Guy Tries To Give Up Cable, Wimps Out In Under A Month

A Cnet editor and his wife tried to “cut the cord” and ditch his pricey FiOs cable bundle, and either get their content free or through online downloads. Less than a month later, he’s back on the sauce. What a milksop!

He was paying $179 a month for FiOS with internet, phone, and TV with HBO/Showtime, DVR and a second HD box.

So he installed a 14-foot Winegard 7698P HDTV antenna on his roof to snag free over the air (OTA) HD. Including the 100 feet of coax, grounding block, and grounding rod, all the gear cost $620. Plus he nearly killed himself installing it on his steep roof. (He now recommends getting this professionally installed).

The results weren’t great, though. Big Medium fans, it stunk that CBS service was spotty. There were also audio and video breakups when it got windy, and DVR programming errors. When he tried to watch a Knicks game using a Slingbox through a friend, the video was so bad he couldn’t tell the players apart or the score.

Their other source of content was PlayOn on PS3,which streams a bunch of content to your PS3 like Hulu, Amazon Video on Demand, TV.com, CBS, and others. It’s a $40 on-time fee, but the incessant and unskippable Hulu ads, and waiting around for content to show up proved to be a chore. (They also chose not to use anything like BitTorrent).

After all the gear and subscription fees, they weren’t getting all the channels and content they wanted, and definitely not at the quality they wanted, and weren’t saving that much money, so after less than a month they gave up.

After coming back into the fold, Verizon offered them a new 2-year agreement for $110/month that drops the premium channels and only one DVR.

Cutting the cord can be worth it, but there’s no way to do it without some combination of hassle and sweat and sacrificing both content and quality. And not everyone is willing to make that sacrifice.

Recap: Diary of a cable TV cord cutter [Cnet] (Thanks to Random Hookup!)

Comments

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  1. obits3 says:

    No cable at my house for 5 years now. Feels great. Over time you become used to the programs that are available.

    • caradrake says:

      It’s been nearly a year since we gave up our TV. It was one of those big, heavy suckers that was heavy enough to require two people, but wasn’t really suited for two people to hold onto it. Between Hulu and occasional free Netflix trials, we didn’t miss it, although I think we were only saving around $10 by cutting cable off of our internet bill.

      My brother in law gave us a TV recently, so we’re back to watching movies and the kids have their cartoons.

      I miss Good Eats and Iron Chef America, though. :( Hell’s Kitchen is on Hulu, but I really miss watching Alton.

      We’ve also been playing more games with the family, and doing more things like going to the zoo. I know we could do more as a family, and I don’t attribute all of this to the lack of TV, but I agree that you do become accustomed to what you are used to.

      • hobochangbar says:

        I’m kinda surprised his & other FoodTV content is not more easily available. YouTube will get you most of his stuff but it’s still mostly in ~10 clips so watching just to watch is a pain. But if you just want to review something it works. As many episodes of Good Eats as there are it’s a shame, even the Comcast OnDemand seldom has any Good Eats available. NetFlix or Hulu+ would be a good place for them. I’ve got dozens on DVD that I burned off of my DVR. But I have to get up off the couch to find one & put it in the DVD :)

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          I agree. I love Good Eats and hate that there isn’t a consistent airing (in chronological order, please!) of past episodes, nor is there a proper release of them on DVD. I don’t think Food Network was thinking too far ahead when it came to online streaming or distribution. I love that at least Alton Brown has released Good Eats books that chronicle the episodes individually, along with the recipes, but I really would like the episodes too.

          • nbs2 says:

            You can pick up Seasons 1 and 2 of GE at Target. I haven’t bothered as I have a fair bit of overlap from the collections that the missus picks up for me on occasion, but I think the price per season wasn’t too bad – something like $20.

      • quail says:

        Many of Alton’s “Good Eats” shows can be watched on Youtube. Check out clicker.tv to find out where you can locate your shows.

    • Rathina says:

      No cable here now either for going on 2 years. We decided the only way we will ever get cable again is if some how they magically change it so you only pay for the channels you want.

      • Mandrake says:

        That’s what I told my cable TV provider when I was asked to re-subscribe 6 years ago. Not interested in the $50 package or even the $30 package but if you can provide me a $10 package that offers only the 8-10 channels I ever watch I’ll be happy to sign up. No dice.

        • sprybuzzard says:

          A few years ago I was cutting back my cable bill and wished something like this was available. I never watched channels beyond 120 (to about 800) but it was either 75 channels or 800.

      • RedOryx says:

        I would kill for a la carte cable television. I have been without cable for two years now and have no need for all of those channels, but would definitely pay for the handful that I would watch on a regular basis.

    • pullapint says:

      I haven’t had cable in 22 years. I get ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, CW, FOX over the air. The last couple of years I’ve had Netflix, Blockbuster or torrents to watch pretty much anything I want. Don’t regret it. Don’t miss it. I did recently look into Dish Network but when I saw all the religious, shopping, political channels I wouldn’t have any interest in watching, it just re-affirmed my decision to not have cable. Maybe if they decide to offer cable up buffet style so I can pay for what I will actually watch they might get me back.

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        25 years, here. I completely agree. I just bought a TV last year. I haven’t hooked it up yet. I need to do that; I have operas on DVD I want to watch. :)

    • RobHoliday says:

      Mistake #1: Buying the Winegard 7698P HDTV. Should have used an RCA 30 element antenna which has longer elements. Also, antenna rotational positioning can be critical. May take trial and error to get it positioned correctly.

      Mistake #2: Using a Slingbox. Build (or have someone build, or buy) a Home Theater PC with Dual HDTV tuners and Windows 7. You can record 2 shows at the same time and the free guide is as nearly flawless as any cable companies. Also, you can get Netflix, Hulu and every OTA and cable stations web site that plays their shows in HD. (I get The Daily Show and Colbert Report for free from the Comedy Central web site in HD) You can also install a Blu-ray player to watch HD movies.

      You may say: “I don’t want to have to use a mouse”. Well, Gyration makes a wonderful media center “air” mouse universal remote that controls the mouse like a Wii-mote, but much more accurately. It’s just like your cable companies remote, but it can also control the HTPC mouse. After a few minutes you’ll be controlling the mouse almost as well as a conventional mouse.

      For your home phone, buy a Ooma Telo for around $200. It plugs directly into your internet router, no computer required. Free local and long distance and you get to choose your phone number.

      I had Verizon FiOS and was paying $165/mo for Internet/TV/Phone. Now I pay $45/mo for internet only and I’m not missing a thing.

    • HeroOfHyla says:

      The only thing I need cable for is the 2 episodes of King of the Hill six days a week on Adult Swim. Other than that, it’s all internet stuff for me.

      I know I could find KotH online somewhere, but I like watching it on my TV, as I have to devote more attention to it. If I watch something on the computer, it becomes background noise while I multitask.

    • poco says:

      Closer to 10 for me. Now when I see TV (at friends/family’s houses) I’m disgusted.

  2. JPeek says:

    I haven’t had cable television for the past 1 1/2 years. I don’t miss it. I have more free time pursue different hobbies (e.g. Reading, Swing Dancing, Haning with Friends). I actually enjoy my free time more now.

    • veronykah says:

      You do realize, when you are watching TV that is “free time” right?I have cable and still have plenty of free time, some I chose to watch tv, some I choose to hang with friends, etc.

    • JPeek says:

      OH yes. I do realize that. But I found myself watching more just to rationalize spending the amount of money. Also, commercials take up a huge amount of time. You can do very little in 3-5 minutes spurts.

