A few months ago, I discussed options for cutting down your cable bill. I suggested internet streaming (Netflix and Hulu Plus), dish companies, and even calling your cable provider and complaining — but what I didn’t explore was an antenna.
Now that baseball season is over and I’m home with my fiancée for the off-season, this is something I needed to revisit. My fiancée cancelled the cable service a couple months back to save us around $75 a month. We already have a Netflix account, and we prefer not to spend most of our time in front of the TV anyways.
Now that I’m back, I’d like to occasionally be able to watch sporting events and other programs on local TV. So I turned to the comments from my post and found that an antenna may be a plausible solution.
The Antenna Options
A quick Google search for antennas yields an overwhelming number of options. Outdoor, indoor, amplified, flat, bunny ears, and more. I began my search by looking at reviews. An antenna is a simple device: it either gets reception or it doesn’t. If it’s getting bad reviews, it probably doesn’t work. There are a few things to keep in mind on your search:
- How far are you from towers?
- Can you mount an outdoor antenna?
- How much are you willing to spend?
Your distance from the nearest tower is important; you can find out on sites like Antennaweb.org. If you live in an apartment, you probably won’t be able to mount an outdoor antenna. If you own a house, an outdoor antenna typically picks up a better signal, because there are no walls blocking the signal.
Antennas can cost anywhere from $10 to well over $100, and in general, you’ll get what you pay for. If the antenna advertises the ability to reach towers 30 miles away, don’t expect it to do anything more.
My Antenna Search
I purchased an antenna for $30 at Best Buy, but unfortunately, it didn’t pick up a signal for me. I returned the unit and am still searching for the right solution. The antenna from Best Buy was flat, making it sleek, but not functional. The next one I buy will likely have bunny ears and hopefully be more practical.
Over the next four months, having an antenna (assuming I can find one that works) will save us over $250. It’ll also save us numerous hours sitting in front of the TV watching useless TV shows. Finding a new way to fill this time should be simple.
What’s Your Experience?
Have you ever owned an antenna? Was it a positive or negative experience? I’m excited for my antenna experience to begin. It’ll force me to get outside and enjoy things other than television.
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