Category: Cable be evil

Cable horror stories and cord cutting motivation

May
23

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

5 Ways to Get Better Antenna Reception

Television has come a long way since the days of rabbit ear antennas on top of TV boxes weighing over one hundred pounds. Now, you can get a TV so flat you are afraid a stiff breeze might break it, and a little box can get you hundreds of channels. That little box obviously comes with a cost, and that cost seems to be going up at a never-ending rate (yep, I’m talking about cable). In turn, people have come back to antennas as a viable option and a key asset for anyone looking to cut cable.

EclipsewAmp_

The antennas of today are much more advanced. Antennas Directs ClearStream series of HDTV antennas are perfect for cord-cutters looking for advanced solutions. Antennas today are often designed with sleek, inconspicuous profiles, and the reception ranges have grown vastly from the earlier versions. Check out the ClearStream Eclipse. It’s the ultra-thin antenna that grips to any smooth surface. The range of content you receive can include award-winning TV shows, live sporting events, educational programming, and even broadcasts in foreign languages. For example, in my guide for the Indy 500 I mentioned the antenna as one of the easiest and cheapest options to watch the race without cable.

The worst thing that could happen to you is you do all your research, purchase your antenna, set it up, and find out the reception you are receiving is poor. It isn’t always as easy as turning on your TV and checking for the reception… sometimes it just cuts out. We just highlighted how to watch the French Open with an antenna and imagine watching the final match and having your reception get blurry then cut out right near the last points.  That would be devastating, so you should take all the steps ahead of time to improve your antenna’s reception and make sure you’re all set. Below are some of our top tips to improve the reception for your antenna.

1) Direct your Antenna Correctly

Unfortunately, for many of the antennas on the market it is not as simple as throwing it near a window and getting perfect reception. Many antennas need to be directed towards a certain point where the broadcast signal originates. This could be a relatively easy and quick fix to improve your reception.

All you need to do is use sites like AntennaWeb, TVFool, or the Digital TV Map from the FCC. You simply put in your details and it will tell you which channels you will likely receive and provide you with a map displaying where the broadcast signal is coming from in relation to your location. Based on this map, you should adjust your antenna to point the correct direction. If you are aimed in the correct direction you could even increase your chances on picking up subchannels.

2) Move your Antenna’s Placement

If the direction is not the solution it may be the actual placement of your antenna. The marketability of many current antennas is the sleek design allowing you to place it around your house without it being an eyesore. Maybe you thought it would be best to hide it behind the TV, but it would probably perform better if it was in a less blocked off area. The idea is to get it as close to the broadcast signal as possible, so if the broadcast tower is to your East the best place to likely put it would be near an external wall on the East side of your house. Or, if this still results in poor reception you can always try moving it to a higher location.

3) Reduce Interference

Moving the antenna will reduce the amount of physical interference involved, but it will not account for any sort of electronic interference. The interference can be caused by Wi-Fi routers or any other device communicating wireless. If you have devices that may be interfering, you can test if these are the problem by turning them off and checking your antenna’s reception. The best solution is to move any potentially interfering devices away from your TV and antenna as far as possible.

4) Consider Replacing your Cable

Like many products, antennas arrive in the packaging with the additional equipment needed for it to function. The cable most antennas give you is a generic one, often an RG59. This is what connects what your antenna receives to what you watch on your TV, so it is critical to have a high-quality cable. I recommend replacing the RG59 with a thicker cable, such as the RG6. It has more capability to deliver a better signal between the two devices. Learn more about the difference between the two types of cables here.

5) Amplifier

An amplifier would be the last recommendation to get better reception on your antenna. A majority of antennas have amplifiers built in to improve the signal, but if yours does not you can add a compatible one with the hopes of spreading out your reception range. Amplifiers can be hit or miss, because they not only amplify the broadcast signal from network stations but amplify other signals as well. This could add to your interference and ultimately result in just as poor of reception as you had in the first place. It is why we recommend an amplifier as a last chance option if you have tried everything else with little or no improvement.

There you have it—5 ways to get better reception for your antenna. Here’s to better free tv!