    • shthar says:

      Yes but we’re all sick of you ‘hanin out’ when your favorite shows are on.

  3. GMFish says:

    God, I can’t imagine anything on TV worthy paying that much. Who, on their death bed, is going to plead, “I wish I had watched more TV.”

  4. FatLynn says:

    I like how the experiment was “let’s get rid of cable and find other ways of watching TV” instead of “let’s get rid of cable and buy some f***ing books”.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      That’s a ridiculous thing to say. Why is it one or the other? People can’t have different hobbies? As if because you watch TV, that’s all you ever do?

      I read at least four books a month, and could probably double that if I didn’t do anything other than read. But I also like to cook, watch TV, write letters (well, emails) to friends, and have other hobbies besides reading. I have a friend who hikes and climbs mountains and she watches a lot of TV. Surprise – people can have varying interests.

    • wrjohnston91283 says:

      The experiment was “lets try to not spend so much money on TV but still be able to watch TV”.

      I did it with an indoor antenna and a $15 a month netflix subscription, but I live right outside Boston.

      I’d imagine that a 14′ antenna setup costing $620 would get perfect reception where I live, but out in the woods maybe not.

    • mindaika says:

      Why are books better than cable? Is Twilight a better quality of entertainment than the Discovery Channel?

      • obits3 says:

        It is a sad day when the first example of books to read is Twilight…

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          I think you misunderstood. FatLynn basically said that books were a better use of one’s time than watching TV, and mindaika’s point was that a book like Twilight wasn’t on the same intellectual level as an educational program on Discovery Channel and that to suggest that one hobby is better than the other is snobbery.

          • bsh0544 says:

            I don’t see any suggestion that books are any better (or worse) than TV. They’re different, though, and generally speaking a much cheaper form of entertainment. I took it more as a suggestion that cancelling cable and still focusing on watching TV as a primary source of entertainment is at best noncommittal.

        • AlphaLackey says:

          Exactly, it’s a simple case of disproving an absolute statement by counterpoint.

        • OutPastPluto says:

          It may be sad but it is a very good illustration of how “being pretentious” doesn’t necessarily yield you a better result.

      • theotherwhitemeet says:

        I have not read Twilight nor would I, but I would guess that it doesn’t have 25 minutes of commercials per hour of reading. So it might be better.

    • c_c says:

      I have cable and always have a book going as well. I’m like a riddle wrapped in an enigma!

    • TasteyCat says:

      Paper books?

  5. Sndtrkman says:

    I’m giving up Dish Network at the end of the Football season. I just can’t stand shelling out $70+ dollars on lackluster service.

  6. jmhart says:

    Cutting the cord can mean some sacrifice, and some “hassle,” if you want to call it that, but the rewards are great.

    I think the CNET guy really wanted it to fail. It doesn’t sound like he was ever really commited.

    Netflix streaming, Hulu, ESPN 3, OTA HD, and Itunes/Amazon rentals make it work. And when there’s sports on that I want to watch but can’t get, I just go to a bar and have a few beers.

    And my costs weren’t anywhere near that high to cut the cord. I’m calling that article one big propaganda piece for the cable companies.

    • MercuryPDX says:

      That’s how I read some of the diary entries too.

      I don’t understand how he thought buying a brand new Tivo Premiere was going to help his cause.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I think the idea was to get as comparable of an experience as possible, which is to say that you can’t cut the cord without a lot of hassle, but it can be done. However, you like Ben said, you have to sacrifice content and quality and decide for yourself if that’s worth it.

    • Mom says:

      The guy lives 40 miles from the OTA broadcast towers. That seems to be a big part of his expense, and his problem. The 90% of the country that lives closer to where their TV broadcasts come from wouldn’t have to shell out $620 for an antenna.

      He also seems to have taken the approach that he wanted to get exactly what he had with cable. If they’d changed their approach, and went for “bang for the buck”, they might have found that there were some shows they couldn’t get anymore, but that they could have plenty of good stuff to watch for much less money.

    • SpendorTheCheap says:

      how much do you spend each month having beers in a bar while watching sports?

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        I do exactly the same thing. We gave up cable about two years ago and for games that I can’t get OTA, I’ll just go to our corner bar (about a 1/2 block from my house). The beer is more expensive than at home ($2.50 vs. $1.00) but I still come out ahead over the course of the month.

        If I was a die hard ESPN fanatic like my brother in law, it wouldn’t work but watching the occasional game on Saturday or Sunday isn’t all that expensive.

      • jmhart says:

        Remember, there are a lot of sports on broadcast. In the past year, there have only been two things I wanted to see that I couldn’t get over broadcast or espn3.

  7. maxxpowerr says:

    Perhaps he should have tried a pair of $10 rabbit ears before dropping $600 on a 14-ft roof antenna.

    • Mom says:

      He was a long way from the broadcast tower. He didn’t get much with the $620 antenna. He wasn’t going to get anything at all with rabbit ears.

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        For most people, rabbit ears won’t cut it. Even worse, “rabbit ears” alone, without the UHF “loop” or “bow tie” will get you nothing but a few VHF channels. Most DTV is in the UHF… at least, until the FCC takes THAT away for wireless broadband.

        • JonStewartMill says:

          [semi-OT]
          I wonder, does DTV work better on UHF than on VHF because of the higher bandwidth possible with higher frequencies?

          • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

            Vhf is longer wavelengths, so you need a bigger antenna (especially ch 2-6) plus, there’s a lot of noise (interference) in the VHF band, and the signals carry further, causing interference with other stations on the same, or nearby channels (Co-channel interference)

            Co-channel interference is the probably reason he had such trouble getting CBS – two stations with nearly the same signal strength on the same channel.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          I’ve had very good luck with a powered $25 antenna from Monoprice and a used DTV converter box I got off of eBay for $15.00.

          • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

            That Monoprice antenna actually gets pretty good reviews. However, if you are too close to the transmitters then amplifiers will overpower the signal, and it’s also not great for VHF.

            I got one of my converter boxes for $4 at the local thrift store.

    • spazztastic says:

      I don’t get anything with rabbit ears at all.

  8. outoftheblew says:

    The only time in my life I’ve had cable television was the 2.5 years after college that I lived in a town with only two regular channels that came in clearly. I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t grow up with it (we were on the edge of town and there weren’t the required 60-something households in a square mile for the cable company to hook up the neighborhood).

    Now, we don’t have access to ANY television over the airwaves. Haven’t hooked up our convertor box after we moved in 2009. We are hooked on certain shows, but only because we can get them through other means (hulu and now Netflix because our local Blockbuster closed, where I was getting dvds for $1/week).

    I guess because we don’t know what’s on network or cable television, we don’t miss it.

  9. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    What a wimp! I seldom watched my cable TV, and pulled the plug in April. I switched to a higher speed Internet plan and a Netflix subscription, which costs less.

  10. t-spoon says:

    I can’t understand why somebody who is budget-conscious and computer literate would pay for cable.

    • obits3 says:

      “The shoemaker’s children are often shoeless…”

    • Reading_Comprehension says:

      amen, so much amen to that

    • Nogard13 says:

      NFL Sunday Ticket package.

