Cut the Cord to Cable Television

If you want to learn how to get free tv, and have thought about cutting the cable cord from cable television this short article will show you how to cut the cable cord.

Now more than ever, you need to seriously think about how much money you are wasting with that cable subscription you have.  How many of those channels do you really watch?

I know how to do this firsthand because I did it a few months ago and here's proof. 

Old Cable Bill

Before Cutting the Cable
This bill included the rental of a modem, an HD DVR, HBO, my home phone, internet services and a sports pass.

New Cable bill
After Cutting the Cable

This bill is for internet service only.  The monthly savings is $128.57 per month.

The only thing I have given up on my new setup is HBO, which we rarely watched, and the sports pass.

The only additional costs are a monthly subscription to TIVO at $15 and an annual subscription to Magic Jack at $40.

I have used the savings to pay for a TIVO Roamio for recording programs, a cable modem the magic jack hardware, and the antenna and cabling I used.

I look at my setup as a high end arrangement and you can do this much cheaper than I did.

Believe me when I tell you that you can do this and cut your cable bill way down.

Save Money by cutting the cable cord

Cord Cutting 101

Before you call the cable company there is a little bit of research you must do first.

Steps for cutting the cord:

  1. You must have a digital ready television.  If your television was bought in the last couple of years you are probably alright, but if it is older than a couple of years you will wan to check.  It does not matter that you may have 1080 widescreen or not.  Your television must have a built-in digital tuner and not require a digital conversion box. If you do need a digital conversion box they are available for about $50.00. To determine if your current television has a digital tuner look on the set for wordings like, "Digital Tuner", "Digital Receiver", "DTV", "ATSC", "Integrated Digital Tuner", "Digital Tuner Built-In".  You can also possibly check with the manufacturers website.
  2. The next step is to determine what channels you can receive with a digital antenna, how far away the broadcast antennas are and in what direction.  This is a a very easy task to perform just got to  Once you are on the website, click the start button, enter your zip code and street address and answer the yes/no antenna question and click submit.  You will then be presented with a list of stations you can receive, their direction from your location and their distance.  The key element you want to take note of is the distance from your location to the furthest channel as this is the outer limit you want to reach.  Antennas are typically rated by the distance that they can receive a signal from.  In my case there are 55 stations available at a distance of around 32 miles at a compass heading of 321 degrees.  With that information you can now go shopping for an antenna.

Antenna Shopping:

cutting the cable cord

Depending on the distance from the broadcast towers you will have a number of different options available to you.  I do recommend that you get an antenna with a distance rating that exceeds your furthest station.  For example, my furthest station is 33 miles, but my antenna is actually rated for 65 miles.  This helps ensure that I will get a quality signal.

I am sort of the handyman type so I decided to put an antenna in my attic and run the cable to the television in our living room.  This may be more than you want to do, but I will show you what I did and then I will discuss some other options that are easier and less costly.

Installing an antenna in your attic is probably more than you want to do.  If I had to do it over again I would not do it.  First I would try one of the new indoor antennas that just plugs into a television like the cable, so cord cutting could not be easier.

With everyone cutting the cord because we are sick of paying for channels we never watch and never will watch, there have been some great advances in the indoor antenna market. You can now get indoor antennas that have a range of 50 miles like the UltraThin Indoor HDTV Antenna , The Mohu Leaf Super Thin Antenna or the 1byone® Super Thin Indoor HDTV Antenna.

These new indoor antennas work great and are priced so low you will recover their cost in a single month or even less.

Stop wasting your money buying access to crap you never watch.  Cut the Cord now.

My Indoor Antenna Adventure

My house is situated such that I cannot hook  up all my televisions to the attic antenna.  Part of my house has a cathedral ceiling that makes access from one end to the other not possible through the one attic opening that I used to install the attic antenna.  I suppose I could create another opening at the other end of the house, but for now I thought I would try an indoor antenna. My greatest concern with an indoor antenna is that I do not have any windows facing in the direction of the broadcast towers from the room where the television is located, so the signal is going to have to go through a couple of walls to be picked up by the antenna.

The indoor television antenna I bought was the 1byone® Super Thin Indoor HDTV Antenna with the amplifier.  The antenna is supposed to have a 50 mile range and since my transmission towers are about 32 miles away I thought it would do just fine.

Here is what I ordered including a stand for the antenna.

This next photo shows the parts you hook up to the television cable jack.  It shows the cable going to the powered amplifier and then to the television.

This final photo shows the antenna in operation.  I just put the antenna on top of the armoire that houses the television.  I was able to receive about 15 channels, 9 of which were quite clear as you can see in the photo.  however, the antenna was not able to receive the local NBC affiliate which broadcasts on VHF instead of UHF like the rest of the channels.  The antenna was supposed to receive VHF, but it was unable to bring in the station.

Summary Review of First Indoor HDTV Antenna

If I was not concerned with receiving the local NBC affiliate  I would have to say the antenna does a pretty good job.  I think if it had a better exposure towards the tower it would be doing an excellent job of receiving the HDTV signals for free.  I would recommend this solution if you live within 30-35 miles from your broadcast towers.  However, for me since I am only going to do this once I will be sending this antenna back and trying another option for this room, because I do want to receive the NBC affiliate.

Second Indoor HDTV Antenna

For my next try indoors, I bought a ClearStream 2v Indoor/Outdoor Antenna.  With this antenna I was able to receive 54 channels, but was still unable to get the NBC affiliate broadcasting in VHF.  At this point I do not think I will ever receive that channel from the antennas location.  Oh well.

I have returned my first indoor antenna and will be keeping the ClearStream as it is receiving many more stations and is getting a stronger signal.

As you can see from the photos I have mounted the antenna on a board across the top of the armoire and pointed it in the direction of the broadcast towers.

You can also see in the photo that the picture quality is quite good.

Well that is the end of my antenna installations.  I now have 3 widescreen televisions receiving free HDTV signals in different locations around my house.  The over the air signal for the local stations combined with the streaming video of Hulu, Amazon, Crackle, and Netflix provides more than enough program options for me and my family to view.  The best part is I now get to enjoy it for years to come without forking over a bunch of cash to a cable company each month.  I wish I had cut the cord years ago and not wasted all that money.

My Final Recommendation

If you checked your address and found that you can receive free tv I would start off with the something like 1byone® Super Thin Indoor HDTV Antenna.  The stand and antenna cost less than $50 before shipping and if it does not work, you can send it back for a refund less the return shipping cost.

If you are spending anywhere near what I was you should be able to save a bunch of cash over the period of a year.  It is worth a try, isn't it?

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