

    I think Tony already knows that and probably has MLB TV, but it's still not as good as DirecTV's Extra Innings quality-wise. Anyhow, if the NFL changes the Sunday Ticket then I might have to make some changes too.

  28. Robert Crawford

    I think Tony already knows that and probably has MLB TV, but it's still not as good as DirecTV's Extra Innings quality-wise. Anyhow, if the NFL changes the Sunday Ticket then I might have to make some changes too.

    I feel like I'm having an entire conversation with Tony without actually talking to Tony

  29. Adam Gregorich

    So far I really like it. Full disclosure I haven’t had TiVo. I also need to double check and see if there are system wide recording defaults (like end at one minute past, etc). You can set them per show being recorded, but I haven’t figured out if I can do it as a system default. While you can record up to 4 shows at once depending on the model, you can only watch/stream 2 at a time. I really like the iOS app- I can see what’s on live now and see what I have recorded. You can also stream live and recorded TV to your phone/tablet. I love no service fees.

    TiVo has lifetime subscription options (no monthly recurring fee). So it’s a question of price vs quality. I didn’t know if you compared the experience and features of the two relative to their cost.

    Previously, just a couple years ago, TiVo was a premium price, but was indisputably the best DVR. It’s still a premium price, but I have no idea how it compares to amazon’s or other new products.

  30. Adam Gregorich

    So far I really like it. Full disclosure I haven’t had TiVo. I also need to double check and see if there are system wide recording defaults (like end at one minute past, etc). You can set them per show being recorded, but I haven’t figured out if I can do it as a system default.

    Update: I found it in the menu, there are system wide recording defaults.

  31. Matt Hough

    I have the Recast as well, and I do like it, but it has a few small deficiencies that I wish Amazon would address in future models (if there are any). It only records up to 720p. That works fine if I'm recording something in SD from one of the sub channels or shows that are broadcast on ABC or Fox in 720p anyway. But CBS and NBC 1080i shows don't look great in 720p when shown on a 4K TV. The image is tolerable, but that's about it.

    I also don't like that when you schedule a series recording, it records the show whether it's new or a rerun. My cable company DVR allows me to program whether I want all showings or just new ones, and the Recast doesn't have that feature.

    Otherwise, I'm very happy and could possibly see a time when I might cut the cable company cord and just use over-the-air broadcasts plus the streaming services I subscribe to.

    I do see where the recast streams to the fire devices in 720. It would be nice if there was an update that let you choose if you wanted to do this based on your network and equipment: Fire TV Recast transcodes 1080i streams to a resolution up to 1440 x 720p using H.264. This is to ensure that all Fire TV streaming media players work with Fire TV Recast, and to deliver more reliable video streams over Wi-Fi.

    Regarding recording new vs reruns there is an option where you can set it system wide, but as soon as you schedule a series to record, you can go into its recording options and under recording preference select new or all episodes. I agree it would be nice if they prompted you for which option you wanted when you are first scheduling it, like they prompt you for which channels you want to record it on. It’s doable, it just requires you to do an added step.

  32. Cranston37

    If what you are talking about is MLB TV (MLB Network is a channel) – on Apple TV you can watch any 2 games side by side, live. You can back up at any time just by moving your thumb across the track pad, but slow motion is not possible. The other games are always accessible at the bottom of the page, so you can switch either of the 2 games without leaving that screen.

    Yes sorry — MLBTV streaming service not MLB Network the station.

  33. Robert you are exactly right. And Yes a big part of my thing is a lifestyle of over 50 years of watching tv the way I’m used to and that includes the evolution of cable or satellite integration.
    So changing from that is a huge change in the way things are for me.
    My wife couldn’t care less.

    I get the Basaball package on Dtv which includes a “free” MLBTV and MLB AtBat app subscription.

    PQ on the mlb apps and mlbtv is actually better then live tv at 60fps but the ability to record and watch a game on regular tv is much easier for my viewing enjoyment.
    But I can live with the streaming version if it came down to it. Plus it’s much cheaper.

    This don’t subscribe to Flyers or Sixers but still manages to watch almost every game.
    Eagles are the tough one.
    Only Dtv has NFL so I need to keep that if I want all Eagle games.

    If it came down to it we could cut the cord.
    I’m not counting it out but we pay $110 for Dtv plus the baseball package so it isn’t out of hand.

    Everything detailed in the op is way beyond anything I want to do right now. I’m sure I could do all that with not much issue but just not now.

    I have a ton of admiration for you guys who are doing this.
    I’m just not there now and may never be.
    I’d have to buy a dvr anyway because I rarely I’d ever watch anything live so That’s another thing I’d have to address.