      Sure, I can go to the bar down the street and watch the Steelers game every Sunday, but then I feel obligated to patronize the establishment and end up spending $20-30 (2 beers, maybe some wings, tax and tip) 16 weeks a year (that’s $320-480 a season). I might as well spend it on DirecTV and stay home.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Because not everything is available on the internet, legally (and some of us are not willing to break laws for TV). And not everything (sports) is streamed, or can be properly enjoyed through a smaller screen (not everything streams to TV via apps). And just because some of us, call us old school if you like, really enjoy turning on a channel and watching what’s on just because it’s on. I’ve been known to turn on the Discovery Channel and just leave it on while I pay bills, clean, or cook.

    • Mom says:

      You don’t have a wife that likes HGTV, do you?

    • kathygnome says:

      From listening to interviews and reading his series there were two problems. First was that his favored sports teams were not on his local broadcast channels. He was a Connecticut person who wanted to watch NY area sports, not Boston area sports.

      The second was he went on vacation and his wife wasn’t as tech savvy and got tired of putting up with multiple devices, interfaces, and so on.

  11. jerrycomo says:

    It all depends on your tv needs (which are mostly useless, no matter what quite frankly!) and if OTA reception is good in your area, which wasn’t good to begin with for that dude. If he has the budget, let him do what he wants with his money.

    My OTA is very good (just no ABC, dammit (Janet)) so I’m happy to get free HD even just for the local channels.

  12. MercuryPDX says:

    (They also chose not to use anything like BitTorrent).

    That probably was their biggest mistake.

    • Mom says:

      Not downloading a bunch of viruses and worms was a mistake?

      • Papa Midnight says:

        That’s such an improbability in the grand scheme of things that it’s not even worth mentioning.

        Also, I take issue with downloading tv shows is breaking the law, civil or criminal. Here’s why: I have HBO. Let us say I missed an episode of Boardwalk Empire (which I did due to power loss one day – great show, by the way). It’s not exactly like I can watch it on Hulu. Besides, why would I want to watch it with advertisements when I see none on HBO? How is my downloading it and watching it any different from recording it and watching it on my DVR? As a matter of fact, I’ll go so far as to say it’s equivalent to a DVR. I pay for HBO, and there’s inherently no commercials during the programming on HBO so no one loses or gains money whether I just downloaded it or not. My monthly fee for HBO applies one way or another.

        So let’s say, with all the factors above counted in, how did I just break the law?

        • Rachacha says:

          But in this case, the reporter canceled his HBO subscription, and therefore was not paying for HBO Content. As he was not paying for the content (and missed it as in your scenario) he was not entitled to watch it, so if he opted to download it from a torrent, he would be watching it for free off of the backs of the subscribers that were paying for the content…in effect, stealing!

        • wednesdayaddams says:

          If you subscribe to HBO you can watch those shows online…. with your subscrib, just saying

      • OutPastPluto says:

        > Not downloading a bunch of viruses and worms was a mistake?

        This is mindless nonsense propaganda.

        Besides, TV shows are DATA. Just how is DATA supposed to infect your system?

        If a movie can infect your PC, your OS is broken. However, that’s an entirely different argument.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Some who gets paid to create content probably isn’t crazy about file-sharing.

      • RandomHookup says:

        Make that “someone”…

        • jason in boston says:

          Cat is already out of the bag. If it is created digitally, it should be assumed that it is copied.

          People that create media should find other ways to monetize. A great example are bands that give their music away for free (even posting it in the piratebay), to create buzz and pack concerts.

          • RandomHookup says:

            Still doesn’t mean they like it. Sometimes people will take the stand on principle alone.

            • jason in boston says:

              Horse-carriage makers sure hated it when gas automobiles came out.

              • jason in boston says:

                And by that – I mean innovate and adapt or die.

                • RandomHookup says:

                  So you support the Cook’s Source magazine which ran someone else’s online articles without payment or permission (until web vigilantes ran them out of business)?

                  All I’m saying is that someone who creates content for a living probably wouldn’t use a filesharing service. I made no comment on the legality or ethics of such a service. This guy gets paid for his content creation by his employer who gives it away…he has monetized his part of the process.

                  • jason in boston says:

                    No – That was for profit. This is where the mine is drawn (in my mind). Hell, that is where the term piracy comes from.

                    • RandomHookup says:

                      I understand, though your “innovate or die” is a more commercially oriented suggestion. This guy probably wouldn’t be happy if someone took his content for fun or profit. A Cnet editor wouldn’t admit to watching pirated content and wouldn’t consider that an option to replace his cable. If that’s “not keeping up with the times”, so be it.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Sorry, some of us aren’t willing to break the law to watch TV.

      • redwall_hp says:

        For the last time, it’s not “breaking the law.” Copyright infringement is a civil issue, not a criminal one. (At least, until someone manages to pass ACTA…) You could conceivably be sued by the MPAA or a movie studio, though it’s rather unlikely.

        Also, under U.S. copyright law only the person who posted the material is the infringer. Anyone downloading it is safe.

        • HeroOfHyla says:

          When you torrent you’re downloading and uploading simultaneously, unless you disable the uploading manually. And doing that defeats the purpose of a torrent.

          • MarvinMar says:

            Newsgroups FTW!

            • VeganPixels says:

              Holy shit, THIS. 90 days of retention for $60/year with unlimited downloads, throw in a 200gb block account w/800 days retention for

              • 12345678nine says:

                Wait. What?

              • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

                Remember when ISPs offered newsgroups as part of the package? I do. Alas, in Canada, we deal with rotten bandwidth caps that make those alt.binaries goodies (after paying the $$ to giganews or wherever you’re getting the access from) overly expensive. Damn them all!

      • Beeker26 says:

        How is this any different than if you record it to a DVR or VCR and skip thru the commercials?

  13. Marlin says:

    I spent about $50 for an antenna and $25 for cable and have about 30-40 clear channels (480p to 1080i).

    If he spent over $600 and can;t even get a good signal he is doing something wrong and needs to give up, let alone write articles for a “tech” site.

    • Twonkey says:

      How close are you to the source of the signal, skippy?

      • Papa Midnight says:

        Not only that, elevation and other factors (such as trees, weather, atmospheric conditions, etc.) all come into play.

        • RvLeshrac says:

          I work with someone who lives about 40-50 miles away from the transmitters here. He’s using a $25 SC-603, which is bargain-basement, lemme tell ya’, and gets in even more stations than I do only 10-20 miles away.

  14. rpm773 says:

    Welcome back to FIOS. Our packages for returning customers who thought they could go it alone start at $500/month.

  15. majortom1981 says:

    MY problem is the stuff that i watch is on discovery science, discovery channel, discovery hd, and national geographic.

    A lot of the shows that I watch on those channels are not available on places like hulu.

    So cutting cable would not work for me.

    Also i am paying $94 a month for 1 hd-dvr 1 regular hd box, io family cable, voip, and 16.5/2.5 internet service.

    I really cannot make it cheaper.

    • Alvis says:

      Those types of shows are available on PBS. Nature? Nova?

    • urger says:

      In my experience just about everything on those three channels are available on netflix – often it’s available for immediate streaming. I cut the cord six months ago. Had to – no cable, no OTA signals here, and there is a 8,000 foot tall mountain blocking satellite from working.
      Pretty much anything I want to watch I can get via Netflix, Hulu, or…ah….other means.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        The problem is that for it to be on Netflix, it has to be made available for distribution. A great deal of documentaries are never put on DVD and would not be available on Netflix. Discovery has all of its marquee shows like Deadliest Catch and Mythbusters, but that random documentary about the biology of wombats? Nope. Can’t buy that.

        • pop top says:

          There are some shows on Netflix Instant that aren’t out on DVD yet (Hyperdrive comes to mind, but that isn’t a documentary).

