Cord cutting

I am gonna save you money, my friends!  Have you heard the term “cord cutting”? I heard a radio host refer to it as the new way for “MILLENNIALS who don’t want to PAY for TV“.  I ask: why SHOULD we PAY for TV when it is being transmitted for FREE?”.  I have been doing this since about September of 2015, so about 18 months with absolutely ZERO regrets!

Now I am a friend of free enterprise.  I agree with trying to make an HONEST buck.  What I disagree with is gouging someone on basics JUST because you CAN.  Around July of 2015 I picked up a “digital antenna” from my local big box store (they have them at Wal-Mart, just better prices at Sam’s) and connected it to one of the HDMI inputs on my TV.  No, I did NOT tell my wife.

I put some of our standards on TV through the cable and rated the quality…480 for many.  Next day I switched inputs and had 720 for sports and 1080i for the same shows I saw the day before at lesser quality.  My wife noticed the enhancement but did not really ask any questions since we were used to on again-off again picture quality.  After about a month of it I gave her the skinny:  The antenna was a ONE-TIME cost (~$50), no recurring bill and we would either get great quality or nothing.  The only downside would be that there were certain channels we could not get.  Not a deal breaker since the channels we would be losing were mostly the “reality TV” stations and our LOCAL news channel because it is SOLELY transmitted via cable, as I believe most of the proprietary stations are (shows what they think about the local viewership).

I removed the decoder card (since cable signals are scrambled to prevent FREE viewing), packed up the converter and returned it to my local company without any grousing from them.

How can you get TV without a subscription, you might ask?  Because they GOTTA make the broadcast available OTA (Over The Air) by law!

FCC requires broadcasters to transmit FREE signal

AND for our friends and neighbors who rent, lease or are governed by an HOA, there IS relief:

FCC regulation PROHIBITING the landlord or HOA blocking your antenna

In a nutshell, they gotta suck it up provided it meets size and height above structure requirements, which nearly all do.

A couple of sweeteners:  I got UNBUNDLED wifi and a router. Even though the literature said you could NOT do it, I ran the antenna through my DVR and told it to use ANTENNA inputs. Voila! The DVR works fine, acts like it is still connected to cable and my Apple TV streams all the content from the shows we WANT to watch the day after they air, SANS commercials.

Hardware: Apple TV and Amazon Fire stick

Software: Netflix and Hulu

I have been watching all the faves I grew up on! I even resurrected some super cheap scifi flicks that my adolescent mind found to be da BOMB! We are usually too busy to watch many of “our shows” first run and got used to DVR’ing them anyway so waiting to see them manana (IMAGINE the tilde is there, please?) is no great sacrifice.  Again, NO commercials on the aforementioned streaming devices and services.

The cost:

BEFORE: BUNDLED cable and internet ~$170/ month with TAXES AND FEES (LORD, I HATE that term)

Netflix and hulu ~$8 each

ONE-TIME cost for antenna

ONE-TIME cost for Apple TV

ONE-TIME cost for Firestick

AFTER: internet ~$60/month

Netflix and hulu ~$8 each


OH! I run amazon prime streaming through the phone, tablet and firestick.  Since my wife lives on amazon shipping, the prime service adds unlimited streaming for about 100/year and two day shipping.  We BOTH win.

Sample statement

ALL cable providers are doing this, NOT just T-W

Dropped my “must have entertainment” cost from ~$200 bones to ~$75.  Saving ~125 each month is a PLEASURE!  With the “hardware” you can stream content from your Bluetooth enabled phone, tablet or computer to the TV.  My wife is forever sharing the escapades of the Grands on her laptop or phone.  I say “gimme a sec” and in about 30 seconds am mirroring her device on the TV with a tremendously larger audio and video presentation.

IF you are considering going the cord cutting way, take stock of what you like to see, what you NEED to see and what you just canna’ live without.  See if it is streaming on any particular device or is there is a subscription to it somewhere.  If you can live without HGTV or some of those (SCRIPTED) reality shows, there is nothing to stop you.

TV Fool link to check YOUR potential for OTA reception


TV Fool screenshot

This is a website that lets you plug in your address and it will tell you (ballpark) your distance from the broadcast station and your expected reception quality.  There IS a guessing game at finding the best location for your antenna.

Now the stuff “they don’t want YOU to know…”

Cable bills are so high because the companies are REQUIRED to pay certain programmers (CNN, ESPN come to mind) for access.  CNN is paid PER MONTH per cable subscriber.  This is BEFORE they even make a cent off advertising.  My college roommate,  Mike, would always say he would vote for another candidate to DENY the vote to someone.  I thought him a loon but as the years go by I realize how TRULY gifted he was.  I am a Conservative (duh?).  I will not watch CNN.  I am somewhat anti-mainstream-sports (a NOT TOO LONG story).  Why on this beautiful blue ball would I want part of MY cable bill going to an organization that I abhor?

Subscription costs per provider monthly

Take a CLOSE look at your cable bill sometime.  You will see charges for the most ridiculous things!

Before I took the plunge and started cord cutting I read MANY articles and in many instances found nothing germane.  I got the impression “THEY” did not want me to get the skinny on it.  A quick check indicated that people with forks in multiple pies had an interest in OUR staying mired in the cable system, THEIR bread and butter.

You think cord cutting is just way too much work?  While on cable you are paying  a lot of dough for things you do not use, i.e. channels you skip past.  I got a faster internet connection (you GOTTA emphasize you want internet ONLY and wheel and deal!), do not have ANY service calls because I have super simple basic systems and I regained my independence.  I can watch WHAT I want WHEN I want.  I was down to the credits of “The Accountant” when my wife got home.  Started it ALL OVER for her and watched it again, cause I COULD.

Cord cutting keeps you from paying for someone ELSE’s idea of what YOU wanna do.  When it comes down to it, are we not all seeking to have more control over our lives?  A little independence is what we REALLY need and cord cutting got me a bit more freedom of choice.  Sometimes way too much: with nearly EVERYTHING at your fingertips, where to begin?

For me: Start Trek TOS and Lost in Space (1960’s version 🙂 )






About BarryFN

Native New Yorker, Catholic school and private college educated, Veteran of the United States Marine Corps and the United States Navy. Sailor, Pilot, Instructor, parent and gatherer of information.

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