Cutting The Cord  November 1, 2017
In the “good ‘ol days” as a kid, I remember having a big ‘ol TV antenna on our roof…with a rotor and
a big dial to turn it toward distant stations. There were only 3 local stations at the time, which we got
but thanks to the rotor we also received stations from Asheville, Knoxville & Charlotte. The only real
reason to get cable when it came along was to get stations more clearly, maybe get a few more
channels and to get the antenna off the roof.
I had TV cable as soon as it was available and kept it until this past summer, about 30 years. After my
bill went up to over $250 a month, with stations being dropped and countless service problems with
the local cable company I finally “cut the cord!”
Now that all TV stations broadcast digitally, I put an antenna in my attic….to avoid putting it on the
roof (Lots of subdivisions and home owners associations ban them.)  Life comes full circle! Using an
amplifier, I get all the local stations in crystal clear digital high definition.  I dropped cable TV but kept
my cable Internet so that I could use my Roku to watch Netflix and other shows. Most of these are
through paid subscriptions but some channels are free. If your TV does not have a digital tuner (mine
doesn’t) you will need a digital converter box for the antenna (about $30.) I replaced my whole
house cable feed with the antenna so I get all the local channels on all my TV’s. (Your reception is
based on your proximity to the TV transmitter towers on Holston Mountain.)
I have since been turned on to video streaming devices. There are many to choose from, such as the
Amazon Fire stick. There are numerous Android streaming boxes available too. I use the Nivida Shield
box (about $200.) I have also used the Mi box ($69.00) and others priced as low as $30. They all do
the same thing…..but the better boxes have bigger processors and more memory so they are faster.
Out of the box you get many streaming channels, but again lots are by subscription like Netflix &
Hulu. One downside, you can only watch it on the TV it is hooked up to….not others in your house.
Using the free software Kodi, and adding different free streaming “builds,” you can get movies, TV
shows and lots of free stuff. This is all perfectly legal as you are streaming the content, not
downloading to own…or sell. Kind of like folks who stream our radio stations….free music. You are
supposed to pay only if you download songs to own. My current favorite build is “Cosmic Saints.” The
great part about my set-up is that you can watch current TV shows whenever you want, not just
when they are broadcast. For that reason a DVR is not needed. Same with movies…some even
currently in theatres.
The last caveat for me was live sports. There are numerous apps that you can subscribe to to get live
channels such as ESPN & NFL Network & Redzone. My current favorite is “Gears TV.” Costs $15 a
month and I get virtually all USA channels, and some other countries too! It comes pre-installed on
the Cosmic Saints build.
As far as costs are concerned, by dropping cable TV my bill went from $250 to $80. That includes
Internet and home phone service bundled.  I pay $15 a month for Gears TV, so my total is under
$100. I do still subscribe to Netflix only because my daughter is hooked on some of their original
programs. I don’t even use the Roku anymore because everything on it is available on the Android
box. The local power company will soon be offering Internet service and at that time I will sever all
ties with the cable company.
I have set several folks up with this system, some keeping basic cable and setting up the streaming
box for movies and shows they can’t get otherwise. I am available to consult for anyone else who
wants to “CUT THE CORD!” Check out my service!
Thanks for reading my blog!
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Cutting the Cord