Cutting the Cable: Not as involved as you might think.

by Tracy Scheckel

Cutting the Cable

Do you have dreams about cutting the cable and taking more control of you television?  Do you then start to research and with head spinning give up on the idea?  I did that for a long time before taking the plunge.  In hindsight, it was pretty painless.

The first thing you should consider is what you actually watch on TV.  Are you a sports nut?  Do you simply watch network television?  Are you a movie buff who needs premium channels?  Once you’ve done this assessment, you can determine how to proceed and what technology you will need.  In most cases, you’ll be looking for some combination of network television and content delivered via Internet.   In some areas, Internet TV is an option as well.

Let’s start with network television, depending on your location, the solution can be inexpensive and simple.  It the old-fashioned antenna.  Even digital television is still transmitted the old-fashioned way, from strategically placed towers.  If you know where those towers are in relation to your location, you can purchase the antenna best suited to serve you.  There is a great tool to help you find those towers. The calculator allows you to input either your address or coordinates and then provides a matrix of all the transmission towers that serve you.

Considering Cutting the Cable

The calculator provides the information pictured here.  Based on the channels you watch and your distance from the towers, you can select the appropriate antenna.  The information in the matrix is color coded to let you know whether an indoor or outdoor antenna is required.

There are numerous options for TV antennas, but after some pretty exhaustive research, Mohu was at the top of the list.  Mohu offers a wide selection of antennas and the ability to search by zip code to determine the right antenna for your viewing preferences.  For my location we selected the Mohu Sky 60 and mounted it in the attic.  It delivers 16 channels including all the major networks and PBS including several of their secondary stations.  The only compromise was the loss of my local municipal access channel which has since begun to stream it’s content via the Internet.  Small problem solved!

When cutting the cable: TV, Broadband, or both?

Internet access is the next consideration.  In my case, cutting the cable meant giving up cable broadband and cable TV.  The decision was simple because my local high-speed DSL provider was able to provide the adequate bandwidth for streaming content at my location.  With an Amazon Prime  and a Netflix subscription and an Internet ready TV, my household viewing requirements were solved.

Before going further, it’s important to also assess your household bandwidth requirements and the area providers who can meet those requirements. Next week we’ll look at how to access Internet content either with a Smart Internet-ready TV or software and equipment for your older TV.