          • pecan 3.14159265 says:

            Sorry, I wasn’t clear. Distribution can mean for streaming or DVD. But many documentaries are not made available for other one, making it pretty much impossible to find them unless the channel reruns them.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          But cutting the cord is all about compromise. You can’t get the exact same content as on cable TV but you save a lot of money in the process. For some people, it doesn’t make sense (those who like sports, first run TV, etc.) but for a lot of us, it does.

    • AstroPig7 says:

      That’s mostly what I watch as well (along with Cooking Channel, Food Network, and HGTV). However, when I see paranormal horseshit like Ghost Adventures and Ancient Aliens, it makes me regret spending anything.

  16. shizwipe says:

    Should have gotten Netflix. Duh. It may be hard to find great stuff to watch but doubt any amount of cable channels would be better. It’s far cheaper and really, who has time to watch that much tv to make it worth an obscene $180 a month anyway?

  17. mianne prays her parents outlive the TSA says:

    Pschaw! I cut cut my cable tv service entirely. leaving just cable internet. With a Roku box ($60) installed on my tv, along with a $20 annual subscription to PlayOn (for Hulu) and another $10/mo. for Netflix, I can watch everything I was watching before.

    Granted, I didn’t have the HBO, Showtime, etc. before, only one tv, and still don’t have a DVR which isn’t an issue when you watch shows on demand anyway. But for the $620 he paid for his initial setup, I’ll have my setup acquisition and operating costs covered for 4 years! And I didn’t have to climb onto the roof, and it’s as portable as broadband internet can be (same goes for my home phone service)

    I’ve been doing this for well over a month, and still doing just fine.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I bought a Roku box about two years ago (or whenever they first went on sale). It was by far the best home electronics purchase I’ve ever made. Between Netflix IW & DVDs, Amazon, and OTA, I have access to a near infinite library of content for way less than I spent on cable. There are some downsides, mainly sports and first run TV but I don’t mind waiting for shows to make it onto DVD or Instant Watch.

  18. Dover says:

    Must be out in the boonies to get such a crummy signal with $620 of equipment. I have a $30 indoor antenna that works great for me in the ‘burbs and only took about an hour of moving it around the room to find the best place to put it.

    And, I rarely use it (can’t stand commercials, sometimes watch PBS). If I can’t watch it online, I’m patient enough to wait until Netflix gets it. There’s plenty of other good content to keep me occupied, I don’t sit around rocking back and forth because I can’t watch the latest episodes of “How I Met Your Mother” right away.

    I can see sports being a problem for some folks, but I don’t follow any closely enough to want to watch at home.

  19. erickbatton says:

    Why would they even try that without Netflix? or Youtube?

  20. putch says:

    Well, he is a Medium fan….

  21. Tim says:

    If I couldn’t get clear OTA signals, I’d probably go back to cable. I like the instant gratification of live TV.

    More importantly, how do you spend $620 for a freakin’ antenna? The whole point of ditching cable is to save money. If you’re not saving money, don’t do it.

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      Agreed. He doesn’t sound too savvy for a cnet editor.

  22. Cicadymn says:

    What, how bad can the hulu ads be? Online there are what? 2-3 in a show, which are like a minute long, or one like 3 minute one at the start of it?

    Is he just splitting hairs here because 3, 1 minute ads, or 1, 3 minute ad, sure sounds better than 2, 3 to 4 minute ads.

    • mbgrabbe says:

      He DVR’d his favorite shows and skipped over the ads. You can’t skip ads with online programming.

      • quail says:

        But you can open another tab in your browser and check Consumerist or something when the ad plays.

        Ohs Nos! Mesa gottsa Watchasa colsa commercial.

        (See what I did there? Combined LOL Cat speak with JarJar speak for something just as stupid as a guy who can’t stand a minute’s worth of advertising. Freaking generation Y kid.)

  23. Alvis says:

    This has nothing to do with there not being alternatives to cable, and all to do with a guy too incompetent to install an antenna properly.

    Breakups when it’s windy? That’s some amateur hour stuff right there.

    • Daverson says:

      The wind scatters all the little 1s and 0s as they fly through the air to the antenna.

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        The wind also makes the ones and zeros perform calculus, resulting in irrational numbers that a digital receiver just can’t understand.

        But yes, wind can affect your digital signals, as will trees with leaves, and your neighbors arc welder. The trick is to provide a strong signal, low noise signal (Amps contribute noise, btw) and mount it on a mast that DOES NOT SWAY in the wind.

  24. Larraque eats babies says:

    I watch MAYBE four hours of cable TV a week at most. The shows I care about – Stargate Universe (now cancelled), Chuck, Community and How I met your Mother are all available for viewing online. I don’t watch sports at all. For most shows I prefer to watch them when the full season is available on DVD. I could easily give up cable and probably would in a heartbeat – and just up my netflix subscription instead.

    Unfortunately my wife loves it.

    • RosevilleWgn says:

      They are going to show the 11 episodes of SGU already budgeted for Season 2.

    • denros says:

      I’m the same way, but you just broke my heart about SG:U. I haven’t checked out the 2nd season yet, because I stumbled into dexter (and of course ended up watching 5 seasons of it over the last month or so).

  25. dolemite says:

    Personally, I have Comcast, and his $179 package seems like a steal.

    Fios internet (which is already faster than most cable internet)
    TV
    Phone
    Movie Channels
    DVR
    2nd Box

    I pay $145 a month (after their latest price increase) for Comcast:
    6 mb internet
    Cable TV (with no movie channels and the basic digital channel package)
    DVR (which is also our sole cable box).

    For the TV in the living room, we just have the basic cable channels because I can’t see paying extra for a box just to get the digital channels that I’m already paying extra for.

    • Bativac says:

      Your Comcast deal sounds like mine, though mine is about 12 bucks more. Maybe I’m on the next higher internet tier or something. Dropping the cable TV part of the package would save me fifty bucks a month, I think. Worth it for the random Discovery Channel shows I watch every now and then.

      • dolemite says:

        I’d drop the tv and dvr in a split second, but the wife says she needs to watch her “shows”. Honestly, I watch maybe 1 hour of tv per day, and that is usually while falling asleep.

        Meanwhile, she watches MTV crap, E, Lifetime, Soaps, blah blah.

  26. JayDeEm says:

    I could live without cable, there are only a handful of shows that I watch and even those are intermittent at best. However, I am unable to cut the cord as I am fairly sure my wife would pick it up and strangle me with it. She loves her DVR, even though it is connected to Comcast.

  27. thedarkerside.to says:

    Three years without cable, so far, not missing it, but then I have my ways.

    Netflix replaced a lot of the watching though, if they could just get more content (and a bit more timely wouldn’t hurt either) it would be the perfect way for me.

    But then again, I am not really married to the idea that I have to see the latest and greatest, lots of books I haven’t read plus other things to do here nine months out of the year.

  28. odarkshineo says:

    No cable for 2 years. Do have netflix on the xbox.

  29. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    He couldnt watch Medium online?

    • RedOryx says:

      He probably could, but they probably wanted to watch it as it aired. *shrugs* I’ve gotten so used to just watching my shows online the next day that I don’t even think about it anymore. I sense a bit of impatience in this guy.

  30. D0rk says:

    So, he didn’t stop to think about what else that ~$2000 a year he’s saving could have been spent on? I’d go through a lot of sacrifices with my TV content if it meant saving 2k a year.

