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Over the last few years, there has been more and more hype over “cutting the cord” and ditching cable. Not only is cable expensive, but then you factor in dealing with horrible customer service anytime you have a question or something goes wrong. Don’t forget how they nickel and dime you for every single service, including house calls to fix issues that were their fault to begin with! And did I mention it’s EXPENSIVE?
UGH. I’m still a little bitter about my past cable experiences if you can’t tell.
However, it does get better. Much better in fact.
What if you could cut the expensive cable but still have access to free live tv?
I really can’t think of anyone who doesn’t watch tv at all. People typically have cable, satellite, or some streaming service that provides them with television viewing. So if you are tightening your budget, it may be tough to go cold turkey when it comes to watching tv. It turns out, there is a way you can still watch free live tv without any monthly subscription!
Get a digital television antenna.
An DTV antenna gives you access to FREE live tv broadcasted in your area by local stations. Depending on your area, this means that you can typically receive the channels: ABC, CBS, FOX, PBS, and the CW.
Now before you hate on these local channels, let me remind you that these channels host some popular mainstream shows. Here are shows that are offered on ABC alone:
(Images from ABC.com)
Not to mention those offered on FOX: 24 Legacy, Bones, Empire, The Last Man on Earth, New Girl, MasterChef, So You Think You Can Dance, etc.
CBS: The Amazing Race, Criminal Minds, The Big Bang Theory, Code Black, The Good Wife, Madam Secretary, NCIS, Survivor, Undercover Boss, and more.
These are only some of the shows on a few of these channels. Once again, you can get all this for FREE! Keep reading to find out all the details.
Here’s what to do:
Check your address
First, check to see what channels are broadcasted in your area and the strength of the signal. Simply type in your address here to check the signal availability. You will be shown a map of broadcasting stations with the distance and signal strength of each channel listed as well. Here is what the map looks like for the area that I live:
So as you can see, most all of the local channels are under 25 miles away from me which is great. The closer the broadcasting station is the more likely you will be able to pick up that channel clearly. However, you must keep in mind the terrain where you live. Even if a station is only 10 miles away, but there is a mountain in between your address and that station, your signal will probably be much weaker. Keep this in mind when you are checking your address.
Choose your antenna
So of course nothing in life is completely free – you must buy an antenna to access your free live tv. You can get them on Amazon for anywhere from $15 to $120+. But it’s a one time purchase and you’re done! No cable contracts or repeating monthly subscription fees. It’s awesome!
There are many different antennae to choose from but they are typically separated into service ranges of 25 miles, 50 miles, or 60 miles. Antennae that have a 50 mile service radius and under are typically used indoors and can be attached to a wall or a window. An antenna with a higher service radius is normally placed outdoors on your roof.
Choose the antenna based on how far away the broadcasting stations are from your address. Remember the higher the service radius of your antenna, the clearer your reception will be and the more channels you may pick up. I have linked some great antenna options below (25 mi, 30 mi, 50 mi, 60 mi outdoor) – we have the 50 mile radius antenna and it’s been great!
Mohu Leaf 25 mile range:Most likely the best fit if you live in the city with broadcasting stations very close by
Mohu Leaf 30 mile range antenna: A little more range than the 25 mile but you will still need to live relatively close to broadcasting stations to pick up channels clearly.
Mohu Leaf 50 mile antenna: I recommend the 50 mile because this is the one that we use and have had great success with. The larger radius of this antenna has allowed us to pick up more channels with clearer reception. We love it!
Mohu Sky 60 mile antenna: This antenna is meant to be placed outdoors in a high reception area like your roof. It will enable you to have an even further reach for getting channels and receiving them clearly. If you live further away from the city, this could be a better option for you.
Set it up
One of the best things about using this antenna – no difficult set up! You literally just screw the cable into the coaxial port on your tv. (You can see the port on the back of my tv below.) Important: Your tv must be a 2007 or newer in order to be able to transmit the digital signal through this port. Then, simply hang the antenna on a wall or attach to a nearby window – usually the higher up the better.
Tip: After you have the cable plugged into the tv, make sure your tv is on so you can monitor your channel reception. Be ready to spend some time placing your antenna in just the right spot. Sometimes even a few inches matters! When we set our antenna up, a few inches higher and to the right made the difference in us receiving an entire channel!
Keep in mind: if you live in an apartment building, condo, or in between lots of tall buildings, these could be factors in blocking your antenna signal.
We have an Xbox One that we use to make our antenna much more user friendly. After we got our Mohu Leaf 50 TV Antenna, we also purchased a digital tv tuner that allowed us to plug our antenna directly into our Xbox. By using our Xbox with our antenna, the tuner created a tv guide where we can see all the channels and times instead of having to flip through every channel to see what’s on. It’s incredible!
Not only did the Xbox/tuner combo give us a tv guide, but it also allows us to pause live tv. YES; PAUSE LIVE TV! For people who haven’t had DVR in forever, this was awesome! Now of course we couldn’t record anything and you can only pause for up to 30 minutes, but it’s still an amazing feature considering we already are getting free live tv.
So just for the awesome features of having a tv guide and being able to pause & rewind live tv, I highly recommend using your antenna with a digital tuner and a gaming system like the Xbox One. You can get the Digital TV Tuner for Xbox One here on Amazon.
In addition, if you are still wanting more tv options, I recommend joining Amazon Prime. On top of the free 2-day shipping benefits of your membership, you are also given access to Amazon Video that has a library of 1000s of movies and tv shows that you can watch for free! Amazon Prime is only $99 a year – that’s a little more than $8 a month. If you’re not ready to commit yet but would like to try it out, you can start your free 30 day trial by clicking the link below:
Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed this post.
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