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

May
18

Posted in Cable be evil, Cut the Cord | Comments

Cut the Cord, Only Pay for the Porn You Order

AD_BillShockPORN

We’ve heard some horror stories about cable companies charging customers outrageous fees, horrible customer service, and refusing to fix mistaken bills. But this story takes the cake. A Tampa Bay family decided to cut the Comcast cord after months of being charged for porn they did not order. And before you say “sure, they CLAIM they didn’t order it”, but the proof is in the pudding.

So here’s the background. The Overstreet family were Comcast customers for eight years, but over the past few months, they started receiving bill after bill for late night porn purchases. More than 20 “tasteful” films were charged to their account. After countless phone calls to Comcast’s “wonderful” customer service, attempting to rectify their billing, the Overstreets reached a dead end. Comcast was refusing to fix the bill, standing by the charges and not willing to budge. You know, the high quality customer service we all expect from them.

The Overstreets decided that was it. The end. Why should they continue to take this abuse from the cable company? They cancelled their service, packed up their cable box and sent it back to Comcast. That’s where this story just keeps getting better. They cancelled their service on April 7th and shipped off their cable box the same day, but the charges did not stop there. The Overstreets where charged for additional adult films on April 10, 11 and 12. Now how is that possible?

FINALLY Comcast admitted there was a problem with the billing, reimbursed the family the $240 they were overcharged, and paid the Overstreets’ last cable bill. It only took dozens of phone calls with very unhelpful customer service folks and cancelling their service to get to that point.

Moral of the story: you should only have to pay for the porn you order. Kick Comcast to the curb and never pay for unwatched adult films again. And once again, congratulations to Comcast on your horrible customer service and keeping us entertained with yet again another fantastic story.

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.”

May
2

Posted in Cable be evil, Cut the Cord | Comments

It’s Official, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Has Horrible Judgment, Recommends the Charter-TWC Merger

Photo Courtesy of Gizmodo

Photo Courtesy of Gizmodo

Now, it’s not too surprising that the FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recommended that the commission approve Charter Communications’ plan to buy Time Warner Cable, but we were hoping that maybe he would come to his senses and realize just how STUPID that would be.

We were wrong. Anyone who thinks this is a good idea is obviously lacking sense.

Wheeler claims that the proposal “outlines a number of conditions in place for seven years that will directly benefit consumers by bringing and protecting competition to the video marketplace and increasing broadband deployment.”

Breaking that down into English, for just seven years, this evil megacorporation will not be allowed to have data caps or usage-based pricing, as well as cannot charge special fees to those heavy traffic providers. But, that is only for seven years. Then what? Then they can charge whatever they want and punish those high usage folks? That’s when people will be in a world of hurt.

It gets even worse. Time Warner Cable/Charter has promised to acquire two million more customers, and they will do this in some areas where other service providers already exist. This means that people will have a grand total of…drumroll please…two choices. Yay!

Let’s hope that the Commission has better sense and judgment. If they don’t, there will be some horrible consequences. We will be on standby.

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
12

Posted in Cable be evil, Cut the Cord | Comments

Man Killed Over Cable Television

Chamia Johnson

Photo courtesy of Inside Edition, and Johnson’s glorious mugshot.

 

Well, a more accurate title would be “Woman Murders Ex-Boyfriend for Not Paying Cable Bill”. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. You read that correctly. In today’s “sounds too crazy to be true” news story, a woman murders her ex-boyfriend for not paying the cable bill. Let us explain.

Chamia Johnson, 34, pleads not guilty last Thursday to second-degree murder in the killing of her former boyfriend, 39-year-old Antoine Mallory according to Inside Edition. Mallory was found stabbed in the chest in his Niagra Falls home on February 22. Now if that wasn’t crazy enough, the reason Johnson stabbed and killed her ex was because he did not pay the cable bill.

It appears Johnson arrived home only to realize that her cable was disconnected because the bill was not paid. Mallory, who is the father of two of Johnson’s four children, was supposedly expected to pay her cable bill, and did not. This of course infuriated Johnson, so she arrived at his home, demanding that he pay the bill. It doesn’t sound like that conversation went very well, considering Mallory ended up dead. Come on guys, it’s all about communication!

