Thinking about “Cutting the Cord”? Read This First!

Last summer, my wife and I decided to “cut the cord” in order to cut expenses and save money.  We were spending over eighty bucks a month for a satellite service that provided channels like MOON Channel.  (MOON Channel is not the actual name, but you have probably stumbled across it and wondered why am I paying for this?)  We had recently bought a “Smart TV” and was streaming mostly Netflix and Amazon Prime in our living room anyway so we figured the time was right.

I knew we were out of our 2 year agreement with Direct TV so I called them up and told them we would like to cancel.  They tried to talk me out of it by throwing me free SKIN-E-MAX for a year, and although that was very tempting I told them to cancel anyway.  After they found out I was serious about cancelling they told me I would have to pay to ship their equipment  back to them…WTH?  Their vans pass by our house all the time, but since I no longer was interested in their service they tried to stick it to me one last time.  They sent us boxes via UPS a few days later so I packed up their equipment and sent it back to them.  I farted in all the boxes and quickly sealed them! Winner.

At first, it took some time to get used to.  For example: with an internet browser in your living room you don’t have to wait for the 11 o’clock news to see if the world is going to end… you just Google it.  Our children, surprisingly, didn’t complain one bit about not having “normal” television to watch which was strange for me because when my mother canceled cable service when I was a kid I felt underprivileged and unloved.

We bought our kids Roku’s (internet steaming devices) for each of their rooms so they could watch what they wanted to watch when they wanted to watch it.

Roku’s are great because they only give access to internet TV channels and not the full internet.  We had done it!  We had successfully “cut the cord” and everyone was happy… then came football season.

When football season came around I figured I could just stream games through network websites such as espn.com or NFL.com, but unless you have a satellite or cable provider, I later found, you CANNOT!  After missing the first two weeks of the 2013 college football season I started finding ways to watch.  I would invite myself over to people’s houses on Saturday mornings and wouldn’t leave until the last game was played that night.  I would even ask people to update their Facebook status with a play-by-play analysis of every game.  Three weeks went by before someone finally suggested I buy a digital antenna so I could watch the games at home.  That was it!  This was my solution.  I did some research and learned that with a digital antenna I could get all the major networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX) for free in high definition!

I went out and bought a $40 indoor antenna from Walmart.  I came home, plugged the antenna into to the back of my “Smart TV”, scanned for channels and…NOTHING.  I took the antenna back to Walmart and then bought a $80 “Enhanced” indoor antenna for better reception.  I came home scanned for channels and… NOTHING!  I was defeated, but then I read that in rural areas such as mine I would need a  “Long Range Outdoor Antenna” in order to receive network signals.  I rushed to Best Buy and bought a $180 “Long Range Outdoor Antenna” that was suggested to me by a employee there.  I came home scanned for channels and finally… 3 damn channels!  I even had a friend install my fancy new antenna on the roof and my 3 channels then decreased by 3… I gave up.

This is my experience with “cutting the cord” yours may be different.  We now have been “cord-free” for almost a year now with an annual savings of $1,000.  It’s really not that bad it just takes time to get used to.  It’s ironic now when I’m watching 1 of my 3 channels and the reception is bad… a Direct TV commercial  will come on and the reception then becomes crystal clear.