At a time where saving money is more valuable than usual, a local client shared ideas for watching TV cheaply:
- Free Network Broadcasts: For access to the major networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX) and live television broadcasts, purchase an HD antenna. I bought the 35 mile range model from amazon Amazon.com: AmazonBasics Ultra-Thin Indoor HDTV Antenna – 25 Mile Range: Electronics and it provides me with access to SD and LA broadcasts. ($35 – one time)
- TV Shows, Movies on Demand over Internet: For access to thousands of movies and shows on demand, Netflix (Cost:$8.99/mo for HD), Amazon Prime ($99/year), and Hulu ($7.99/mo) offer excellent options. Netflix and Amazon offer deeper catalogs with no ads. Hulu has current shows with ads. I currently only do Amazon Prime as it’s the best value with their Unlimited 2 Day Shipping, Music Streaming, and Photo Storage included. Netflix and Hulu offer the flexibility to activate for a month and cancel at any time.
- Sports: NFL, MLB, and NBA all offer season packages that allow you to watch all games on demand, on any connected device. I only subscribe to the NFL Gamepass package ($99/year) which has the downside of not providing live broadcasts. This is not an issue for me since I can almost never carve out 3 hours in the middle of the day to watch a game. The functionality is ideal as all On-demand games are replayed with no commercials and there is even a “condensed” version that cuts out the video between plays, allowing you to watch a game in approximately 30 minutes.
- Sling TV: For those that want access to major networks such as ESPN, FX, AMC, they can subscribe to slingTV ($20/month) which provides live coverage of these networks previously only available through satellite and cable vendors. They also offer the benefit of subscribing and cancelling the service by the month.
- Connected TV Devices: Most new tv’s have web-enabled “Smart TV” hardware and software built in. If a TV does not, all of these apps are accessible via an Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Google Chrome, or connecting your PC to your TV.
Sounds good. Do you think it will work in San Antonio, TX? We are currently on Time Warner and have never been totally satisfied. What do you recommend and how do you get on it? Just by setting up an HD antenna to be able to get our own selection of channels, (no religious, no sports)?
Also, what would the fees likely be? Looks like it depends on how many connections and the types you connect with.
I don’t know if our TV is a smart TV.
Now, is this something I can setup myself? I can put up the antenna, but I am not sure of connecting it properly.
I would appreciate your input.
Hi Howard. Most of the details in the post should apply nationally. The one item that would be specific to San Antonio is the local channels. There are different types of antennas for local channels (including rooftop). If you are comfortable risking the moderate cost of the simple antenna, you can start by buying it and seeing if you get the local channels that you typically watch. I don’t have the Antenna (I gave up local channels), so I can’t be sure about the setup, but based on the photo, my guess is that it’s as simple as connecting the coaxial cable to your TV. It should be easy.
Regarding the TV – you don’t need a smart TV. I don’t have one, and I bought the “Amazon Fire TV” box for about $100, to get streaming TV from the Internet (using Amazon Prime @ $100/year). A cheaper option is the Amazon Fire TV stick (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GDQ0RMG/ref=ods_fs_ftvs) for $34 that would probably work just as well. You would need an HDMI connection to the TV – newer TVs have that. The main part that may be tricky is getting an Internet connection to the TV. Just like with a computer, you can have a wired connection or wireless. I use a wired connection, because I was worried about the reliability and speed of wireless, but it may be fine too.
I realize that my response doesn’t give perfect details to your case, but hopefully it can bring you one step closer. Feel free to ask more, and I will do my best to help.