If there’s one thing that I love about you, my loyal readers, it’s how responsive you are. Sometimes you like what you read, other times not so much. Now and then you simply need more information. But no matter what, I can always count on hearing from you. Which brings me to what I wrote on pulling the plug on subscription pay-TV. It brought a huge response.
According to this 2012 article from NPD Group, the average pay-TV bill was predicted to hit $123 per month by 2015—more than $1,400 a year—and will hit $200 ($2,400 a year) in 2020. So far the predictions are right on the money.
For many, that’s money that could be better used to build an emergency fund or pay off debt. No wonder that column struck a chord with so many readers.
The most-asked question had to do with the need for an antenna to receive free, local HD broadcasting. Which kind? Which one works best?
As I was fielding your messages, my husband and I were in the process of relocating. In 2015, we moved from California to northern Colorado. What a change from big city life in Orange County to a little village boasting a population of just 18,000. And what a perfect opportunity to test antennas to find the best way to enjoy free TV and quality programming in our new location.
To say there are many choices when it comes to TV antennas, would be quite an understatement. But not to worry. I’ve done the testing so you won’t have to.
The antennas that worked for us in California couldn’t do the job in our new, more remote area. My proving ground was the basement of our new home, where my husband had set up his workout area. Could there be a more challenging place to get great TV reception than underground, against a concrete wall, out in the boonies?
I’m happy to report that I found an antenna that’s up to the job and boy is it amazing.
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FlatWave Amped Indoor Amplified HDTV Antenna by Winegard gets my vote for the best option. If you’re ready to pull the plug, this is a one-time purchase that can go a long way to giving you the equivalent of a huge after-tax raise.
With this antenna, we can get every HD broadcast channel from the Denver area and even a few from Wyoming. The picture quality is fabulous with very few—if any—dropouts. And here’s the funny thing: the FlatWave antenna is jammed behind a water pipe, up against a subterranean concrete wall—nowhere close to a window. And it works like a champ!
Is it time for you to pull the plug on your cable or satellite TV service? That’s a question only you can answer. If that’s just a bit too extreme for now, consider cutting back on your service by selecting a new plan. Find out if you can drop channels you never watch. Ask for a cheaper plan in exchange for not cancelling altogether. Do you research. Take a look at this excellent overview of options, especially if you are new to streaming.
I can tell you that with all of the local HD quality programming available to you for free, plus Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, plus a streaming box like the Roku, you’ll be set with more TV and movie entertainment than you have time to watch.
What’s more, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video aren’t your only options. A number of networks have standalone apps like the $15/month HBO NOW, which lets subscribers stream HBO without a cable TV package.
First published: 6-28-15; revised & updated with new information 9-16-19.