    I love reading this kind of topic though very interesting seeing what people are doing to cut the cord.

    Edited to add that I do need to call my WiFi provider to get that lowered.
    I’ve been out of contract on that for a year now and the $90 a month for 150-300+ internet speed
    Might be too much.

    One other thing. Those that subscribe to the mlb atbat app have access to the mlb network on the app. Not sure if that is the same as a sub to mlbtv.com

  34. I’m not sure yet – well, I’m really not sure about how I’d go about any of this yet – but I think I might skip the antenna portion altogether. Right now, there’s only two programs I watch on broadcast networks, and both are shows that are now in the habit of doing short seasons with breaks between seasons that last over a year, and one of those shows is in its last year (or maybe last two years), and another is likely to be canceled.

    I think I’m more worried about the idea of losing broadcast access in general more than I’m actually concerned about losing access to a specific program. And I’m wondering if that in and of itself is enough to justify the efforts on an antenna.

  35. Adam Gregorich

    Regarding recording new vs reruns there is an option where you can set it system wide, but as soon as you schedule a series to record, you can go into its recording options and under recording preference select new or all episodes. I agree it would be nice if they prompted you for which option you wanted when you are first scheduling it, like they prompt you for which channels you want to record it on. It’s doable, it just requires you to do an added step.

    I guess I need to keep digging. I haven't found that option yet, but I'll look for it later tonight.

  36. I got rid of cable and satellite maybe 15 years ago and have never looked back. I am fortunate in that I live only about 15 miles away from the broadcast towers for most stations. I have my antenna [the exact Yagi you started with] mounted on my rear side deck and get over 90 channels, of which maybe 40 are unique and interesting.

    My particular installations [this house and the prior one] have been relatively straightforward but I faced similar challenges as you when I did an installation for a friend who lives well outside of the metro area. That ended up being an attic installation using the Clearstream 2 Max.

    Thanks for posting your experience. I love reading accounts of persistence paying off in the end.

  37. I cut the cord on Cable TV years back. Nothing on anyway. Don't miss a thing.
    I just use Hulu $12 bucks a month for the old stuff they have on.
    I have more DVD's Laser Disc & VHS tapes then I can watch. And more on the way.
    No need for cable TV. And I do have over the air, if I want it. But can't remember the last time I used it.

  38. I've never had CATV, friends with analog cable had all sorts of picture quality issues, that put me off. I have a UHF antenna and RCA preamp in the attic and iView STB3500ii DVR in the TV room that gives full HD picture quality. Rain on the roof or siding seldom causes signal strength problems. Live TV usually has the best quality but not all network shows are top quality. The iView works best with a self powered USB 7500rpm HDD. I use a hard wired Roku 3 for streaming, works great. Beware of re-encoding to reduce bandwidth in some of the streaming devices.
    Make sure the antenna down feed is well grounded at the TV, you don't want secondary lightning current flowing thru your TV or AV system.

  39. Question.
    I have a 2 story home and my antenna is in a second floor space avarice my garage.
    My signal is good at the antenna. The coax goes down to the first floor into a splitter. The feed at the splitter is still ok but when it goes to the out by my tv on the first floor the signal is barely making it. As a result sometimes the signals works and sometimes not.
    So. When I run a cable direct from the splitter to my tv I get decent signal about 30% or so.

    Question I’m trying to answer. Do I need / try a pre amp or a distribution amplifier. Or both?

    I’m an using an hd stacker antenna.

    I’m in the Atlanta area but about 42 miles from Atlanta.

    Thanks!!!

  40. Osato

    Question.
    I have a 2 story home and my antenna is in a second floor space avarice my garage.
    My signal is good at the antenna. The coax goes down to the first floor into a splitter. The feed at the splitter is still ok but when it goes to the out by my tv on the first floor the signal is barely making it. As a result sometimes the signals works and sometimes not.
    So. When I run a cable direct from the splitter to my tv I get decent signal about 30% or so.

    Question I’m trying to answer. Do I need / try a pre amp or a distribution amplifier. Or both?

    I’m an using an hd stacker antenna.

    I’m in the Atlanta area but about 42 miles from Atlanta.

    Thanks!!!

    If you could get F to F (barrel?) connector to temporarily bypass your splitter allowing the antenna to be connected to only one TV and check your signal strength on the TV it might give you an idea. If you see an improvement I would recommend a distribution amp to replace your splitter. Depending on how many outputs your splitter has it could be having a large negative impact.

  41. Osato

    Question.
    I have a 2 story home and my antenna is in a second floor space avarice my garage.
    My signal is good at the antenna. The coax goes down to the first floor into a splitter. The feed at the splitter is still ok but when it goes to the out by my tv on the first floor the signal is barely making it. As a result sometimes the signals works and sometimes not.
    So. When I run a cable direct from the splitter to my tv I get decent signal about 30% or so.

