On Friday, it became official. Comcast rolled out the old “it’s not you it’s me” with Time Warner. The cable giant announced that it was no longer going to go through with the merger deal and left Time Warner standing at the monopoly alter.
It’s sad to see something like this happen to such a perfect pair. They both were among the top of the Worst Companies in America list. Both had the same philosophy of customer service including little pet names. And both companies received a pre-wedding cake present from none other than Antennas Direct (check out the delivery here and here).
But, in the end, it didn’t work out. We hope they will remain friends and still agree to at least swap customers.
Honestly, we know that this is better for the American consumer. The joining of these two companies would have created a Cable Voltron, customer service would get even worse and broadcasters’ abilities to negotiate for fair retransmission of their content would have been compromised. So this break up is a good thing.
Still, there was this small part of us that would have loved to see just how astoundingly dismal they could make the customer experience. The worse they become, the more people feel compelled to cut the cord and receive free, over-the-air television with a digital TV antenna.
We wish them both the best. And, just for the record, we are not choosing sides. This too shall pass. Luckily, we wont have any trouble returning your antenna wedding present.
Last week, 100,000 broadcast radio and television industry shapers from 150 countries gathered in Las Vegas for the 2015 NAB Show, the world’s largest electronic media show. Perennially, the event has been the host of the latest technology surrounding broadcast media and journalism attracting brands such as CBS, Apple, HP, Samsung and, of course, Antennas Direct.
More than just passively attending, we love being a part of the show and learning about the future of television from some of the best minds in broadcast. Here are some of our biggest takeaways.
There’s (still) no better journalism than broadcast news.
“Broadcasters are more relevant, vital and trusted than ever,” said Gordon Smith, president of the NAB who also challenged show-goers to imagine a world without free over-the-air television. “In times of emergency, while other media may crash and fail, local television is there to connect the community.”
Broadcasters also continue to innovate how they deliver content to the community. Bart Feder, senior vice president of Tribune Media, pointed out that his stations are facing greater realities about how media is consumed, and they are taking steps to meet the demand.
“The reality is that people turn on Facebook before they turn on their TV,” said Feder. “We are the second screen in the two-screen household. The onus is on us to call the audience back. We need authenticity and a way to give the news greater context and meaning.”
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is a fan of free, broadcast TV.
While it may come as a shock to some in the industry, Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is a big fan of over-the-air television. In his opening remarks on the second day of the NAB Show, Wheeler recounted the story of installing an indoor, flat panel digital antenna in his daughter’s home. He said she was floored when she realized she could get her favorite shows in high definition for free.
“Broadcast is an important part of our lives. And over-the-air provides our uniquely diverse communities with a shared experience,” he said. “With the high cost of cable bundles, consumers are perusing alternatives. One alternative they are perusing is broadcast TV. The number of households relying on over-the-air exclusively went up last year. We also see a growing number of people cutting the cord and pairing an over-the-air antenna with OTT services.”
The broadcast incentive auction is happening in 2016 (after five years of talking).
For several years, the FCC has been working on a plan to auction a portion of the broadcast spectrum to wireless providers. And, though it has been a long time in the making, there appears to be an end in sight. By Spring of 2016, television broadcasters will have the option to offer their spectrum for the auction. This means they may have to do a “repacking” of their broadcast. Wheeler says this is a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for broadcasters and the auction will yield the greatest value for their spectrum.
What does this mean to fans of broadcast television from a viewer perspective? That remains to be seen. There are still some unanswered questions for the FCC and pending lawsuits. However, there is a potential for more broadcasters engaging in “channel sharing” and switching to a VHF frequency.
What is known is this auction is yet another business decision broadcasters need to make within the next several months to better meet the shifting demands of media consumption.
We have seen the future. And it was from a drone camera.
On perhaps a lighter note, the future of broadcast television will involve drones. The NAB Show featured an entire display and several vendors allowed engineers to try out the drone capabilities. As the technology stands, the drone will not replace the traffic helicopter, but it can add a degree of storytelling enhancement to broadcast news.
The FAA has yet to create a final list of rules regarding the safe use of drones and the companies who are licensed to pilot them are very few. However, with the fast scalability of the technology, most industry experts predict the drone coverage and usage will be an integrated part of storytelling by the next NAB Show.
Future for broadcasters includes deep investments in IT.
A broadcaster’s programming used to be simpler. You would create video for television consumption and this would be your single outlet. However, broadcasters now distribute content to websites, social media, Roku players, and mobile apps. And currently most internal workflows do not allow this to be managed in an efficient way.
However, Disney Corporation, which encompasses ABC, ESPN and seemingly most of the known world, has switched to an IP (Internet Protocol) format for their content. Currently, they are transitioning to a real-time distribute digital video to 150 different outlets. You can see the full panel discussion here.
Broadcasters face a lot of challenges to both their bottom line and their business models in the next year. And despite all of it, they are steadfast in their desire to provide free, over-the-air, high-definition television. Stay tuned as we create new ways to make more consumers aware of the choices they have to receive the best entertainment and news without a hefty cable bill.
