I've been meaning to write this post for quite some time but kept forgetting! I feel it's an important topic for thrifty homemakers in Christian homes.
For years we paid the high price for cable or satellite TV thinking that it was the only way to get any television channels. But the cost was not the only issue. Along with the good channels like Turner Classic Movies and HGTV, there were ungodly channels that we wanted nothing to do with. But with Cable and Satellite tv, you have to accept the bad channels along with the good ones. So we used the "block" feature on every bad channel. But still, the monthly cost was ridiculous. Sometimes we felt bad that we were not watching enough tv to rationalize the price!
About 5 years ago we moved and decided not to renew the TV service. And I'm happy to say, we have never looked back.
For the first couple of years, we went without any tv and just watched a video now and then. We really thought that this was our only option. But then some friends of ours mentioned getting an antenna for their home (they, like us, also had no TV service). Just then, a light bulb went on! I could not believe I'd forgotten about the antenna option!
Why had this not crossed our mental radar? I started to wonder if we were just dumb or if maybe other families had been lulled into the same idea that the only option for tv was to pay for a service.
I can see why we thought this. Everywhere you go, cable and satellite companies are advertising their services as though they are the only possibility. I remember wishing that TV was still free like it was during my childhood. We never paid for TV when I was a kid! We had the rabbit ears on the living room tv set (anyone remember calling it a "TV set"?) complete with aluminum foil on the ends for better reception. :) We had the basic channels and it was good enough.
Well I'm happy to say that TV is still free! :) Thankfully we longer need to mount precarious rooftop antennae or use clumsy rabbit ears anymore. They have digital antennae that are as flat as a pancake and you can hang it flush against a wall or sit it on top of a flat surface. Coolness. They come in a range of prices and styles. My husband wanted good reception for football games so he got the nicest one Walmart had. I think we paid $39.99 for it and it works great.
So now we get upwards of 55 channels or so — all for FREE. No, we don't get HGTV, TCM and a host of other cable specialties, but you know what? I don't even miss them! Instead we get a great variety of great programming on Create, GetTv, MeTV, Decades, Cozi and some Christian channels like Daystar and TBN. We also get all the broadcasting channels for local news sports and weather (NBC, CBS, ABC) and even some shopping networks.
What about DVR's? Don't you need to have cable or satellite in order to have one of those?
My husband found this DVR on Amazon that digitally records programs onto a hard drive OR a DVD whichever we choose. It can pause live tv just the same as the ones the tv service companies sell and loan. So far we've had ours for almost 2 years and it works wonderfully. We can record a program and then watch it when it's convenient just like before. Super easy.
It cost $299 which is not cheap, but when we considered the money we wasted and basically threw away on cable/satellite, the investment was worth it and it paid for itself in no time.
So now, we are able to have similar benefits we'd get using a tv service (minus some specialty channels) only without the contract and the hefty bill each month! A very low investment and a very high return. I highly recommend ditching the high cost of cable and satellite and going with antenna TV.
How about you? Do you pay a service for TV? Have you ever thought of what you could do with the hundreds you could save each year by not paying for TV?