Category: Ask the Expert

Q&A with the antenna experts now

May
17

Posted in Ask the Expert, Cut the Cord | Comments

Announcing the Antennas Direct Dads and Grads Giveaway

dads and grads

For many folks, especially our kiddos, this is a favorite time of year. The school year is over, summer vacations planned, a break from the homework, and for dads, a day to celebrate you for being a pretty awesome dude.

To celebrate both those special father’s and lucky graduates, we are hosting a Dads and Grads giveaway!

Our Dads and Grads giveaway will run May 17th-June 13th. Simply fill out the form HERE and you are entered to win! One entry per person, please.

Giveaway Prize:

  • 55″ LED Smart HDTV Roku TV- You want a great TV to watch all your FREE OTA and streaming shows.
  • ClearStream Eclipse antenna- Simply slap on a window or wall, plug into your TV, scan for channels and you’ll be watching glorious, crystal clear TV.

Whether you’re having a laid back, backyard BBQ to celebrate these special humans or a blown out party, you’ll be their favorite human if they unwrap these gifts. And what better way to thank your dad or husband for being a kicka** human then winning him the ultimate Father’s Day present? And same goes to you graduates. The winner of this prize pack would have the hottest pad for entertaining, hands down.

Here’s to you, dads and grads! We raise a beer to you, congratulations on raising children who don’t totally suck and managing to not sleep through all your classes. We know it was a challenge, and we applaud you!

May
11

Posted in Ask the Expert, Industry Update | Comments

ATSC 3.0- What do you need to know?

Richard White House

There’s been a lot of buzz recently around the new ATSC standard and what it will mean for you. Our talented nerd group at Antennas Direct are currently in Washington, D.C. to learn more about ATSC 3.0. To give you a quick background, a portion of the spectrum is used for wireless, so the new ATSC 3.0 standard is the biggest thing to happen since the digital transition. And that is HUGE! Moral of the story, over the air television is going to just keep getting better, and that is what we like to hear!

ATSC 3.0 better

Here are a few key points on ATSC 3.0:

  • Television broadcasters are leading the way with the new system that will merge the capabilities of OTA broadcasting with the internet.
  • Broadcasters are evolving to meet the needs of today’s viewers and advertisers. They have YOU in mind.
  • This next generation broadcast platform merges the best capabilities of over the air and broadband feeling. The result is a convergence of the most popular method of watching live events with the variety of programming available online.
  • Next generation transmission system that can deliver 4K Ultra HD images with high dynamic range plus interactive features and multichannel immersive audio.
  • ATSC 3.0 is the world’s first broadcast standard built on an internet protocol backbone. This offers the advantage of both broadcast and broadband, designed to integrate with internet delivered content, ATSC 3.0 will present viewers with more streams, more choices, more channels and more flexibility.
  • Adaptable for single frequency network transmission systems that can overcome the physical challenges to deliver TV deep inside buildings and on the go. The result is better indoor reception and wide coverage for mobile devices.

ATSC 3.0 is flexible, adaptable and focused on the future, today.

Overall, this is great news for viewers, making it easier for them to watch the live, over the air content they love, when they want it and where they want it.

Following is the full video released today to learn more about ATSC 3.0.

May
10

Posted in Ask the Expert, Cable be evil, Cut the Cord | Comments

What are Digital Subchannels? Why Cord Cutters are Falling in Love with the Content they Offer

Kill the Cable bill avatar

According to conventional wisdom, television channels are organized by simple numbers; 1, 2,10, etc… But what people may not realize is there is an entire subset of television channels, bundled together, and hidden from people with cable television.

These hidden networks are called Digital Subchannels, and they’re quite possibly the coolest thing about over-the-air television.

How Subchannels Work

Back in 2010, broadcast networks (ABC, NBC, etc…) were required to switch their signal from analog to digital and the by-product of this switch was the birth of digital subchannels. Essentially, when networks send out a broadcast signal, there’s still some extra space left over on the signal.

What broadcasters will often do is add additional transmissions onto that signal, and those additional transmissions are the subchannels. Think of it like a person living alone in a six bedroom that decides to take on some roommates.

If you’re still stuck with cable, I can understand your confusion. I mean, why did nobody tell you about these mysterious hidden channels, right?

