Continuing with the TV theme of the last few frugal tips, here’s another.
If you are paying for basic cable or satellite TV, consider ditching it for over-the-air (OTA) TV.
Before you get the pitchforks and torches, let me justify my reasoning!
If you didn’t already know, broadcast (or OTA) TV has been transitioning from analog to digital for over a year. This means your old TV won’t be able to pick up anything but static after the switch (June 2009). What it also means is gone are the days of static, ghosting, and poor image/sound quality. The new digital signals render perfectly in standard all the way up to full high-definition (HD). Also, broadcasters are no longer limited to one channel. Out where I live, each “station” (i.e. channel “2”) has at least two “sub-stations” (i.e. channels “2.1” and “2.2”).
A sub-channel can carry repeats of a previously broadcast show, old archive footage, different formats of the shows on the main channel (wide-screen versus 4:3, 720p versus 480p, etc.), alternate programming, and all kinds of other stuff.
All you’re going to need to get these new digital stations is a digital tuner card, in the form of:
- a TV with a digital tuner inside,
- a digital converter box, or
- a digital TV tuner card for your computer.
Of course, to pull in these channels you’ll want a good antenna. I’d recommend a 7’ to 15’ roof-style antenna mounted in your attic and pointed in the direction of your local TV networks’ broadcast towers. Don’t get suckered in to needing a new “digital” antenna. That $30 antenna from your local Radio Shack or home improvement store will work fine (just make sure it has an RG6 coax-style connector on the cable).
Pointing it isn’t hard and usually doesn’t require much skill, just figure out where the broadcast towers are in relation to your house (call the local stations when in doubt), and point the antenna in that general direction. Keep in mind, you don’t point this kind of antenna like an arrow! Point the NARROW part of the antenna TOWARD the broadcast tower! Many people point their antenna AWAY from the tower then wonder why the signal isn’t great.
What about premium stations?
If you’re hooked on your sports stations, your premium movie channels, or specialty channels, this solution might not be for you. Then again, I have a solution for you that might fix that, too. Look for that in an upcoming Frugal Tip!
In my area, basic Comcast Digital Cable TV costs $29.99/month; basic satellite through DirecTV costs $29.99/month plus $5/month for local channels; basic satellite through DishNetwork is $19.99 plus $5/month for local channels. It should be noted, these prices are likely for one TV-set only, and additional per month fees may apply for each additional TV.
We’ll average the three, just to be fair, for an annual savings of $359.88!
|Frugal Tip||Annual Savings|
|How can you Shave and Save?||$27.88|
|Alternate to Shaving Gels and Creams||$47.28|
|TV on YOUR Schedule||$99.00|
|Ditch Paid TV||$359.88|
Tune in for our next Frugal Tip!