So… You’re thinking about cutting the cord? Well, there are several things you need to consider before you actually do. In fact, you may be someone asking; What does “cutting the cord,” actually mean. That’s a good question and for those of you that might be asking, it means getting rid of “paid programming” from providers such as a cable company, a satellite company or some other programming provider. I won’t be talking about any particular delivery system in this article although I will mention certain ones in articles planned for the near future.
You may be wondering what the reasons are that many people are considering cutting the cord and going back to what some would call the “old days” when it comes to watching television? Well the easiest and most often heard answers I hear are probably; “because it’s just becoming too expensive” and “I pay for a lot of things that I don’t even watch.”
These days, I often have people ask me what they can actually receive from an off air antenna because they are considering “cutting the cord” and reducing their cost for watching television. Usually, they’ve had people tell them they can receive almost everything off of an antenna or over the Internet that they now receive (and pay for) from their present programming provider. Although that is at least partially true, it is by no means what they have come to expect over the years of using either cable or satellite for their viewing pleasure.
Now, don’t misunderstand, those days are coming but aren’t here yet and the chances of them being delivered for no cost are fading also. (I talk more about that in a future article or two.)
Although it’s true it is possible to see certain things off of antenna and other things off of the Internet, most people that ask are not always prepared, nor do they fully understand, that some of the things they want to watch most may not be available and the process for viewing them may not be as easy to use as their present delivery system. That’s why I always ask them what their viewing habits are and often their answer is a mixture of programs available only through their cable or satellite company or available from cable or satellite as well as from antenna.
Unfortunately, we haven’t reached the point of “à la carte” viewing in the television industry, at least not yet. Although some things are available to be viewed in certain ways by the computer, Smartphone or other device, many are surprised to find that it’s not like watching the broadcast they’re used to watching from their cable or satellite provider.
I have even had people call me up wanting me to install an antenna and after asking a few of the above questions. I explain to them that they may not be able to watch everything they are used to watching. Often they say they don’t care about that they just watch the networks. Although it doesn’t happen often, sometimes they call me back asking how they can receive certain programming that is available only from a cable or satellite provider. They usually don’t like the answer I give them and either decide to do without that particular programming or return to their original provider at least in a reduced cost way. Sometimes they add it by some other means, although their options can be somewhat limited and they keep the antenna for use in reserve or on their non essential viewing areas.
At this point in time, there are two things that are most desired but not available through an off air antenna. Those would include what are called cable news such as CNN and the Fox News Channel and things like certain sports channels such as ESPN, Fox Sports and others. (Oh and one that is extremely popular in this area of Florida where I live is the Golf Channel.) Although it is true there are ways to receive these channels in some form or other through computer, it is generally not in the form that the person wants and likely has a fee attached in some form or other.
So here are three things that need to be considered before actually taking the leap of “cutting the cord” and going to a different form of programming delivery. (Usually people desire to make a change that comes with little to no cost other than the equipment required to receive it.)
• First – what channels do you watch the most? (More simply stated, what are your favorite channels?) Not everything is available by antenna over the air that you may be wanting to watch. If you watch mostly movies and “network” programming (by network I mean things like ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and PBS etc.), “cutting the cord” just might work for you. If you desire things like the regular programming from CNN, Fox News, ESPN or other sports channels, you really need to think it through before taking the leap.
• Second – How do you intend to receive that “free” programming? Will it be via antenna and off air broadcast only? Will it be through the Internet and the availability there or will it be through both of those particular mediums? Along with all of this, you need to know whether or not your television has the capability of receiving off air broadcast without a digital to analog converter or whether you will need one. It would also be good to know whether or not you plan on recording programming for viewing at a more convenient time.
• Third – What are the acceptable options for you to replace certain “cable” programs? Are they available to you through your Internet provider in a way convenient for you to watch and is your internet service at the speed necessary for “reasonably good viewing?” (In this case, what I mean by “reasonably good viewing” is, able to watch with no, or minimal interruptions for reloading (or buffering) as the computer folks like to say.)
(Let me mention right here and now that no matter what you’ve been told either through printed media or through commercials on television or elsewhere, an indoor antenna may or may not work for you at all. Although I’ve already talked about that in the article “Don’t Be Fooled By The Advertising” I will also be talking more about that later.) I often find many people have their Internet delivered at the minimum possible speed for a price they’re willing to pay. If you plan to receive more programming via the Internet, investing in higher-speed may be necessary, at least to minimize your frustration levels.
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© July 18, 2015 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman and Norman TV & Video Systems
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