What is the moral of this story? If it weren’t for cable, Mallory would most likely still be alive. Without cable, they might have been happily co-parenting and friendly towards each other as there wouldn’t have been a bill to fight over. They would have also saved a ton of cash. Now Mallory is gone, Johnson is on her way to prison, and the children are left without parents. You see the evil that cable brings upon us all? Cut the cord, save a life.

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!

Mar
28

Posted in Cable be evil, Cut the Cord | Comments

Baseball Season is Here, Now Enter to Win Some Great Prizes!

opening dayWe love springtime for many reasons. Obviously, we enjoy the warmer weather and not needing to bundle up like an Eskimo just to run inside the store for a carton of milk. But the warmer weather also brings us the delicious grilling season, beautiful flowers and the wonderful sounds of the ballpark. For us, the spring season is baseball season!

If you’ve followed us for a number of years, you might already know this, but we are big baseball fans here at Antennas Direct. How could we not be when we have the best baseball team in our backyard?

To celebrate America’s favorite past time, we are having an Opening Day Giveaway!

The giveaway will run now-April 4th to celebrate MLB’s opening day.  Simply fill out the form HERE and you are entered to win! One entry per person, please. We don’t appreciate

Giveaway Prize:

  • Custom jersey of YOUR favorite team! (even though we’re Cardinal’s fans, we won’t hold your favorite team against you)
  • ClearStream Eclipse Antenna (recently named the BEST indoor TV antenna by The Wirecutter)
  • Family pack of Cracker Jacks (you can’t say baseball without thinking Cracker Jacks, right?)

Feel free to invite us over to your house to catch a game, we’re always down for some Cracker Jacks. We might even bring the beer.

Good luck, and we wish your team the best of luck this season! We’re sure we’ll see you in the World Series 😉

Mar
15

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

Antenna CEO Amazed by Company Market Penetration with Virtually No Paid Advertising

Richard White House

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Antenna CEO amazed by company market penetration with virtually no paid advertising

March 15, 2016; ST. LOUIS – In a recent survey released by Nielsen, households who solely use an over-the-air antenna to watch broadcast television rose in the third quarter to 12.8 million from 12.2 million the year before. That’s 600,000 additional households who have cut the cable cord and are solely using a TV antenna. Now, what this study does not include are households who also use streaming sites such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime, just to name a few. These 12.8 million households are only a FRACTION of the American households who have ended their abusive relationship with the pay-TV companies.

The cable company and their public relations team lackeys (Nielsen) call all antenna companies liars, but according to Nielsen’s data, Antennas Direct is not only dominating the market, but are selling MORE antennas in the year than is being shown in their data. Antennas Direct alone has sold significantly more antennas than the number of households reported using antennas in 2015.

“We don’t like our competitors since we obviously make the best damn antennas, but we really feel bad for our competitors who according to this data, must not have sold any antennas,” said Richard Schneider, Antennas Direct president.  “I almost feel guilty being this successful when obviously my competitors are struggling so badly.”

The National Association of Broadcasters claims that the average cable bill has increased to $120 a month. If an additional 600,000 households have cut the cord and are using over-the-air antennas to watch broadcast television, then do the math. That’s a collective $864 million dollars being put back in the pockets of Americans, not into the hands of the greedy pay-TV CEOs.  Cord cutting is putting money back into the economy, and helping to save Americans thousands of dollars.

“With the constant growth of cord cutting, we’re looking forward to seeing our sales continue to rise and take over the market,” said Schneider. “Americans are proving their intelligence. First by choosing to cut the cord, and secondly, by choosing us. Cord cutters are the smartest people around.”

About Antennas Direct
Antennas Direct is the #1 LEADER in antenna technology, reinventing the antenna for the digital era and dominating the market. With a heritage in over-the-air antennas specifically tuned for core DTV frequencies, Antennas Direct has invested major resources into the discovery and implementation of new antenna designs for digital reception. Founded in 2003, the firm is a member of the Inc. 500|5000 Hall of Fame and Future of TV Coalition. Visit antennasdirect.com for more information.

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