  31. snowtires says:

    I grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere and as such, I’ve never had cable. Our TV got PBS, NBC and sometimes CBS. The key to going without cable is to no be a total pussy. Get a hobby or something. Jesus Christ…

  32. Gandalf the Grey says:

    I cut the cord when AT&T U-Verse and Food Network got into a pissing match, and I am as happy as can be. I pay $20/month for DSL and $12/month for Neflix. I have yet to find a TV show that I used to watch on U-verse that I couldn’t find streaming online, and that includes Food Network and discovery (Alton and Adam being two of my personal heroes).

    I paid a total of $33 for a powered antenna at Amazon, $50 for a DTV converter box, and $15 for some coax. For under one month’s U-Verse bill, I paid for the first month of my new services and all the equipment needed.

    Sure beats the $140 I was paying U-Verse for TV and Internet. This guy didn’t really want to cut the cord.

  33. Kevin says:

    If you can’t live without cable, you watch too much TV.

  34. kc2idf says:

    I wonder if he spent too much money on the wrong antenna?

    He did spend too much money on the antenna, no question, but that’s not my point.

    There is a common misconception that HDTV is all UHF. This is false. If you put up a UHF antenna, even a really good one, and some of the broadcasters in your area are on VHF, then reception could, potentially, suck. You are actually better off with a VHF antenna trying to get UHF than the other way around.

    Also, attic installations are sometimes a better choice. It is where my antenna is installed.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Antenna selection and placement is a bit of a black art. He should have researched a lot more, and asked forums for advice. I think he was getting co-channel interference. His solution may have already been posted on a DTV forum:

      “The solution would be a pair of antennas stacked a half wavelength left/right (or stagger stacked a quarter wavelength with feedline compensation) from the path to WFSB. Doable, but not trivial.”

      And $180 is a lot for an antenna. But I’ve heard of “pros” charging $250 to install a basic UHF antenna, where a coat hanger would suffice.

      And, BTW, Attic = good but rooftop = best. I gained 15% by moving mine outside.

  35. Mecharine says:

    I haven’t watched cable since I was in elementary school, and that was nearly two decades ago. I haven’t had a problem with it. I suppose people need to find more productive uses of their time instead of TV.

  36. Portlandia says:

    “He was paying $179 a month for FiOS with internet, phone, and TV with HBO/Showtime, DVR and a second HD box.”

    Jesus Christo!!! $180 freaking dollars a month!!

    Dude, cut out the HBO/Showtime and get rid of the other premium channels. That would cut your price probably $40-50 bucks a month right there.

  37. RosevilleWgn says:

    I’ve happily cut the cable (TV), but the wife has a tendancy to leave movies running in the background on Netflix, and it’s seriously eating our “alloted” bandwidth via Comacast. I’m going to look into getting a business account with them soon to fix that.

  38. photoguy622 says:

    I read this story on C|Net and he tried pretty hard, but it was doomed to fail. He said he needed to save money since they just bought a 2004 Toyota Sienna they were making payments on. His wife left a comment on the story saying that she was hoping to use the money they save on cable to do some improvements around the house…

    I hate to say it, but they are doing it wrong. They can’t afford to buy a 6 year old minivan outright and then they want to spend the “saved” money on other things. Get your priorities straight and get off the debt train!

    For the record, I have broadcast basic cable and Netflix, no problems.

  39. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:
  40. dush says:

    A 14 foot antenna on the roof? I get free overtheair HDtv with the 3 foot rabbit ears in my living room.

  41. Cooneymike says:

    This rates a story at all? I can’t believe in the season of returns there aren’t decent consumer stories out there and instead we get this regurgitated garbage.

  42. Steve H. says:

    He outlined the how and why of the failure in the final entry. In my opinion, all of them are excellent points. But the one thing that was the hardest for them to grasp, is learning to sacrifice things in order to save money. If I offered you $1200 to go without cable for a year, would you take it? His answer, after 3 weeks of trying, was no.

  43. beoba says:

    I haven’t had cable service for about 3 years. I don’t watch sports and prefer to wait until TV series are completed before I start watching them, to allow ‘bulk’ viewings. I don’t have any qualms or difficulties with using bittorrent where necessary either.

    I’m visiting my parents at the moment and I think TV has gotten noticeably worse since I last watched it regularly. However, I might just have a selection bias of only spending time watching the things I really want to see.

    I just have a plain ~$20 UHF antenna* leaning against the wall behind my TV and I get approx a million channels in my (large metro) area. Some of them are cool foreign language streams, which any of the cable/sat providers would charge an arm and a leg for.

    *I got mine from Buy.com, but this one looks identical in price and appearance: http://www.amazon.com/Eagle-Aspen-Dtv2Buhf-Directv-Antenna/dp/B000GIT002

    • beoba says:

      Keep in mind that my example antenna is ‘unidirectional’, meaning it’s best at picking up signals coming at it from one direction, but not so great when you have signals coming from multiple directions.

      This works for me because most of the signals in my area are conveniently coming from approximately the same direction*, so I can point the antenna and get great coverage across all of them.

      *Use this to find the broadcasts in your area: http://www.antennaweb.org/aw/Address.aspx

  44. ZacharyTF says:

    If it wasn’t for sports, I would have cut the cable long ago.

  45. RandomHookup says:

    I gave up cable in 1994 when my TV was stolen and I didn’t get another TV until 2001. With online access, I can get a tremendous amount of programming (including a lot of sports). I’ll admit I’m not addicted to the NFL nor have to watch all the MLB/NBA games of the local team, but I’ve been able to watch more of my alma mater play football than I ever had before. There are lots of sources of variety — Crackle, SnagFilms, Hulu, the networks and I’m sure more, all legit.

    I don’t have a Netflix sub right now because I can get enough movies at the library & online, but it’s a good supplement to OTA.

  46. bben says:

    I just (Today) cut off my cable company. I have a small outdoor antenna and can pick up 26 channels – including ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and a cluster of edu channels. Plus each of the big 4 networks has from 2 to 4 extra channels – such as an all news, all weather and weather map channel. Then I can stream from my computer for other content.

    Since the ‘specialty’ channels – such as History – no longer even pretend to stick with their specialty I doubt I’ll be missing much while saving nearly $100 a month.

  47. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    I’m envious of people who dont have cable. I’ve got Comcast Internet, phone and cable with a DVR box and premium channels (except Cinemax) and I pay about $100 a month. Part of it is subsidized by my HOA so I have no idea whether or not this is a “good deal” …part of me is inclined to think it is, which is why I don’t bother canceling. But I’d be interested in feedback as to whether I’m getting hoodwinked or not, then maybe that might make the switch to no-cable more viable…

    • Mom says:

      You’d be paying something like $180/month for that, depending on the exact specs of what you have. Take it and run.

      • pinkbunnyslippers says:

        Thats what I figured. It was supposed to be a temporary (1 year) deal when I moved in 4 years ago, so Ive just kept my trap shut!

        Beo – I think a lot of people in my community have tried the “well I don’t even want cable so I don’t think I need to pay for it” argument and they get shore down each year at the annual meeting. Your comment about rational HOAs is spot on :)

    • beoba says:

      Maybe you’d be able to get a discount on your HOA fees, since presumably your lack of cable would reduce whatever they’re paying.

      But that’s assuming your HOA is rational, which is usually a stretch.

  48. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    I’m happy to say I’ve never actually paid a cable bill. Something about shelling out hard-earned money to watch bullshit commercials and ‘reality’ crap just doesn’t compute. I love certain shows, just not enough to pay a cable company to watch them between commercials.

