by Stacy Taylor
*this post contains an affiliate link
One of my pet peeves is paying for something that used to be free. When we moved to the country one thing we discovered was that TV reception was poor at best. Everyone told us we would have to get a cable or satellite subscription if we wanted to watch TV. As you can guess I immediately went on a mission to defeat that issue. When we lived in the city we had an * antenna in the attic that provided excellent reception – that was before digital TV. Once we moved here we were able to get acceptable reception with the same set-up. Then came the digital change.
First we had to either get a converter or buy a new TV. We were able to obtain a converter for free through the FCC program but then there was the issue of signal strength and this proved much more difficult. As you all know the digital signal is weaker and much more finicky than the old analog signal. But I refused to give up. First I installed a booster on the antenna. This helped, but we would regularly lose reception to weather conditions and the signal was still weak so the picture was less than stellar.
Next I tried mounting the antenna as high in the attic as possible – still very unreliable partially due to our solar decking in the attic blocking the signal. I contacted a local TV service company who reported they could install an antenna on a 30′ mast and run the necessary cables for $600. Well $600 will get several months of cable TV. I almost caved in and subscribed to cable. But I decided if raising the antenna was the problem I would mount it as high on the roof as possible. After installing the proper bracket and pole to the peak of the roof and properly grounding against lightning I was able to get the antenna about 25′ up (our roof peek is about 20′ and the pole is 5′). BINGO! Once the antenna was up in the air and clear of our solar decking the reception improved dramatically. I then went online and found the station locator and with a compass set the antenna exactly where it needed to be. We live approximately 75 miles from the Dallas towers, which is considered the fringe area and means all of our station signals are weak but 90% of the time we have an 80%+ signal strength. We have 42 channels available. Not bad for a one time investment of about $150.
Now broadcast TV is sometimes less than tolerable now days. Cable and satellite offer many more channels but most of them are repetitive or of no interest to a lot of people. Thanks to a relative we discovered a little-known device called a * Roku. If you have DSL internet and a wireless modem then this is better than cable and is a one time purchase of less than $90 (base model is about $50). The Roku gives you access to hundreds of free internet-based channels including movies. Now don’t confuse this with cable, there are no “live” broadcasts through this device but news is broadcast after the fact, and countless shows are available on a replay basis. One of my favorite Roku channels is Crackle, it’s essentially Netflix with a 30 second commercial every 20 minutes or so and it is absolutely free. There are also home improvement channels as well as cooking, DIY, documentaries, old movies and cartoon channels. And guys, there are hunting and fishing channels too. So for a one-time expense of about $200 we have broadcast TV and the next best thing to cable, but without the monthly bill.
If you live in a rural area don’t give up on affordable TV. And if you live in the city, still look into the Roku. Cut that cable bill your bank account will love you.
* Affiliate Links – We are currently enrolled as an Amazon Affiliate (others could be added in the future) Occasionally I will insert an affiliate link into one of my posts if I think it may be of interest to you. If you click on one of those links and buy something (almost anything, not just what was linked) I get a small referral percentage from them – the price you pay for those items is UNCHANGED.
When you buy something through the affiliate link it’s a great way to support this blog without anything coming out of your pocket so click often!
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