How To Give Up Cable TV By Installing An Indoor TV Antenna
I am giving up cable TV! As part of my attack on budget cutting, I have decided to divorce my cable company. This is not a decision I made lightly. I’m paying $68.00 a month just for basic TV. No frills…no HBO…no extras. We had a family meeting, and the three of us agreed we could live very well without cable. I have a 17 year old grandson who never watches television. He is too involved in computer games and his Xbox. My 20 year old granddaughter lives with me so she can attend school at night. She works full time during the day, and never has time to watch TV. Since I started writing articles for HubPages, when I’m not outside in the garden or in the kitchen cooking, I am on the computer. I purchased a Roku ™ box and now we get movies, music, and TV shows through that. I can also stream movies onto my computer through various sources. So, the decision was made.
I Do A Lot Of Research
Being the cautious type, I wasn’t going to cancel my subscription to the cable company until I was sure we could live without television. I disconnected the cable for one week, and we didn’t miss television at all, with the exception of our local educational channel. That television station is about 45 miles away. I did research on TV antennas. I have the old fashioned TV sets that cannot receive digital stations. See how smart I am now? Now I know the difference between analog and digital televisions! So through my research, I discovered I would need a converter box to convert the analog signal into digital. That sounded pretty simple so far. The next thing I would need is a TV antenna. Who knows? If the converter box is adequate, I won’t need the interior antenna.
Interior or Exterior Antenna??
Before the days of cable, everyone used an outside TV antenna or we used “rabbit ears” on top of the TV set. Anyone remember those? We couldn’t get hundreds of channels (that we never watch), but it kept us happy. That’s all I need. One thing I had to consider is which kind of antenna??? There are interior and exterior antennas. Oh, dear, this is getting more and more complicated. I live in Florida and we can have hurricanes here. We’ve been lucky for the past three years. No hurricanes. I figure with my luck if I have an exterior antenna installed on my roof, we’ll get a hurricane. Then I’ll have to pay someone to come and take the antenna down or just allow it to blow away into my neighbor’s yard. I’ll have to pay someone to erect the antenna on my roof to start with, so that’s more expense.
The Salesman Tries To Sell Me An Exterior Antenna
I started looking into interior antennas. Hmmm, that might just work. So, I’ll start out with a converter box and a small interior antenna. I was feeling pretty smug by now with my intelligent decision. After all, I had spent a full day doing all my research. I went to our local electronics store and talked with a nice young man who was very helpful. I was all set to buy a converter box and the interior antenna, but he talked me right out of the interior antenna. He said I’d never pull in any TV stations because they are all at last 45 miles away from where I live. He worked up prices for me that totaled $400.00 plus the cost of installation which would be at least $150.00 for someone to get up on the roof and install the antenna. This is getting a lot more expensive than I planned.
My Purchases Of The Converter Box And The Interior Antenna Box
I Purchase A Converter Box And An Interior Antenna
Now, I’m back to “square one”. I went to our local “big box” store. The nice young man there knew nothing about interior antennas. He just showed me where they were located in the store. I was confident I could pick out what I needed on my own. I purchased an RCA converter box for $49.99, and a Clearstream Micron-R antenna with a reflector, HDTV High Gain that cost $79.00. I didn't have any choice in these because they were the only ones on the shelf. Being the intelligent person I am, I even bought 10 feet of extra cable just in case the supplied cable wasn’t long enough. If this converter box works to transmit the signal to digital, I won’t need the antennas. Hey, it’s worth a try, right? I decided to try all this on a TV set that is in a good location near a window, and one I can get to the back of the set easily to work on the cables.
I've Got The Converter Box And The Antenna Installed!
I Installed The Converter Box And The Antenna
Now, I’m ready to do this! First I will install the converter box. I always follow instructions line by line and that’s exactly what I did with this installation. The instructions read:
1. Connect your existing antenna cable to the ANTENNA IN jack of the TV set. Done.
2. Connect the supplied cable from the OUTPUT TO TV jack of the converter box to the ANTENNA jack of the TV set. Done.
3. Connect the AC adaptor of the converter box to an electrical outlet box. Done.
I turned on the TV set, and lo and behold, I could pull in ALL the channels I previously received through the cable company. I was elated! I did it! Oops, then I realized I had attached the cable company’s cable which is still active instead of the newly purchased interior antenna! OK, I’ll assemble and install the interior antenna. The converter box won’t work alone.
This little job took me about two hours to get all the pieces of the antenna put together. The converter box comes with a remote control. I’m instructed to use this remote to program my TV and scan to see which channels I can get. I was pleased to see the scanner was working trying to find channels. When it got all through scanning for channels, I got the message on my TV that NO channels were found!
Not So Fast! We Did It!
One of my daughters came over and I explained to her what I had done. I was pretty dejected. She looked over my connections, and at first she didn't see anything I had done wrong. Then she asked if I had connected the Coaxial Cables. I used all the cables that came with the equipment. Sure enough, we reread the instructions and they clearly say these cables MUST BE USED. She took the Coaxial Cables from my Roku ™ and plugged those into the converter box and the TV. These are the cables that go "red into red, yellow into yellow, and white into white" holes. I didn't think they were necessary , BUT THEY ARE!
Why do you suppose these cables are not included with the converter box?
After she did that, she ran a program scan, and I was amazed! I'm getting more channels than I did with Basic Cable! I couldn't believe my eyes. I counted the channels I'm getting: A total of 23 channels. I don't know what half of them are, but I will learn.
I am so happy with the results of my work, (and with the help of my daughter). Now we can get rid of cable, and I have one TV that I can use to get the educational channel I like plus many more if I want to watch those channels. If I wanted to invest about $180.00 per TV, I could add a converter box and an interior antenna to the other TVs. Maybe later, just not now.
My advice to anyone who is thinking of giving up their cable service, BE BRAVE: DO IT!
If you are into recording movies or programs to watch later on, or if you just have to watch sporting events, this is NOT for you. For someone like me who seldom watches TV, I think it will be good.
Great Reception With The Converter Box And The Interior Antenna
More Good News! An Update
I splurged and bought myself a brand new flat screen television set. With the new sets, the TV signals are already digital, SO I won't need the converter box!!!
It was such a simple task to just screwed on the end of the coaxial cable from the antenna into the new TV. There were very good instructions on the new TV how to program the set using the interior antenna settings. Afer I ran it through the channel scan, I began to get fantastic reception!
I jumped for joy! I'm getting all the local stations (which the pros told me I couldn't get), plus 28 more channels! I wish I had done this years ago.
I packaged up the converter box in it's original box (that I had carefully saved), found my original receipt, and headed for the store I bought it from. I got a full refund.
I have a total invested now of: $178.00 for the new TV set, and $79.00 for the Antenna, for a grand total of $257.00. This will pay for itself in a little less than 4 months.
I AM FREE OF THE CABLE COMPANY!
I purchased a Roku LT Box
I purchased a Roku LT box that I can use for streaming movies from Netflix and other sources. It also has a wonderful music channel so I can listen to my favorite music. This box picks up the signal from your internet.
Great Reception With No Converter Box!
Are You Fed Up With Cable TV?See results without voting
Did this article prompt you to install an indoor antenna and cancel Cable?See results without voting
How To Install An HDTV Antenna Video
More by this Author
The person I most admire is Martha Stewart. She is truly an American Icon. Martha has taught me everything I know.
My family's adventures in Costa Rica.
My dog was bitten by what appeared to be a Wolf Spider. Though spider bites are uncommon in dogs, this article will detail my first hand experience.