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Kicking cable to the curb

Posted by Alexx on February 27, 2015
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We just cancelled our TV cable. (We still have internet through the local cable provider, but have cancelled TV services).

Paying $60+ per month for a basic digital cable package that we rarely watch just didn’t make sense. With three kids, we don’t have the time to watch TV when it’s on, we love on-demand content, and Netflix rules in our house.

With the change, we’ll be saving around $700 per year (which we can divert to the mortgage or kid activities…).

However, we still want to have access to the news, and have some channels available for babysitters.

So, we’re going old school with an Antenna. All HD channels you get through cable are broadcast Over The Air, and can be captured with an inexpensive digital antenna, and the new ones that are available look nothing like the antennas from the days of old. We don’t need a mast in the backyard with some crazy antenna.

new antenna

Here it is, mostly assembled on the kitchen table

There are a ton of options out there, I ended up buying this one ( ), mostly because we had a gift card to Future Shop. It is generally well reviewed and it’ll capture from 150km away, and that’ll reach Rochester, NY.

This can either be mounted on the roof, or inside your attic. Since it’s the middle of February, I hooked it up to the TV and just rested it behind the TV. Not the best location for optimal reception, however, from the behind the TV in the family room, we can now get 8 channels in full HD, crystal clear (CBC, CTV, CHCH, Global, CBS, and a couple others from the US I don’t recognize)

In the spring, I’ll take it up to the attic and tie it in to the cable running through the house, and see how it performs in there. I’ll also try outside on the chimney, and see what results that gets us. (If it’s not a massive difference from the attic, it’ll stay in the attic)

I found a website that lists the channels available. For a list specific to Oakville, using my office address at Dorval and QEW, here is the list of transmitter towers that are within reach

Looking at this list, for transmitters under 90 miles (the 150km range of my antenna), it looks like we can reach 30 channels fairly easily, with another 10 or 12 sitting at the limit of the antenna reach. There are antennas out there that will reach farther, but they start getting quite HUGE!

I’ll post again on this topic once the weather improves and I get the antenna higher in the house.


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