    Question I’m trying to answer. Do I need / try a pre amp or a distribution amplifier. Or both?

    I’m an using an hd stacker antenna.

    I’m in the Atlanta area but about 42 miles from Atlanta.

    Thanks!!!

    In my case, I use a bullet (also called "insertion" or satellite) amp at the antennas, with a power injector later in the line. You can't have any splitters between the power injector and amp, unless they are bi-directional ones designed to pass the power back to the amp. I did it that way simply because if you need to amplify the signal, it's best to do it at as far upline as possible. I have a good, strong signal at all my (4) TVs, from transmitters that are about 70 miles away.

  42. JohnRice

    In my case, I use a bullet (also called "insertion" or satellite) amp at the antennas, with a power injector later in the line. You can't have any splitters between the power injector and amp, unless they are bi-directional ones designed to pass the power back to the amp. I did it that way simply because if you need to amplify the signal, it's best to do it at as far upline as possible. I have a good, strong signal at all my (4) TVs, from transmitters that are about 70 miles away.

    I’m feeling a bit silly. It never occurred to me to just bypass the splitter.
    I currently and will most likely only have 1 tv hooked up to the antenna. That could solve it for now. In the future if I want the line split I could then order the distribution amp.

    Is the insertion amp used to amplify, boost or power the signal like the pre amp?

  43. Osato

    Is the insertion amp used to amplify, boost or power the signal like the pre amp?

    The difference between an insertion amp and a distribution amp is the insertion amp amplifies the signal at the source, or the antenna in the case before any additional signal loss. Distribution amps are installed where you split the signal, after it's already degraded. Insertion amps have two components. 1, the actual amplifier and 2, the power supply. The amplifier installs inline at the antenna, then the power supply (power injector) goes inline later, where you have A/C available. It sends power back through the cable to the amplifier. They were invented for satellite systems, where the satellite dish might be hundreds of feet away, as a way to amplify the signal at the dish, even if there was no power available there.

  44. I appreciate the knowledge and information that is being shared here.
    I’m going to try running the connection direct and bypassing the splitter as I really don’t need it at this point.

    Eventually I would like to get connections throughout the house so I’ll have to figure out what I need. I’m motivated by cost of course too.

    John – is there an insertion amp that you recommend?

  45. In the NY City area both Hulu TV and Youtube TV don't carry the local CW station (WPIX 11) and the PBS station (WNET 13). Is this true everywhere? In addition these happen to be the two local stations I can't get using an antenna. It is a big deterrent that stops me from considering giving up cable when my contract expires later this year.

  46. I can’t speak to CW content, but a great deal of PBS content is available for free through their website and app – that may be worth looking into if you haven’t already. The PBS stuff you watch may be on it already.

  47. A slew of PBS programs are also available via Hoopla – a free digital streaming service available through many public libraries.

    You borrow digital movies & TV series via your Roku, Apple TV or Firestick just like you would check-out a library book – except you don't drive to the library. You can also borrow digital books, comics and music through it.

  48. Update…

    Splitter removed and problems resolved. Signals are at 70-92% depending on the channel.

    Very pleased! Thanks again!!

    PBS in Atlanta comes in great!!
    Good to go with Fox as well for Saturday baseball!!

  49. That was a good post Adam, I felt like I was there! The jaw dropping line for me was, "After testing, I pulled the pole and antennas down to install new coax." Man, once I get something working I *never* redo anything; I'm that lazy.

    I threw up an antenna about 25 years ago. Mine is on a middle peak, so everyone can see it. I consider it a badge of honor. My wife rolls her eyes but is otherwise okay with it. Best part of my story is I got two of the mongo "tradition" antennas from Radio Shack for $10 because they were the last two they had and they wanted to get them out of their store -AND- Radio Shack had someone who would install it on my roof for $79.

    Sports is a problem, but my wife and I find we enjoy going out to local pubs to get out of the house to watch the games. So in the end we wind up spending about the same amount of money each month during baseball season, but I feel like I'm getting more fun for my money.

  50. Adam, glad you did this thread as I was kind of in the middle of experimenting with cord cutting.

    Last year we were at my family's house in Florida and they showed me how they had a Roku, Hulu and OTA. Slick set up. Problem for me was I was feeding 4 TV's, so I wasn't sure I wanted to deal with 4 Roku's. I also had my wife and son write down what channels they wanted so I could compare. I've been running OTA HD to my theater with a little antenna that sits in the gutter above my front door and works surprisingly well. I tried a bigger antenna a few years ago on a pole on the back of the house but the antenna was garbage. Looks like there's much better options out there now. So, after comparing Hulu, Direct Now, You Tube, Sling, Vue vs. Cox Cable or Direct, I couldn't get everything we wanted.

