How Do You Watch TV Without Cable? Tuning In to Some Info on Antennas

This summer Rogers raised their cable TV rates just one too many times and I cancelled our subscription. Since then none of the family has actually missed having TV. (When we lost the internet for a day and a half, though, things were unpleasant.) Still one of these days we’d like to have TV again so I started searching around a bit to see what’s on offer.

Squawkfox got me started thinking with a Christmas list that included an Over the Air digital antenna: 2013 Gift Guide: 10 Awesome Gadgets Worth the Money. Maybe.


The antenna she described wasn’t available from amazon.ca, however. Another one is: the Winegard FL5500A FlatWave Amplified Razor Thin HDTV Indoor Antenna, Black/White. It’s another one of these sheet of paper-sized pieces of plastic that you can hang like a window decoration (?) to catch passing TV signals. I admit I’m curious about this one and I might order it.

I remembered a reporter at the Star went the over the air route, so I went searching the archives to see if I could find the article. I did: Who needs cable? A 6-month checkup  His article provides a good overview of the pros and cons of Over the Air. For example, you won’t get HGTV (but then I never did) nor can you watch cable-only sports events. (But that’s what friends are for [or Friends is for, if you like to watch the games with other pub goers!)

In Sheryl Smolkin’s article Cable disconnect revisited: Pros and cons, she explains why one family went back to cable after experimenting with an antenna.

Some people stay with cable because they like their PVR. There are some options for Over the Air viewers as well. Cnet reviews one of them in Channel Master’s DVR+ offers true subscription-free over-the-air TV recording.

In some areas there just aren’t enough channels available “over the air” to make using an antenna a reasonable alternative. If that’s the case, trying to negotiate a better rate for cable or satellite TV from the service provider is a good idea. For example, the Big Cajun Man made One Phone Call and [Saved] $1200 Dollars  while enjoying continued TV and internet service.

We haven’t decided whether to buy an Over the Air antenna yet or not. Part of the problem is even our newest TV is not digital-ready but all the OTA stations are now digital. So we’d need a digital tuner as well as an antenna. Or a new TV. Decisions, decisions.


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Do you use OTA, satellite or cable for your TV signal needs? Does using OTA mean you can only watch reruns of the Beachcombers on the CBC in whichever of our two national languages you are least comfortable thinking in? Please share your experiences with a comment.

2 thoughts on “How Do You Watch TV Without Cable? Tuning In to Some Info on Antennas

    • I hope you get some time off to enjoy too!

      As for the Beachcombers, you mean you didn’t buy the 40th anniversary gold-boxed set with extra features of Bruno Gerussi singing?! Makes for a speechless gift recipient!

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