A few weekends ago, we finally dropped our satellite TV service with DirectTV. I’d been agitating to do it for a few months. Notification of yet another price increase finally convinced my wife, Sandy to go along.
Ours is a fairly typical story. We were paying for a bunch of channels we never watched, a handful of other channels we only rarely watched. Prices were always inching up. Yearly cost for the privilege of having all those channels we never watched? Nearly $1,000.
I’d reviewed the options, considered SlingTV or changing providers. Comcast is the other option in our area, and we’d heard enough horror stories about them not to consider it.
That left internet-only options or a combination of new school, and old school. We went with the combination, “peasantvision”, TV via the antenna I installed on the roof, augmented with Hulu and NetFlix.
Turns out, the hard part was actually wading through the crap DirectTV makes you put up with when you cancel their service. The actual conversion to broadcast was fairly easy. Here’s a summary of what I did. Start to finish I spent about 2 hours.
- Start with this. Google “TV reception maps” and use one of the results to check signal strength in your area. Check with friends and neighbors who have gone cable/satellite sober and see what they’ve done. If you have plenty of options, move on to step 2.
- Buy an antenna. I paid Amazon $30 for a roof antenna. Again, plenty of choices here so read reviews and check with friends and neighbors who have already done what you’re doing.
- Install the antenna on the roof. For me, this was fairly easy. I took down the old dish (DirectTV didn’t want it back), and bolted the antenna to the already existing stand on my roof. I also reused the already installed coaxial cable, using a “splitter” to take the one line from the antenna and split the signal for the lines going to my TVs. I pointed the antenna in the direction of the broadcast sources.
- Back inside the house, I installed signal boosters with each TV. The coaxial lines from the antenna (formerly from the dish) then plugged into the “in” port on my signal booster. I ran another short length of cable from the “out” port to the antenna port on the back of my TVs.
- Last step, I then used the TV’s setup to scan for channels. It found 49 of them. Wow.
That was it. We use Chromecast to watch Hulu and Netflix. There are other options that work just as well. We’re now getting all the major broadcast networks including PBS, and a bunch of others.