The answer is that cable companies are lazy, greedy, and do their best to hide the subchannels from you. On cable, your subchannels often appear in the upper 500 channels; which is why you probably haven’t noticed them.

Subchannels

Accessing your Local Subchannels

However, if you have an OTA antenna it is much easier to find the subchannels. Each subchannel is demarcated with a decimal point. So if there was a subchannel on, let’s say channel 2, the subchannels would be 2.1, 2.2., and so on.

If you would like to know what the subchannels in your area are, check out this state-by-state list of all the digital subchannels in the US.

At this point, you may be wondering what kind of content you can find on a subchannel. And the answer is: quite a lot. Digital subchannels are often local channels that have less strenuous programming formats.

From Doppler radar, to high school graduation, to art history; digital subchannels are pockets of niche content just waiting to be discovered. Some channels even broadcast reruns of classic television shows.

Eclipse

Getting More with your OTA Antenna

The bottom line is that with the addition of digital subchannels, purchasing an OTA antenna pretty much becomes a no-brainer.

Think about it:

For a modest investment of less than $100 you not only get access to hours of free television from the top broadcast networks but also all the weird and wonderful television programming that your local area has to offer. And the longer you have an antenna, the better that small investment becomes.

Contrast that with cable television, which almost always falls in value the longer you have it. Think about, for the first year of cable you’ll often pay lower rates of $100 or less a month. But after that first year, your rates will almost always go up; despite receiving the same amount of service you had the year before.

A good service should always give you more for less, not the other way around. Cable has always been great in theory, but when stacked up against  cable TV alternatives like OTA, it almost always falls short. So the only question that remains is why are you still paying more for less? Take that leap, cut the cord, and let’s kill the cable bill today!

Kill the cable Bill

Guest Post: Dave Kennedy is a long time cord cutter who became increasingly frustrated with the high cost of Cable TV and decided to make a stance. In 2011 he launched KilltheCableBill.com, a site dedicated to helping people save money through providing simple, cost-effective cable TV alternatives. Since then, David has helped 1,000s of people cancel their cable subscription while keeping the shows they love.

 

 

May
5

Posted in Ask the Expert, Cable be evil, Cut the Cord | Comments

Mark Barros Shares His Cord Cutting Tips and How to Kick Your Cable Company to the Curb

HD Geek Review

We get it, taking the plunge and cutting the cord isn’t always an easy decision. First comes convincing your family. Then deciding what equipment you will need, what HD antenna, what streaming services, etc. And then… you dive into the deep end. You call your satellite or cable provider and give them the bad news. It’s time to end your relationship, and no, it’s not you, it’s all them. Tears might be shed, but everyone will move on, you on the better end of the deal with a boat load of money.

MArk BarrosNow comes the time to install your antenna. We have shared countless tips on how to choose the right antenna, how to find your towers, aim the antenna, and scan for channels, but it’s always nice to see a video from a real-life cord cutter who gives their tips and tricks. And that’s where Mark Barros comes into the picture. Mark cut the cord using an Antennas Direct DB4 years ago, and has never looked back. He’s our kind of guy. A cord cutting superhero.

If you’re looking for tips on how to install your outdoor antenna, look no further than this video from Mark. He talks us through how he installed his DB4 including some tricks that will make the install process even easier for you.

Now, to some key points and tips Mark shared in his video:

  • With an antenna, you will receive broadcast signals for FREE in high definition
  • Install Tip: When mounting the antenna, the higher the better to reach signals further away
  • In his location, Mark receives 35 channels, more than enough for his viewing pleasure
  • For help choosing an antenna and installation tips, call the friendly folks over at Antennas Direct

When it comes to the overall summary of Mark’s thoughts on cutting the cord and his experience as a cord cutter, he said “best of all, this solution eliminates any monthly bill I have to pay and the quality of the signal I receive is fantastic.” That sounds like a pretty happy Antennas Direct customer. We like happy customers.

We will leave you with these brilliant words from Mark himself.

“Rid yourself of the tyranny of the cable industry once and for all.”

Apr
20

Posted in Ask the Expert, Cable be evil, Cut the Cord | Comments

Sling TV Introduces Multi-Stream Service Including Hit Shows and Local Sports

Sling TV

As cord cutters, we still want to enjoy our sports. And since our hometown is St. Louis, we want to enjoy the Cardinal’s game. When games are broadcast OTA, we are happy campers, and thanks to Sling TV, we are soon to be completely set!

