So… you’ve pretty much made up your mind you want to “Cut the Cord” and eliminate, or at least greatly reduce, what it costs you to watch what you like to watch on your TV? You’ve finally decided that paying for a lot of channels you never watch isn’t such a great deal after all and the price for watching the things you want to watch has skyrocketed over the last few years. It may sound strange but you’re joining an ever increasing number of people that feel the same way or are just plain tired of paying so much for what is generally called, entertainment. For some, the expense is just no longer affordable and they have to cut the cost to make ends meet. For others, the cost compared to value really doesn’t appear worth the expense anymore.
Okay, I admit what I’ve said so far sounds just a little like I’m being negative and that may be somewhat true. Even though watching TV for many has become quite expensive, they just consider it to be what it costs for them to view their favorite types of entertainment. They reason they don’t go to the movie theatres anymore and it is just a fraction of what it would cost to watch the same movie in a theatre. The only thing they sacrifice by watching it at home is that great big screen and possibly the expensive sound system. Even with that being said, it still appears that more and more people want to cut back on what they spend to watch TV but just don’t know exactly how to go about this thing called “Cutting the Cord.”
Truth be told, it is very possible to watch a lot of programming without the expense of paying Cable, Satellite or other providers but there are several things to consider before actually doing it. What follows is a short list of questions you need to ask yourself before actually taking the big step of “Cutting the Cord.”
• First – You absolutely need to know what your expectations are for viewing your desired entertainment on your TV or TVs in your home without that entertainment being delivered by a Cable, Satellite, Telephone or other type company.
• Second – What are your favorite shows and are they generally available on your local and network affiliated stations? Do you watch a lot of sports programming or do you expect to be able to watch certain favorite teams throughout the different sports seasons?
• Third – If you expect to use programming delivered by the internet, will your presently delivered internet speed be fast enough to handle the extra load of live streaming of programming without a lot of frustrating buffering?
• Forth – When you get rid of your set top box which allows you to view the programming from any of the providers, is your TV capable of processing the programming available to you without that set top box?
• Fifth – Do you record some or much of the programming you regularly watch for viewing at a more convenient time according to your schedule?
This list is by no means all that needs to be considered but is definitely a good place to start. If I tried to cover each one of them in just one article/podcast, the importance of these items might easily be lost simply because of information overload. That would defeat the whole purpose in writing and talking about these items because it is more desirable that you better understand this process before taking such a step rather than after.
I recognize and I am willing to admit some of you may know more about this process than I do but judging from some of the calls I get and questions asked about off-air reception and “cutting the cord”, many do not. My intention is to make it a bit simpler for those that aren’t as computer and technology literate as others and don’t fully understand all this new “stuff”, how it is being combined with the old way of watching TV and the way I think things are heading in the not-so-distant future.
Admittedly, some of this is speculation on my part and some of it may or may not happen the way I believe it will, but, you can rest assured, changes are coming to the way you watch TV and your favorite programming. Some of the changes are already here even though some don’t use or know how to best use them as yet. The biggest concern I have is just how fast those changes are going to happen. That’s why I want you to stay informed and not be intimidated by them. Hopefully, by visiting this site often and taking advantage of the information it contains, you’ll be better able to do that.
Now that I’ve said all that, I want to take on the first thing in the list above here and now. That’s because I think it is the one that takes the least explanation, but is the probably the least considered and understood part of “Cutting the Cord.”
Let me ask you a question… Do you really understand what is available to view through off-air antenna reception in your area? Most people don’t really understand or separate in their thinking what is actually the “local” broadcast programming from what is called “cable” programming or “pay TV” and that is part of what needs to be understood before making a final decision about “cutting the cord.”
Over the years of receiving programming from what are commonly called “cable programming” or “pay TV” providers like a Cable, Satellite or a Telephone company, many people no longer separate the two in their understanding of what they like to watch and where and why it is available to them. Unfortunately, with some of the advertising abundantly available through different types of media, the issue has been somewhat confused. Some actually think all or, at least, most of their favorite programs are available to them ‘if only’ they had that new indoor antenna they see and hear about in those advertisements. (I talked about this in the previous article/podcast, “New Indoor Antennas – Don’t Be Fooled by the Advertising.” You may want to check it out again to refresh your memory.)
I won’t take the time right now to talk about those new indoor antennas and how they may or may not work for you but you do need to understand what is and is not available from an indoor or outdoor antenna for you to watch.
In think the easiest way to describe what is available from an off-air antenna is in this way. Take all of the channels included in your programming package from your “pay TV” provider and eliminate all but what are considered to be your local broadcast stations. That means no ESPN, no Fox News Channel, no CNN and definitely no specialty channels like HGTV, Discovery, Disney or Hallmark. That only leaves your local broadcast stations which in many markets means, ABC, CBS, NBC, local FOX, PBS, the CW, possibly several Spanish language channels and maybe a specialty channel or two like METV (Memorable Entertainment TV.)
That’s it – Only what is being broadcast in your area from you local broadcaster’s transmission towers will be available for you to receive from your antenna without cost. (Remember, without cost means you don’t have to pay to watch them but you will likely have to invest in some equipment to be able to receive them, like an antenna of some sort or converter if you have a very old TV.)
Of course, whether or not you can receive any or all of them depends on several variables that I won’t go into in this article/podcast but will try to cover more fully in another one soon. At any rate, this is important to remember and does have to be considered if you are contemplating “cutting the cord.”
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© August 14, 2015 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, The Norman TV View, Norman-TV.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions
All music used is Two Buck Themes by Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated