Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 2: Free Over-the-air HDTV, No More Cable

Tony: Why are we paying for HDTV through the cable company? We can get it over-the-air for free!
Megan: Only if you can promise me that it will work. I want to be able to plan my TV watching, limited as it is. And if we're going to have the TV at all, can it at least get PBS?

Soon after moving into the new house in August, I realized that the bunny ear antenna that I had been using with my 50-inch plasma TV was not pulling in stations like it did at the old place. Doing some web research, I ended up at AntennaWeb and found that the 40-acre woods right next to the house might be the problem. After, Megan had a very minor meltdown when she wasn't able to record Ken Burns new documentary, "The National Parks: America's Best Idea" I went ahead and got cable because I could not tune PBS without standing in the front lawn, antenna in hand. Now, looking at the $60 bill each month, I think it is time to cut the cord.

I bought a multidirectional antenna from Antennas Direct, made a mount for it out of PVC pipes, and hooked it up in parallel with the Terk HDTV antenna, piped the signal into the latter's amplifier.

Maybe if TV is less convenient, we won't watch as much, and will save some energy, too. It also means I can use a power strip to cut down on the "vampire power" I was losing by having a DVR running 24/7. Sadly, we won't get a PBS station and NBC will be questionable unless I buy a more expensive outdoor antenna and have it professionally mounted.

We'll tally this one as a win-win.

So far...
Pocket: 1, Planet: 0, Win-Win: 1

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