We Finally Cut the Cord (continued) 6


It has been some weeks now that we cut the cable. Our heads haven’t exploded yet, which is a good thing (I did not rule that out from happening). As a matter of fact we’ve hardly noticed.

No, we no longer get The walking dead but we’ll survive (as I’m sure will they). We no longer get the Daily Show nor the Larry Wilmore show which, given that this is election season, is probably a good thing. As entertaining as these shows are, they’re also somewhat depressing.

Here is what we do still get, and how we get it after we cut the cable:

What may come as a surprise to some is that with a good-ol’ roof- mounted antenna (and even some indoor ones) you can get lots of TV and lots of it in HD. We installed a roof mounted antenna as we tried the leaf antenna indoors and got disappointing results. The main problem being that broadcast towers are situated all around us. We have no walls facing toward the major cluster of towers and thus get limited reception on the leaf. The roof antenna can be pointed in 360 degrees and even comes with a little remote that allows you turns it.

Mohu Leaf Antenna

The leaf had bad reception for us. This could be due to the direction in which our walls point. In general they get pretty good reviews

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This amplified outdoor antenna which we mounted on our roof gets very good reception for all the channels we need (some 50 of them)

Before you install your antenna and turn on the tube, you’ll first need to know where your channels are broadcast from. In order to find our the channels I used tvfool.com.

You simply enter your address and the height of your antenna and it will generate a map surrounding your location with all the channels. In our case the map looks something like this.we finally cut the cable, TV stations

All you need now is a compass (did you know your iPhone has one) and you can direct your antenna in the right direction.

So that takes care of regular TV. Mrs MI10 gets all the Mystery and Masterpiece Theater on PBS she wants, we get all the late night shows and much much more.

Besides regular TV we have two streaming devices. We mostly use the Apple TV for Netflix and movies and we also have the Amazon Fire TV stick. The Fire TV stick also provides Netflix (separate subscription). The nice thing about the Fire TV Stick is that in combination with Amazon Prime you get a lot of programming for free.

You’re TV will need an available USB port to work with the Fire TV stick whereas the e Apple TV connects via HDMI. What I don’t like about the Fire TV Stick is that I can’t program our Logitec Harmony remote to operate it. The Apple TV does work fine with our universal remote.

Both the Fire TV Stick and Apple TV allow for apps that directly connect you to some of the networks. These apps will allow you to stream episodes of your favorites shows (with commercials) sometime as soon as the day after they were originally broadcast.

As for streaming services we use Netflix and Amazon Prime. There is some overlap in “free” shows although Amazon Prime seems to have an exclusive contract with HBO (lots of earlier seasons of their big hits available for free). Amazon Prime also lets you buy episodes or entire seasons of some of your favorite shows. We have not had to resort (yet) to buying content, other than movies on iTunes.

So there you have it. This is what life looks like for us after we cut the cable. We still watch too much TV, we’re missing a few shows but are just fine with it. Here is what we use:

HD antenna $37.99
Used for: all major networks, weather and alerts.
Pros: remarkable good reception and excellent HD, cheap
Cons: although it has a remote to turn the antenna there is no feedback as to where it is pointing.

Apple TV (older version $99, 32GB $149.00 64GB $199.00)
used for: Netflix, iTunes movie purchases and rentals
Pros:
Programmable on our universal remote.
Latest and greatest movies available through Itunes.
Apps for many of the major network channels.

 Cons: Pricey: the ones we have are older and were $99. I don’t see why you would pay double for 64GB, especially when used for streaming.

Fire TV stick $39.99
Used for: mostly additional programming not available on Netflix.
Pros: cheap.
Con: does not work with our Universal Remote.

Works best in conjunction with Amazon Prime which gets you lots of free programming.  Shop Amazon – Give the Gift of Amazon Prime

We only use Netflix as our paid service at $9.99 a month.

I’m sure you have heard about many other services such as google chromecast, Hulu, Roku and they’re all valid services with even more content. I may write about those some more in future posts.

Disclaimer: we did not physically cut the cable. We only dropped all TV services. We still depend on our cable company for internet connectivity. Time will tell how that plays out when everyone starts to “cut the cable”.

Let me know below if you’ve cut the cable are considering to do so. Love to hear from you.

Good luck reaching your financial goals



About Maarten van Lier

Maarten came to this country with a suitcase and a diploma. He created a financial plan and goal to become a millionaire in 10 years. He successfully turned his financial goals into reality, wrote a book about it and now blogs actively in hope of inspiring other to do the same.


6 thoughts on “We Finally Cut the Cord (continued)

  • James

    Good to know your head hasn’t exploded … yet 😄 Great rundown of your experience and how to best make use of a rooftop antenna and streaming devices to create a reasonable satisfying – or even good – television experience.

  • Andrei

    I lived without a TV for a year, and my head only cleared, not exploded. Now I started to occasionally watch some Netflix and regret it already.

    • Maarten van Lier Post author

      Wow Andrei, going cold turkey is not something I see myself doing soon. I can see how it would be calming. Maybe that will be the last step after I’ve binge watched everything there is to see. Hope you’re doing well.

  • Mrs Groovy

    No fair! James stole my opening line! How awesome that you could get good service with a $38 antenna.

    We cut the cord and can’t seem to remember how long ago it was. Maybe 8 months? Right now we’re listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio. We also have Netflex and watch YouTube (and read a lot).

    • Maarten van Lier Post author

      The $38 antenna seems to work much better than the leaf. Between Netflix and Amazon there is enough to stay entertained. Especially the kids get everything they went there in combo with pbs kids programming. Looks like we’re late to the game. The thing that worries me about so many people taking the same route is that cable companies will jack their ISP price. We will be back at square one.

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