    Okay, bring on the ‘Oh-look-at-mister-snobby-fancy-pants-who’s-too-good-for-cable-nah-nah-nah’ comments. Just don’t take too long or you’ll miss the latest exciting episode of ‘Jersey Shore’. ;-D

  49. YokoOhNo says:

    Brought to you by Verizon Fios, Comcast and Direct TV

  50. usernameandp says:

    No cable. No satellite. No FiOS. No Broadcast. Been that way for 13 years.

  51. framitz says:

    With apparently such poor research and planning this effort had FAIL built in from the start.

  52. erratapage says:

    To those of you who do not watch TV–Congratulations! You have broken yet another connection with the consumer driven society. Of course, that also means you have one less way to connect with the rest of us. There is always that one person at the party who has the blank expression on their face when the conversation turns to Dancing with the Stars. And that person is you!

    The rest of us don’t think you’re cool for that. We just think you are uninformed and maybe even a little big rigid in your tastes. Maybe we’ll cut you some slack if you are really good conversationalists in other ways. You know, if you can talk about politics or world events–although with the state of today’s newspapers, I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t help to supplement your reading with a little GPS or This Week.

    Of course, it is possible that the people *you* hang with are similarly inclined towards the television. That’s cool.

    • RandomHookup says:

      If I’m at a party with DWTS is a serious center of the conversation, I will be considering new people to hang out with.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I agree, though I make sure to never be around people who watch Dancing With the Stars. Whenever I’m talking to people, and the topic turns to TV or movies, you can always tell who is going to get thrown into the bottomless pit of nonconversation. The people who had no idea what we were talking about just completely fell out of the conversation, and by the time they could rejoin on a topic they could talk about, everyone else already had a good gauge of everyone else’s personalities based on what they watched on TV. It’s not so much about TV or movies, but shared interests. If you don’t watch TV or movies at all good luck keeping up with the rest of us.

    • YokoOhNo says:

      I love this bit in Adam corrola’s book! “Dexter? I don’t know who that is. Is he at this party? Oh, a TV show. I don’t watch TV.”

      also, the guy whose best friend is his wife (unfortunately, that’s me)

  53. Ocyrus says:

    Six years and running… I’ve probably read more books since then, than I had in my previous 24 years of living.
    I feel sorry for people that are addicted to TV. if they could only see the light, they’d be much happier individuals for sticking it out.

    • blueman says:

      Thanks for telling me how to enjoy my life. Tell me how many hours a week you spend reading and commenting on sites like Consumerist — and tell me that’s a better use of free time than watching something I find entertaining, or educational, or stimulating.

  54. jheyneman says:

    Since he gave up in only a month, I take it he could remove the antenna and return his expensive-ass useless equipment to the store he purchased it from?

    I live in a tiny town in Ohio and I can pick up TWO different CBS stations, ABC, two PBS stations, but not FOX with rabbit ears. I really only wanted to watch FOX, so I just returned the stupid antenna. I have been without cable since I moved into my apartment and I can honestly say that I only miss Discovery and Food Network, everything else I can find online.

  55. SugarMag says:

    He gave up Fios but not really the luxury of what it had to offer, or at least attempted to not do without.

    Doesnt really support the “cut the cable” concept. I dont have cable, not really, I have the most basic basic plan of $10/mn so I can get local channels. Can’t get any channels otherwise.

    It comes with five PBS channels too as a perk and an additional news channel that has streaming weather. That is the only extras.

    Cut cable for real, as in do without all your TV desires, then discuss the “giving up”.

  56. TechProcurement says:

    I heard this on NPR this morning. It does take a certain individual to go the no cable route. I have been cable free for over a year, $150 cable and internet to $60 internet only. Hulu was a big reason for my change, but I’m only 40 miles from the broadcast source, so a good off the shelf $100 antenna and a couple hundred feet of coax and I was in business. I’m a little more technical than the next guy, so I built my own DVR out of an old PC I had adding a $150 tuner card. It has never given me a problem. The only fear I have is the cable company pricing high speed internet out of the average person range! :)

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Still. “The only thing he has to fear is the CABLE COMPANY”

  57. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Homer Simpson: Someday, TV will be invented. And it will be free! Then it will cost money.

  58. Beeker26 says:

    Sounds like he made a half-assed attempt and got half-assed results. I haven’t had cable or satellite TV in 3 years and have no trouble watching pretty much all the shows I want.

  59. GeekChicCanuck says:

    I’m too much of a sports fan to give up cable. Then again, I don’t pay much – $139 a year for high speed, cable, long distance and phone.

  60. convem24 says:

    I followed the C-Net editor who did this and I agree with him since I did the same thing for 12 months (it was an absolute necessity because of money) but if I had a choice I would have some form of TV service (cable or satellite) becuase local off air antenna plus video streaming options are still not a complete solution. I agree that pricing for cable and satellite need to be more competitive but it is a very hard place since content providers (CBS, ABC, NBC, etc) are pressing TV providers (Comcast, DirecTv) for higher fees for their content.

  61. MGlover54 says:

    What a quitter. Cut my cable chord 2 weeks ago. Only have high speed internet for $47/month. Dropped my bill by $100/month. Survive on BOOKS, netflix streaming, video games, exercise, and computer.

    Cable is not life.

  62. Megladon says:

    Its now the start of my 3rd month without cable tv. I have read a bit more. I’ve been able to watch all the shows i’ve wanted thanks to the internet. My wife who is deaf hasnt been so lucky. We did get a netflix package with streaming and 1 dvd at a time so she can watch shows that she likes captioned. Right now we’re saving 100$ a month and even more with it being the offseason i dont regret the decision to cut the cord.

    • Not Given says:

      What are we gonna do about all the downloads that come without captions. I paid to download Inception and couldn’t hear most of it and it had no captions. Even a lot of the stuff on Hulu has captions.

  63. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    When *I* was a boy, we had 3 VHF channels, and we LIKED it. Because it was all we had. And it was free. And then we got PBS and FOX, on UHF. And like Al Bundy, we “Assumed the FOX viewing positions”. And we still liked it, and it was still FREE. Then they ran the dadburn cable, and it wasn’t free. And we didn’t like it!

    Dadburn spoiled kids these days, dagnabbit… son of a bi…

  64. PercyChuggs Was Found At JFK Airport says:

    If the Minnesota Twins and Timberwolves weren’t on Fox Sports North, I wouldn’t have cable either.

  65. CoachTabe says:

    Sounds to me like he should have just canceled his various services for a month, lived without the TV shows for awhile, and then re-upped. He saved $69/month by becoming a “new subscriber” again. That’s a lot cheaper than paying $620 for an antenna and nearly killing yourself installing it, only to go back to cable.

  66. FrugalFreak says:

    Seems unwilling to sacrifice.

  67. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    I will buy back his antenna for $50. (shipping that monster will kill me)

  68. RvLeshrac says:

    If this guy spent $620 on an antenna rig, I have some swampland to sell him. And I’m sure the swampland gets better reception.

    He’s 40 miles away? A Clearstream4 or Clearstream5 will handle that *EASILY*, moreso if you add an amplifier.

    Oh, and HDTV signals should almost universally be located on UHF and high-end VHF, so the massive VHF mast is unnecessary.

  69. FrugalFreak says:

    COAT Your wife should be getting help soon.

  70. RedOryx says:

    I haven’t had cable in about two years, and my television set only is used for my Wii (including Netflix streaming) and watching DVDs. I don’t even bother with rabbit ears (though I have one) or a converter box.