Earlier this week, Mike Farrell of Multichannel News stated something we have known for years: the biggest threat to cable is an over-the-air TV antenna.
In the article, Farrell outlines the ways in which viewers are taking back their freedom and reclaiming their cordless roots with antennas that do not resemble the old thyme-y rabbit ears of yesteryear. It’s a message we have broadcast repeatedly on the web and in your neighborhood broadcast television station. And last year, we doubled our sales (not modest growth).
Confirmation. It feels so good. Check out the full article on the victory of over-the-air.
As you most likely can tell, we are extremely passionate about cord cutting and offering our customers advice on breaking ties with the cable companies while still enjoying the television they love. Antennas Direct president, Richard Schneider, was recently interviewed by USA Today’s Technology Writer Mike Snider regarding his thoughts on antennas, OTA television and how to get started with cutting the cord. You can read the article, Cutting the Cord: How do I get started?, in its entirety HERE.
Thanks to USA Today, and especially to Mike Snider, for offering your readers advice and tips on severing ties with the cable company and for including Antennas Direct as an industry expert. We look forward to sharing our thoughts and insights with you again in the very near future!
Naturally we think that our products are pretty amazing, but it’s always great when we hear it from other people. Larry Cornwell of Ryze-Up Magazine recently reviewed the ClearStream 2V and we were ecstatic with his feedback. Here is a brief summary of his review.
“I have been testing the Antennas Direct ClearStream 2V unit and it has been brilliant!”
The set up and installation is easy, the signals are strong and the pictures have been clear during the day, night and bad weather.
“The ClearStream 2V is one of the best, if not the best antenna on the market…clearly.”
Thank you Larry for the kind words. Be sure to check out Ryze-Up Magazine to read the review in it’s entirety. If you are interested in learning more about the ClearStream 2V or picking one up, simply click HERE.
If by some miracle you did not pick Kentucky to win the NCAA men’s basketball, tonight you are facing the potential for a financial windfall (or at least bragging rights). Indeed, the madness of March is about to end and just over 4 percent of the brackets had the Wisconsin Badgers going to the final game.
In case you are in the 96 percent who picked the Kentucky Wildcats to win the tournament, here is a quiz you can take to feel better about your loss. Which one of these is true?
Sales of “I Hate Christian Laettner” t-shirts have skyrocketed in Wisconsin.
Coach K is getting a statue in Durham.
More people than ever will be streaming this year’s title game on free, over-the-air television.
While A and B are possible, it is only C that we know for sure to be true. More households than ever have cut the cord to stream broadcast TV for free and over-the-air with an antenna.
After all, it is moments like these that are meant for broadcast television. The glow from over-the-air, high definition television unites our culture – the World Series, the Super Bowl and the NBA Finals. Ever since the lunar landing, we have huddled together to watch life’s important moments on broadcast TV.
Tonight, when you kick back on your sofa, you may be hoping that Coach K will get his third NCAA title. Or, you may pray the pesky Badgers bring home their first championship since 1941. And the game may be tense. But one thing you can count on is the reliability of glorious free broadcast television.
Best of luck on your brackets. And if you picked “watch the game over-the-air” just know that you’re already a winner in our books.
There are two seasons here in St. Louis, Cardinals baseball and winter. And, thankfully, the snow has given way to a bright new season for the best fans in baseball. Indeed, it has arrived – Opening Day for Major League Baseball, and we are pretty excited!
We know most of you hate the Cardinals as much as we hate cable. That’s alright, we forgive you.
With the first pitch about to take place, we wanted to address a common fear people have when they cut the cord: I’ll miss out on the sports I love. We are here to tell you this is not the case! Here are a few ways you can still enjoy the 2015 MLB Baseball season.
Broadcast TV For games broadcast over-the-air, all you need is an antenna! Click HERE for the full National Broadcast Schedule.
MLB.TV allows you to watch every out-of-market regular season game from the comfort of your home, at work, or on the go. The basic price is $109.99/year or $19.99/month. With this package, portability is not included, so if you plan on watching on-the-go, you’ll need to upgrade to the Premium level ($129.99/year or $24.99/month). A full year of MLB.TV is roughly how much you would pay for one month of cable!
As simple as this might sound, the best part of enjoying the game is watching it with friends. Check which local public house near you will be playing the game, grab some friends, kick back and enjoy. After all, with the money you’re saving from cutting the cord, you could buy a round of drinks for the entire bar!
Take Yourself Out to the Ballgame The average cost of cable is $123/month, which comes out to $1,476 a year. We could attend every home Cardinal’s game for $1,296. That still leaves us with $180 for peanuts and beer. We like the sound of that!
No matter what team you root for, enjoy the 2015 MLB season. We know we will.