Just last week, Sling TV announced the launch of a new beta multi-stream service that offers even more live and on-demand television including new channels from the Fox Networks Group like FOX Sports, FX, and National Geographic.  All are available on up to three devices simultaneously for $20 per month. Between ESPN, a ClearStream antenna, and Fox Sports Midwest, we are all set in St. Louis to catch the games we want to watch. Happy, happy dance!

As if that was not enough, Sling’s “Extra” packages include content from AMC, A&E, HBO, Turner, Scripps, Epix, and Univision. With the multi-stream service, your spouse could be sitting at home watching Law and Order, and you could be sitting at work enjoying the baseball game on your laptop (don’t worry, we won’t tell your boss).

Here is what you can catch with Sling TV’s Multi-Stream Service:

  • FOX Sports– included in the multi-stream package, you’ll have access to FOX broadcast, regional and national sports, whether it be baseball, football, soccer, basketball or hockey, you’ll be connected to it all.
  • FOX Regional Sports Networks– including FOX Sports Ohio, FOX Sports West, Fox Sports Florida, FOX Sports South, FOX Sports Midwest, FOX Sports Arizona, FOX Sports Cincinnati, FOX Sports Detroit, FOX Sports North, FOX Sports Prime Ticket, Fox Sports San Diego, FOX Sports Southeast, FOX Sports Southwest, FOX Sports Sun, SportsTime Ohio, and YES Network.
  • FOX Networks– FX and National Geographic are included; you can binge watch all your favorite shows.
  • Best of Live TV Favorites– like the single-stream service, the multi-stream includes nationwide availability of A&E, Adult Swim, AMC, Bloomberg, Cartoon Network, CNN, El Rey, Flama, Food Network, Galavision, HGTV, History, IFC, Lifetime, Local NOW, Maker, Newsy, Polaris+, TBS, TNT, Travel Channel, truTV, UniMas, Univision and VICELAND.
  • Extras– you can add “Extras” for even more content, including “Hollywood Extra”, “Lifestyle Extra” and “World News Extra” for $5 more per month. You can also include HBO for an additional $15 a month and Cinemax for $10 more a month. So many options!
  • Three Streams– watch Sling TV on up to three devices at the same time, in or outside of your home. It’s perfect for the whole family!

How do you get it? If you are a current subscriber to Sling TV, simply login to your account and edit your subscription type. New to Sling? No problem. Simply go HERE and sign up! It’s great to see Sling evolving and opening up more options for cord cutters. Between an antenna and streaming services like Sling, Netflix, and Hulu, you have all the content you could ever desire, and for a fraction of the cost of pay-TV. We’re big fans!

Apr
11

Posted in Ask the Expert, Cut the Cord | Comments

Can I Watch Major League Baseball with an Antenna?

glove

Its springtime, which means not only are flowers blooming, but bats are cracking, and the 2016 MLB season is underway. And for many of us, that means trying to figure out how to get as much baseball coverage as possible without signing an expensive cable contract we can’t get rid of.

Luckily, it’s 2016 and cord cutting options keep getting better and better. There are plenty of streaming services that offer MLB coverage, but the real question here is…what can we get for free with our antenna? After all, free TV is the best TV! That being said, let’s take a closer look.

What Networks Have Deals with the MLB?

As of 2016, MLB rights are shared among ESPN, TBS, and FOX network families. The bad news is that two of those are cable networks. But the good news is that assuming you have the right antenna for your location, you can get FOX for free in uncompressed HD. I’d recommend you run a report and see what channels are specifically available in your area.

What MLB Coverage is Available on FOX?

FOX coverage is split between the FOX broadcast network and FOX Sports 1, their premium cable sports network. Here’s a look at what you can get with your antenna on FOX:

  • FOX will air 12 games on Saturday afternoons throughout the season
  • The 2016 All Star Game will be on over-the-air
  • FOX gets an alternating Division Championship game each year
  • The World Series will be on live over-the-air

When Does FOX Saturday Afternoon Coverage Begin?

On May 21, FOX will begin airing 7:15 PM games. This will continue up to the All Star game on July 12. After that, coverage will pause until September 10th, where it will pick back up for two weeks. Currently, that’s as far as the schedule goes out on MLB.com.