    Jump ahead to this year and I ran the comparison's again. Hulu seemed to deliver more and the DVR capability was attractive. The other thing I found was IPTV. If you haven't checked it out, there's a thread on Reddit that was informative. Basically, the providers stream up to 7000 channels from around the world. For about $15 a month. It's really quite insane but I question the legality of it. So I am trying Hulu with DVR, Showtime added on, and an IPTV for backup in addition to Netflix and Prime which we already had. The cost of all this is slightly over $100 a month, saving me $90 a month off my cable bill as it stands.

    The main thing I'm having trouble with is the quality of the live streams. I'm used to the quality of picture and sound cable delivers. I've been doing A/B comparisons and cable keeps winning every time. Not sure if I can give that up.

    I've been researching outside antennas again as I'd like to run an OTA signals to all the TV's using the existing cable run in the house. Just have to figure out how to do that.

  51. PatWahlquist

    Adam, glad you did this thread as I was kind of in the middle of experimenting with cord cutting.

    Last year we were at my family's house in Florida and they showed me how they had a Roku, Hulu and OTA. Slick set up. Problem for me was I was feeding 4 TV's, so I wasn't sure I wanted to deal with 4 Roku's. I also had my wife and son write down what channels they wanted so I could compare. I've been running OTA HD to my theater with a little antenna that sits in the gutter above my front door and works surprisingly well. I tried a bigger antenna a few years ago on a pole on the back of the house but the antenna was garbage. Looks like there's much better options out there now. So, after comparing Hulu, Direct Now, You Tube, Sling, Vue vs. Cox Cable or Direct, I couldn't get everything we wanted.

    Jump ahead to this year and I ran the comparison's again. Hulu seemed to deliver more and the DVR capability was attractive. The other thing I found was IPTV. If you haven't checked it out, there's a thread on Reddit that was informative. Basically, the providers stream up to 7000 channels from around the world. For about $15 a month. It's really quite insane but I question the legality of it. So I am trying Hulu with DVR, Showtime added on, and an IPTV for backup in addition to Netflix and Prime which we already had. The cost of all this is slightly over $100 a month, saving me $90 a month off my cable bill as it stands.

    The main thing I'm having trouble with is the quality of the live streams. I'm used to the quality of picture and sound cable delivers. I've been doing A/B comparisons and cable keeps winning every time. Not sure if I can give that up.

    I've been researching outside antennas again as I'd like to run an OTA signals to all the TV's using the existing cable run in the house. Just have to figure out how to do that.

    I had a good experience with this retailer about antennas.

    http://www.dennysantennaservice.com/hd_stacker_tv_antenna-html.html

    I even connected over the phone and email with him.

    Mine stacker antenna is indoors above my garage and I’m getting great signal. I’m using the cabling that was put in the house for cable tv. I just did a bit of reworking with cables in the garage. Pushed the exterior line inside so that it could be inside up to my space above the garage.

  52. PatWahlquist

    Adam, glad you did this thread as I was kind of in the middle of experimenting with cord cutting.

    The main thing I'm having trouble with is the quality of the live streams. I'm used to the quality of picture and sound cable delivers. I've been doing A/B comparisons and cable keeps winning every time. Not sure if I can give that up.

    I've been researching outside antennas again as I'd like to run an OTA signals to all the TV's using the existing cable run in the house. Just have to figure out how to do that.

    Your mileage will verify with streaming. Using your existing cabling is pretty easy. just follow it back to the splitter and if needed replace it with a distribution amp. Hook your antenna to the input (of the splitter or amp) and you are good to go.

  53. Adam Gregorich

    Your mileage will verify with streaming. Using your existing cabling is pretty easy. just follow it back to the splitter and if needed replace it with a distribution amp. Hook your antenna to the input (of the splitter or amp) and you are good to go.

    I had trouble with my splitter as the signal will / degrade. So I’m running a direct line to my tv by bypassing the splitter. You can test the signal on your tv to see if you need something to amplify signal. This was my debate on earlier posts.

  54. Osato

    I had trouble with my splitter as the signal will / degrade. So I’m running a direct line to my tv by bypassing the splitter. You can test the signal on your tv to see if you need something to amplify signal. This was my debate on earlier posts.

    In my case a splitter was degrading my signal, but I have multiple TVs and an Amazon FireCast DVR, so I picked up a distribution AMP instead. I found them in 4 and 8 port versions.

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