For the third time in less than a year, and only one month after the last eclipse, tomorrow we will experience a Lunar Eclipse. On April 4th, beginning at 3:16 AM Pacific Daylight Time, sky watchers in the United States will be able to witness a total eclipse of the moon. The Moon will be in “totality” when the Moon is fully inside of the Earth’s shadow, causing a red Moon. To see the red Moon firsthand, be sure to be outside no later than 4:58 AM PDT.
Clearly, the universe is trying to tell us something with all of these eclipses. It’s saying, “It’s time to do more than just black out the moon. It’s time to black out cable with the Antennas Direct Eclipse.” Thanks, Universe! We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves.
Are you ready to take that step and black out cable? The Eclipse TV antenna gives you TV for free, the way it should be. Even better, the Eclipse is simple to install, there are no monthly bills and you will get pure, HD television. You can read more about the Eclipse and how we harnessed the strongest over-the-air technology in the universe to create this amazing antenna HERE.
The next total eclipse may not be until September 28th, but you can experience the Antennas Direct Eclipse everyday!
Oh, a breakup. The end. It is tragedy upon tragedy. From Shakespeare to Taylor Swift, it is the inspiration for artful expression. The misery can sometimes be too much to bear.
But this letter is not one of those breakups. This breakup is quite the opposite. Our friend Saif experienced what so many people are these days, breaking up with his cable company. It is a wonderful, liberating feeling that will leave you thinking, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”
Saif was tired of the abuse. He had enough. Why was he being held a hostage from the cable company when he could simply cut the cord and free himself? That is exactly what he did! Here is his breakup letter with the cable company he shared on his blog.
We are never, ever, ever, getting back together. I have been held hostage by your love for decades. Paying for elaborate monthly bills to the tune of around 110 dollars a month. Sometimes more, when all I watch is sports and Game of Thrones. You have duped me long enough. You don’t think anyone is going to figure out your games, but I have.
Those HD fees are a joke: ALL SIGNALS ARE IN HD NOW! We shouldn’t have to pay a subscription to be advertised to. We should have the right to leave if we are unhappy with the service and not be charged a penalty.
It is 2015 now. Roku is here with Hulu. Netflix is in the kitchen making cookies. Amazon Prime just dropped off a package with a movie, and Dish just pulled up with SlingTV to change the whole game. They have ESPN in the car. I can have all of these guys in the house for less than HALF of what I was paying for cable. HBOGO is flying in late, but she will be here soon.
Some remedial math…
Cable is $110 a month x 12 months = $1320 (enough to fly to Australia)
Tech is: $8+8+8+20 x 12 months = $ 528 (enough to not feel dirty)
That there is a savings of $792 to buy a new iPhone for yourself. Every year.
I get it though. Cable companies and many large corporations think consumers are stupid. That we will buy anything. That we won’t figure out what is really going on. They are wrong.
I want to show people what’s really going on. Like Neo freeing people from The Matrix, or Dorothy showing her buddies the man behind the Wizard of Oz.
Last year, Comcast and Direct TV alone hauled in over $70 Billion dollars of our money. It is truly is an obscene amount of money for TV. I am not paying mine anymore. Technology caught up, and they got too fat while all the little people like us got robbed. Not anymore. GOODBYE CABLE!…Never getting back together.
We’ve heard from countless customers their horror stories with the cable companies that led them to cut the cord. Now we want to hear from you! Send us your breakup stories and you might see yours featured on our next break up blog post.
Today is an important day in the universe. One reason is the total eclipse of the sun. Those of us in the northern hemisphere will have a chance to witness the moon blacking out the sun’s rays. Pretty cool. But there’s something even cooler happening today: Households across the United States and Canada are blacking out cable with a ClearStream Eclipse™ TV antenna!
Here is why the second reason is cooler: The Eclipse TV antenna gives you TV for free. No weird installation. No monthly bills. It is the quickest way to black out cable…for life!
With the Eclipse we have harnessed the strongest over-the-air technology in the universe and placed it in a sleek, simple-to-install indoor TV antenna. Read more about all the nerdy details and how we did it here.
So make this year’s solar eclipse last for the rest of your life. Make the universe a better place to live. And in the meantime, check out this playlist from Mashable of 20 songs to listen to while you enjoy the eclipse. You won’t be sorry you did.
LeBron James is not short on confidence. Even after the crushing defeat of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Oakland last night, James was quoted as saying he is the “best player in the world.” While that may be debatable, one thing is not: When sports matter, they are on broadcast television. Leading up to the championship […]
We know some of you out there have some reservations about saying goodbye to pay television. You write us and call us explaining how much happier you would be. Although we know more of you out there are receiving TV for free just based on our sales numbers, there are still a lot of Americans […]
Personal Finance Editor Adam Mayers helps his readers on their journey toward financial freedom, and, just a few days ago, that freedom included cutting the constraining pay television cord. Mayers has been a cord cutter for a few years now, and when he wanted to strengthen his over-the-air hardware, he found our good friend Karim Sunderani […]