Are There Other Ways to Watch the MLB without Cable?

As I mentioned before, there are different streaming services that offer different levels of MLB coverage. You could go with MLB.TV for example, although in-market blackouts will keep you from seeing your home team.

Other streaming services worth looking into for national broadcasts are Sling TV and PlayStation Vue (the only way to get Fox Sports 1 without cable). Both of these services offer ESPN and ESPN2 (very useful with the NFL Draft coming up as well), as well as TBS. So you’ll get most of the non-FOX national coverage through them.

What’s All This Blackout Talk?

The MLB blackout policy has been under quite a bit of fire as of late. But it still stands for cord cutters. So what exactly does it consist of? Well, if you look at the MLB’s FAQ, it’s nearly impossible to understand. But Nathaniel Grow over at The Hardball Times did a pretty good job explaining it when he said it “prevents subscribers of either the MLB.tv or MLB Extra Innings services from viewing, in real time, the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game of the week, the subscriber’s regional Fox Saturday broadcast, or – most importantly – any game involving the subscriber’s designated ‘home’ team.”

However, since that article, the MLB faced a lawsuit that caused them to change things up a bit, as noted in this USA Today article. In a nutshell, the changes no longer prohibit in-market streaming for MLB.TV… if you subscribe to your local regional sports network.

In other words, you still need cable to use the “cable-less” service. Big help.

Questions About Watching MLB without Cable?

The options aren’t perfect, but they’re getting better year over year. Have questions? Leave a comment below for answers!

cutcable

Chris Brantner is the founder of CutCableToday.com, a resource for people who want to cut the cord and still get the TV they crave. Follow him on Twitter @CutCableToday and find him on Facebook here

Apr
6

Posted in Ask the Expert, Cable be evil, Cut the Cord | Comments

TBS Proves that Cord Cutting Continues to Rise

March Madness

If you’re a sports fan, when you think of March, you think of basketball and March Madness. Year after year, our inboxes are flooded with invites to brackets, friends asking us over to drink, and watch the game and fights erupting between die hard college basketball fans. However, it appears that this year, the NCAA championship viewership was down a whopping 37%. Why you may ask? Let us explain.

For the first time, the NCAA championship was broadcast on TBS instead of on broadcast television. But TBS is not some obscure, unknown cable channel with little carriage. In fact, it has even slightly higher penetration than ESPN. According to an article from Sports Business Daily, “TBS tops all cable nets with 100.5 million homes, or around 87.4% of homes.”

And it’s not like the teams that were competing in the NCAA Championship weren’t fan favorites or enjoyable to watch. Villanova’s last-second win over North Carolina was a nail biter, possibly one of the most exciting finished in March Madness history according to the Wall Street Journal.  So what does this mean? How did the NCAA manage to lose so many viewers?

Basically, this is proof that cable cutting is even more widespread than has been previously reported! We’ve been screaming this from the rooftops for quite some time, but here it is, in cold, hard facts. It looks like the NCAA made a poor decision moving the championship away from broadcast TV. There were many debates leading up to the finale whether a cable network would be able to pull as many viewers as broadcast TV, and apparently, TBS failed in that department. There are countless articles talking about the growth in cutting the cord, so why decide now, after years of broadcasting the championship on broadcast TV, to move it to cable? Sounds like a major EFF YOU to cord cutters.

We’ll be anxious to see what they decide to do next year. Cord cutters, lets stand together and let them know that we want to watch our basketball on broadcast TV, the way it should be!

Apr
1

Posted in Ask the Expert, Cut the Cord | Comments

Ding dong the Witch is dead, but since you have an antenna, you’re not!

wizard of oz

Spring is a truly wonderful season. Daylight savings is finally here, the temperatures begin to rise, and beautiful flowers are blooming all around us. But along with all that beauty and positivity come spring storms (and allergies). Depending on your location, these storms can be pretty vicious.

Picture this: a massive storm is headed your way. Your family is sitting around the TV tracking the weather, and all of a sudden the cable cuts out. Gone! With no warning at all, your contact to the outside world and to your safety is gone. Don’t let this happen to you.