    All of my network shows can be watched through Hulu or the network’s website, usually the next day. The only cable show I really watch is Top Chef, and I can buy those through iTunes. Heck, by following Amazon on Twitter I’ve managed to occassionally get a couple dollars worth of free downloads, and can use that for those shows, too.

  71. jjups says:

    Missing from the article was what the signal strength in his area is. I dropped cable years ago. I have been using a $70 HD antenna. So far, CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox all come in perfectly. I run it through a Win Media Center PC, which I think actually makes the picture better than directly into the TV(I split the signal so that I can record and watch something else). Hulu unfortunately has gone south recently. Not sure if it is Comcast throttling me back or just Hulu trying to get me to go paid version, but right now, I dropped it as they decided that they dont care about the loyal early adopters and just want to double up on revenue(commercials or pay, but dont make me pay and add commercials) Add in Netflix and ESPN3 or NFL.com (paid) and you have a winning combo

  72. kingdom2000 says:

    If not a big TV watcher, probably easy to cut the cord. If a big TV watcher then using legal means to cut the cord is very difficult. If don’t mind losing second tier channels with little online prescence (History, Discovery, etc), no sports, and willing to use illegal means (bittorrent) then can also cut the cord. Essentially the only way to really be able to cut the cord with little “sacrifice” is have a williness to enjoy delayed gratification and just wait for DVD releases so can rent or stream them. The rule of thumb is pretty straight forward – the more you watch TV (and sports) the harder it is to cut the cord.

    Just notice that those that say “its no biggie” are a) probably not sports fans and b) don’t watch much TV to begin with. All well and probably a good thing to make an effort to watch less TV, but always ask em how much TV they watch to begin with before deciding if their advice would work for you.

    • RandomHookup says:

      There are all different flavors of sports fans and not all of them need to see games every night. I did perfectly fine watching college football this last season with OTA and ESPN online broadcasts. I probably watched more games than I have in years. I also enjoyed the World Cup exactly that way and I’m seeing more than enough NFL games right now. Sure, I miss regular season baseball on TV, but I don’t really miss regular season baseball anyway.

  73. kingdom2000 says:

    If not a big TV watcher, probably easy to cut the cord. If a big TV watcher then using legal means to cut the cord is very difficult. If don’t mind losing second tier channels with little online prescence (History, Discovery, etc), no sports, and willing to use illegal means (bittorrent) then can also cut the cord. Essentially the only way to really be able to cut the cord with little “sacrifice” is have a williness to enjoy delayed gratification and just wait for DVD releases so can rent or stream them. The rule of thumb is pretty straight forward – the more you watch TV (and sports) the harder it is to cut the cord.

    Just notice that those that say “its no biggie” are a) probably not sports fans and b) don’t watch much TV to begin with. All well and probably a good thing to make an effort to watch less TV, but always ask em how much TV they watch to begin with before deciding if their advice would work for you.

  74. baquwards says:

    I think that he did this kind of backwards.

    I am cutting the cable soon, but took a different approach. I built a better more powerful computer for the Main TV (around $450 including dual tuner), we have actually been using the computer more than cable. The only reason that I bought a tuner card was that there are some CBS offerings not onlinem and maybe a few other things. We bought Roku boxes for the bedrooms and will have OTA TV in there as well.

    I am buying a $25 antenna from Monoprice to mount in the attic, seeing as I live in town and on high ground, I doubt that I will have trouble getting reception.

    What I have done is wean us off cable, to the point that my partner now thinks that it is crazy to pay all that money for cable, he was really reluctant at first, but now that $100 a month just seems crazy to him.

  75. shthar says:

    He must not have any kids.

  76. HippieLawChick says:

    I have never had cable. I watch about 3 different network TV shows a week, and stream the rest through Netflix on my Wii. I don’t want cable, and refuse to pay more than the $50 for my internet that I already dole out. People who claim they can’t live without a billion entertainment sources probably should consider visiting a library. /end rant

  77. thor79 says:

    ClearQAM via the cable connection and stuff off the major streaming sites/services is all you need for all but the major premium content out there.

    OTA just isn’t worth it unless you live in an area that is clear of obstructions to all the major antennas. I can only get maybe 3 channels over OTA…I get about 40 in some form or another (some in HD) via ClearQAM.

  78. dkreichen1968 says:

    40 miles isn’t all that far for DTV reception, and the antenna he had was massive. I live 49 miles, and second edge, from some of my stations, and can pull them in on a set top antenna. He should have done some more research before dropping a lot of money on mega-antenna. He should have tried a $10 set top antenna before he started, got some on-line reception and antenna advice, and then should have gotten his system going before he cut the cord. Haste (and a crazy wife) make waste and a wasted blog.

  79. Noadi says:

    I never bothered to get cable after moving out of my parent’s house and I’m perfectly happy with netflix and hulu. I don’t get over the air tv since the switch to digital since I’ve just never gotten around to getting a converter box for my old analog tv and probably never will. TV just isn’t that important, I used to use it a lot as background noise when I wasn’t in the mood for music but now I just put podcasts on instead.

  80. Firevine says:

    Wow…and I just now bought a TV. First one I’ve had in nearly 10 years.

  81. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    We ditched cable and pay $20 a month for Netflix 3x plus we stream through our Wii. We occasionally hook our laptop up to the TV to watch certain shows off of the networks, and I often watch at the computer. We don’t miss cable a bit. What this guy did sounds very complicated to me for some reason.

  82. AnthonyC says:

    Until there’s a “Food Network and HGTV Only” package, I’ll stick with Netflix and Hulu Plus. Works for me.

  83. jayde_drag0n says:

    So this guy is whining because he’s too somethingorother to FREAKING DOWNLOAD? Dewd, Netflix, Hulu, and every major station offers its programming streaming for free (limited ads) on their sites.. and thats just the easy*coughlegalcough* ways to do it.. you don’t need a $600 antenna.. you don’t need to install shit.. just get INTERNET

  84. Jalbert says:

    What I’ve learned from consumerist is that quitting cable is easy, as long as you have no interest in cable shows or live sports, and if you do care about cable TV or live sports you’re an idiot who doesn’t deserve to save money. I’ve also learned that you just need to know how to build you’re own HTPC and if you don’t know how you’re a moron who doesn’t deserve to save money.

    So what I have to say is that I know how to make my own beer, liquor and wine so anyone who buys any of that at retail ever is a sucker and doesn’t deserve to save money.

    Seriously, I’ve never seen so many self centered comments. What works for one won’t always work for everyone else. I admit that cable is expensive but its simple to have. Just like most people don’t want to spend hours brewing their own beer and rather just buy some from the store. I wish Hulu/Netflix/Roku/Google TV/etc would allow me to cut my cable bill but until its easy and lets me watch the same programming (Live Sports) I’m going to stick with cable.

  85. Jalbert says:

    What I’ve learned from consumerist is that quitting cable is easy, as long as you have no interest in cable shows or live sports, and if you do care about cable TV or live sports you’re an idiot who doesn’t deserve to save money. I’ve also learned that you just need to know how to build you’re own HTPC and if you don’t know how you’re a moron who doesn’t deserve to save money.

    So what I have to say is that I know how to make my own beer, liquor and wine so anyone who buys any of that at retail ever is a sucker and doesn’t deserve to save money.

    Seriously, I’ve never seen so many self centered comments. What works for one won’t always work for everyone else. I admit that cable is expensive but its simple to have. Just like most people don’t want to spend hours brewing their own beer and rather just buy some from the store. I wish Hulu/Netflix/Roku/Google TV/etc would allow me to cut my cable bill but until its easy and lets me watch the same programming (Live Sports) I’m going to stick with cable.

