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No more monthly bills for Cable or Satellite TV! 

Cable TV had been bothering me for a number of years.  I just didn't think that we were watching enough TV, especially any channels beyond what are being broadcast for free.  Having been a customer of Cox Cable and Qwest over the last 14 years the constant raising of rates was a burr under the saddle as well.  With the advent of the Digital broadcast rollover that was looming in 2009 I also discovered that true HDTV is only received over the airwaves and what is sold by the cable companies is not true high definition TV.  So I set out on a mission to rid ourselves of the Cable TV yoke and go back to free TV like in my childhood. (Am I dating myself?)  You can do it too!  Below are the steps to TV independence.

The first step is to determine if you have a TV addiction. 

The TV addict will:

  1. Watch in excess of six hours a day
  2. Have the basic cable package plus extras such as HBO, Cinemax, Sports packages
  3. Don't understand why anyone could only have about 20-40 channels available and only get one or two NFL games at a time on Sundays in the fall

If you meet any or all of the above criteria you need to move to another project. 

If TV doesn't rule your life and you are tired of paying for TV and being at the mercy of annual increases read on.

The Steps to TV independence are easy to follow.

  1. Go to AntennPoint Digital Antenna Geo Locator and enter in your specific location just above the map.  This will provide the list of stations that you can expect to receive over the air signals from and antenna recommendations for your location.
  2. You can also go to and compare the results with the results in Step 1.
  3. Once you determine the antenna and/or amplifier combo you'll need then you can search for who has the best deals online.  I found Amazon has very good selections, pricing and easy return policies if you need to try a different antenna.  I had to return one antenna until I found my current one in order to get it to work.  (I use the ChannelMaster 4228 and the ChannelMaster 7778 Pre-amp mounted with a J Mast as you can see in the photo above.  We're located in a fringe area and most people won't need this much antenna to receive High Definition TV for free over the air.)

Now that you've installed your Antenna, it's time to get to the FREE TV!!!

Antenna UPDATE:

We are nearing our 5 year anniversary of getting rid of cable TV.  To date the Antenna has performed perfectly over the last four years even though we are on the "fringe area."  Channels are being added almost monthly now and we're well over 40 channels that come in over-the-air.  It is truly High Definition TV as well.  They recently added a channel that is all movies and is really cool.  You do need to re-scan every month or so to find the new stations.  Our cable bill was approximately $45 and was going up to $62 when we dropped cable.  It took three months to recoup the antenna installation expense.  So far, we've pocketed 48 months of profits at $62 a month.  We just recently got hit with massive storms here in Arizona and lost Internet service for about 30 hours.  The TV worked flawlessly even through the huge storms, but those who had Cable got knocked out with the Internet....  Five years now, and we do not miss paying for Cable or Dish TV at all.  Now that we've built our DVR on our streaming PC for almost no $$$ we have an awesome entertainment system.


Low Cost DVR - Get rid of Cable Fees

I hear you Cable Tired.

Wrote up the inexpensive Low Cost DVR buildout this morning.

It's working great.

Daddy's Nuts....

DVR response


Thank you, that's helpful information.  The computer tie-in solution would be an interesting alternative.  I'm very interested to hear how your experiment goes.

Thanks for the site to combat this madness.  The isidious ways the big media companies continue to dip deeper into the wallet at every opportunity need a viable alternative. 

Best regards,

Cable Tired

 Cable Tired

Linking in a digital video recorder

 Hi, The setup you describe is exactly what I seek.  I would like to know if you can also add in a DVR to record over the air programs and if you have any recommendations there.  That would make it ideal for my situation.  Appreciate your information sharing and thoughts.

Best regards,

Exhausted of Uverse

 Cable Tired

DVR on Antenna System - No Fees

Heya Cable Tired,

DVR's will work fine with HD antenna systems.  I have a friend that has a Phillips DVR that has been on his antenna only system for over 3 years and they love it.  One thing you have to make sure is that the DVR has an onboard tuner or more preferably a dual tuner so you can record a second channel while watching another one.

Here are some units that work with antenna systems and don't require a subscription:

MAGNAVOX MDR513H/F7 HDD and DVD Recorder with Digital Tuner, Black
Magnavox MDR537H 1 TB DVD Recorder/HDD with Digital Tuner (Black)
Magnavox MDR515H 500GB HDD and DVD-R with Digital Tuner

Even most TiVo's will work with HD antenna's according to the forum chatter and their website:

"Only a TiVo Premiere DVR enables you to record all your shows using an HD antenna and stream web entertainment. (HD antennas are compatible with all Series3 and Series4 boxes except TiVo Premiere 4 and Premiere XL4)."

TiVo TCD746320 Premiere DVR, Black

Most folks recommend buying the lifetime subscription, ($399 to $499) that go the TiVo route so you're not locked into recurring subscription fees.  While the reviews are mostly good on non-subscription DVR's on antenna's, the TiVo reviews indicate that there is no noticeable difference between the Cable/Dircet TV DVR systems and the TiVo on an antenna system.

Of course, you can make your own DVR if you have a PC attached to your system.  No subscription fees or cost to purchase a DVR.  We are working on that project now and will be publishing a how-to article soon.