By now you may be asking yourself, what’s the solution? Well, it’s simple. Drop cable or satellite and get a TV antenna. An antenna can weather the storm and keep you informed. Local programming offers information on incremental weather, current events, and other emergency notifications. Even more, television is where you turn to for local news and regional programming that connects everyone to their communities, regions, and the world. It is a pillar of our democracy that keeps us informed and challenges the way we think about the world (yes, we just got really deep and serious. It does happen on occasion).

Mark Twain once said, “In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.” Don’t take a chance when it comes to your family and safety, or you might be saying, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore…”

Let’s get down to it. You need a TV antenna. We have TV antennas.  Nothing would bring us more joy than to help keep your pockets full of cash from canceling your pay TV provider. Visit antennasdirect.com or give our customer service team a call toll-free in the U.S. at 1-877-825-5572. We’re available 7 days a week just for you!

Mar
20

Posted in Antenna Update, Ask the Expert, Cut the Cord | Comments

Power and Poise: Tom’s Guide Review of the ClearStream Eclipse Indoor Antenna

clearstream-eclipse-amplified-antenna-technology-4

If you’re looking for a techie review of a new gadget or app, Tom’s Guide is the best place to visit. They call themselves “the geeky friend who’s always on call…we’re here to provide you with buying advice, in-depth reviews and expert recommendations in a wide variety of tech product categories.” No need to search the internet, they’re a one stop shop for reviews and advice. We’re excited that they tested out our ClearStream Eclipse and shared a review with their readers! Here’s a quick look at some of their thoughts:

  • Easy to install
  • Very good reception
  • Unobtrusive design
  • Made for urban cord cutters who need a powerful antenna that offers more placement options for best reception

According to John Quain, reviewer at Tom’s Guide, the design of the Eclipse is attractive to the eye, and extremely convenient for repositioning with the Sure Grip backing. You don’t have to peel off stickers or adhesive when repositioning the antenna and fear damaging the paint or plaster. Who wants to use tape or stickers to hang their antenna anyways? We’ve seen pictures of antennas literally DUCT TAPED to the windows or walls. Trust us, your spouse will thank you for using the Eclipse. Put that tape away.

clearstream-eclipse-amplified-antenna-technology-2

“Those who want to hide their antennas and who don’t want to mess with stickers or screws will find the Eclipse worth it.” That’s right, the ease and convenience of the Eclipse makes it the perfect indoor antenna for those people who don’t want to climb on their roof or attic, but still want to cut the cord and watch the broadcast television they know and love.

To see the full review, check it on Tom’s Guide website HERE.

 

Mar
17

Posted in Antenna Update, Ask the Expert, Cut the Cord | Comments

Mr. Muscleman Sings His Praise for Antennas Direct, and You Don’t Want to Mess with Him…

Muscle Man 2

Bruce Pechman, the Muscleman of Technology, shares his tips with KUSI San Diego on how to save money by cutting the cord. If you don’t know Mr. Muscle Man, check out his website, he’s not only hilarious and an excellent resource when it comes to not only technology, but he’s also a fitness guru. I mean, take a look at him. He’s ripped.

KUSI News – San Diego, CA

According to Bruce, the first step to get rid of cable is by installing a TV antenna. His top pick? Antennas Direct, of course. Bruce suggests the ClearStream 2V antenna if you’re looking for an indoor/outdoor model or the ClearStream Eclipse if you’re looking for the ease and convenience of a powerful indoor antenna.

“Get all the local channels with a darn good indoor/outdoor HDTV antenna,” says Bruce. “Antennas Direct, I say direct because you can call them and they will ask where you live, they will triangulate your location, tell you how far you are from the tower and tell you how many channels you can get.”

That’s right, if you’re looking to cut the cord, but not sure where to start or what antenna would work best for your location, give us a call! Our customer support team is ready to answer your most burning cord cutting questions.

One of Bruce’s favorite parts of using an antenna is the fact that you can get all the local channels without a monthly fee. With the onetime cost of an Antennas Direct antenna and you are set. Bye bye cable bill. Hello pocket full of cash.

Bruce also discusses other alternatives to cable, including Sling TV, Roku, Samsung Galaxy View, and much more. Be sure to watch the full segment for Mr. Muscleman’s list of top cord cutting products.

Thanks to Bruce for featuring our ClearStream 2V and our ClearStream Eclipse.  Bruce, you are one heck of a guy. We’re big fans. Whether we’re looking to get buff or learn about the latest in technology, we know we can turn to you.

 

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