    I watch cable sometimes, I also read books, work out, and lead an active lifestyle, don’t assume that everyone who watches cable is an imbecile who doesn’t deserve to save money.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Well, really the issue is that this guy wanted to cut back on cable spending and didn’t really give it a full effort. He didn’t have to give the experiment a try and document it, but he did so we get to chime in about his failed efforts.

  86. mikells43 says:

    bit torrent and torrent sites that are private and invite only are ur ticket.

  87. Rhinoguy says:

    I don’t have a TV. I do have a monitor (no channel selector) connected to the Blu-Ray and the ‘pute. Maybe six hours a week, tops. Diseased and proud! I even pitched my porn. It was all on VHS so who cares….

  88. dvdchris says:

    Seriously? $80 is the CHEAPEST internet/phone bundle? No wonder people are canceling this crap. The amount they used to pay is outright insanity. There is no content available worth $179/mo to me. Windows 7 has a built-in HD-DVR. Skype is free.

  89. physics2010 says:

    My 720i signal from my attic antennae still beats my 1080i signal from Dish. The reason? Less compression on the broadcast channels. And obviously weather doesn’t affect the antennae as it sits snugly INSIDE. $620? Seriously? How far out in the boonies is he that he needs a specialized antennae? I’m still using the same old antennae and wiring from the analog days.

  90. popsugargurl says:

    Cut cable/ satellite TV 2 years ago. As a former Directv customer, I don’t miss paying $70 a month and the frustration of losing picture to rain storms or high winds. And I had the misfortune of trying TimeWarner Cable for 6 months. The picture quality was comically bad and the “high speed” internet would slow to a crawl during peak hours.

    Netlfix $7.99 streaming package is great. I can watch Hulu TV on the go on my wireless laptop in HD. My favorite sites for free media content are Hulu, Fancast, Sidereel. JustinTV, Youtube, and ESPN 360.

  91. Hands says:

    I was about to get rid of cable when the Miami Heat signed Chris Bosh and Lebron James. The bastages knew exactly which of my buttons to push.

  92. psyonn says:

    Winegard 7698P goes for $120-$220 online (we can round up to $300 f0r shipping), 100ft of coax w/ground wire should be under $50 ($40 on Amazon) – a Grounding block and wire will be $10-15.

    How did he pay $620?!? (he should easily have been able to buy that equipment for less than half that) I have lost some respect for CNet today.

    Personally I have been cable-free for about 4 years, and I still have a $10 pair of rabbit ears in my attic because I have not gotten around to buying a real antenna yet.

  93. palfas says:

    Convenience costs money. It’s that simple

  94. jtd24 says:

    I’m I the only person who likes my cable?
    I like that there is a wizards/capitals/nationals game on nearly every day of the year. I like DVR and on-demand. I like the nfl network and the nhl network. I like Thursday night football. I like Monday Night Football. I like that sometimes, while there’s nothing on that I was planning to watch, I can still find a cooking show or home improvement show to pass some time. I LOVE that at anytime of the day, any day of the week, there is an episode of law and order on somewhere. I’m don’t have anything against those of us who choose not to subscribe to cable, but it’s not as evil as a lot of people make it out to be.

  95. 3rdUserName says:

    I’d lose my cellphone before I ditch cable tv.. I’ve never understood how people can do it other than out of necessity.

  96. BillyDeeCT says:

    Ever since DirecTV decided that existing customers wouldn’t get HD for Free like their new customers I cut the cord and I haven’t looked back. Those clowns did me a favor as if they dropped the $10/month fee I would have still been paying them! While it’s only been three-quarters of a year for me I have no regrets.

    Between over-the-air HD, internet, Free-to-air satellite and a nice DVD collection I have no problems, considering when I grew up there was a whole 7 channels available!

  97. Chaosium says:

    This guy’s overly lazy.

    “Big Medium fans”

    Oh, and with terrible taste in content. No wonder he couldn’t live without cable.

  98. ames says:

    I seriously don’t understand what’s so hard about going without cable television. All I used my tv for was DVDs. Everything else I watched on my computer, which okay, maybe that’s the rub if you spent a ton of money on a high-end television – but for me, it was fine. My computer monitor is better than my television was. And I watched my shows when I had time to watch them, which usually wasn’t when they aired.

    What is so hard here?

  99. BuyerOfGoods3 says:

    “So he installed a 14-foot Winegard 7698P HDTV antenna on his roof to snag free over the air (OTA) HD. Including the 100 feet of coax, grounding block, and grounding rod, all the gear cost $620. “

    Are you freakin serious? A $20 plastic and metal antennae has been on our roof for 2 months (since we ditched Dish) and it works JUST FINE. It also has a freakin remote to change directions to other cities.. We get quite a few stations and they are broadcast in HD and 1080p —something DISH does not do. DIsh, in our area, had a max of something like 720p. So yeah — Our free over the air tv shoves DIsh in the Dirt.

  100. Intheknow says:

    You know what? There’s so MUCH MORE to life than television. I stopped television all together 5 years ago and just don’t miss it. Now, when I happen to be in a hotel or somewhere where there is TV playing I’m astounded at how consumer-driven it really is. Also, it’s so “in your face” and fast moving that it actually makes me feel anxious and jumpy. I’ll take DVDs and books and “other activities” any day (or evening).

  101. kamiikoneko says:

    I don’t get any television. No antenna, no cable, nothing. Don’t miss it at all. I have no trouble between netflix DVD/watch-it-now and various online streaming sites finding every episode of the few decent shows on the air. Honestly the only thing I sometimes wish I could watch is football, but that’s why we invented bars with TVs…

  102. TimeLord says:

    We went cable free for about 5 or 6 months and we went back because my daughter was experiencing severe Disney Channel withdrawal. She looks upon this dark period in her history like it was the Holocaust or the Black Death. One can not comprehend the feeling of loss and regret felt over episodes of Wizards of Waverly Place left unseen and the biweekly dose of Camp Rock 2 denied. Eventually this trail of tears came to an end and the cable guy was received as messiah.

  103. blueman says:

    Mostof the commenters here seem to be single people who enjoy technology and/or are willing to put up with a lot of hassle — and are not sports fans. My issues:

    1. Our family members have very different tastes and often want to watch different shows simultaneously. Only one of us is technically competent, and I’m not willing to serve as tech consultant every time someone wants to watch a show on Hulu, or a variety of websites/services, etc.

    2. Sports. I want to watch it live, and I want it in HDTV on the big screen. I want to, for example, be able to switch between two NFL games on Sunday afternoon. And it would get damned expensive going to the bar every time I wanted to watch a game — and I’m not big enough to fight the guys who want to watch Ultimate Fighting when i want to watch baseball.

    3. I won’t BitTorrent. Legalities aside, I believe in paying fairly for a product I enjoy, whether it’s music or a book or a TV show.

    4. News: Yes, a lot of the cable-news stuff is drek, but there’s a lot of good programming as well, including BBC, CNN International, some of the shows on CNN, etc.

    5. Convenience. I can handle the technology, but it’s more effort than it’s worth. Often I prefer to plop down on the couch, pick up the remote and watch — either live or programs I’ve recorded.

    (And yes, I read books and magazines, play sports, coach my kid’s teams, etc. I’m curious how many hours the anti-TV snobs out there spend surfing the web — now there’s a haven for time-wasting, mind-numbing content.)