Cutting the chord is not completely realistic for several reasons. You are more than likely still require internet from your cable or phone (telecom) provider. Cable providers typically provide internet through coax while phone providers use to provide services through old school twisted pair (copper) phone land lines AKA POTS lines. Twisted pair has proven to be a poor medium, utilizing a DSL connection to the internet. Most phone providers are now offering a fiber connection into the home, replacing the old twisted pair/DSL connection. Anyway, these internet and traditional cable providers are losing their traditional cable revenue stream to content primarily being served through streaming media devices.
Streaming Media Device Limitations
My dad spent 3k, on 77”, 120Hz native refresh, 4k Television. The first complaint, why does the picture look poor? Not knowing what he was referring to do, I investigated during my next visit home. Sure enough, he was using SlingTV and NBC Sports apps for viewing live TV. There is no point in getting a fancy new television if 50% of your television viewing is on live TV.
What is live TV?
Live TV is content (typically, sports content) that is broadcasted real time. Live content can look pretty distorted when streamed over the internet rather distributed through traditional cable TV. However, the free alternative to live TV through traditional cable tv is delivered through a Over the Air, HD antenna. The lingo going forward is called “OTA” or Over the Air. We want OTA setup to capture all the broadcast television networks. These networks consist of Fox, NBC, CBS, ABC, and PBS. There are several ways to receive your local broadcast network live content.
- Download each app on one of your Stream Devices and view the live content there. I have not had much experience with this setup. I do know the live stream with look choppy and distorted. So it’s not ideal
- Order “Traditional” Cable TV
- This lingo is used amongst the cable TV providers. Internet alone is $25 for 25 megabits down from Comcast Xfinity. The price ballooned to approximately $100mo as soon we considered ESPN and cable “entertainment” news.
- OTA HD Antenna
- Who doesn’t want to avoid spending more than $25 from one of the cable providers? OTA is perfect for people in Texas because it doesn’t require much effort to receive a good OTA signal. San Diego required me to place my HD antenna on the roof and I was good to go. The Bay Area (Novato) is different story, the geography can be challenging for obtaining a good signal.
Assess Your OTA Signal
We can’t install an HD antenna, unless we perform some basic research. Utilize www.nocable.org for assessing how “challenging” it will be to receive an OTA signal. “Challenging” areas can achieve all the core OTA broadcast network channels, barring no large obstructions. Ie buildings, mountains, etc. Download and run “TV towers” app once you have a pretty good chance of getting a signal. This will literally point you in the right direction. More than likely, most if not all towers will be in the same general direction. Make a decision based off of your assessment if it’s worth the purchase and the install an HD antenna.
Bay Area Results – “challenging”
Danville, CA – TV Channels & OTA Antenna Map (nocable.org)
Novato, CA – TV Channels & OTA Antenna Map (nocable.org)
Walnut Creek, CA – TV Channels & OTA Antenna Map (nocable.org)
Tiburon, Bay Area – “likely to receive”
Belvedere Tiburon, CA – TV Channels & OTA Antenna Map (nocable.org)
The signal is better for Tiburon because it has a clear line of site to San Francisco. Most transmitters are located by major cities.
San Diego – “likely to receive”
San Diego, CA – TV Channels & OTA Antenna Map (nocable.org)
Important Bay Area OTA channels:
- 2.1 – KTVU
- 5.1 – KPIX
- 7.1 KGO
- 9.1 – PBS
- 11.1 – NBC
How to Test and Install an HD antenna
Upgrading the HD antenna from a basic interior mount to an exterior mount depends on how “challenging” the HD antenna signal. I had to upgrade to an exterior RCA HD antenna mount in San Diego, even though San Diego says it’s “likely to receive”. My brother in Colleyville, Tx received hundreds of OTA channels with an interior mount. The same RCA HD antenna in Novato, CA was extremely challenged by its own geography . I am now recommending an upgrade there from the RCA HD antenna to the Direct DB82. There are other notable HD antennas based on your situation that are reviewed here. It’s recommended you scope out the cable run before purchasing any equipment. You can decide how much coax cable you will need and any additional accessories. Run a signal test by utilizing the purchase list items below. Specifically, test the HD antenna on the roof with your coax cable to your TV.
Hardware & Accessories
HD Antenna Options:
- RCA HD antenna
- Direct DB82
- Interior mounts reviewed here
Exterior HD antenna run Challenges
The test cable run was funneled from the entertainment room, through the window, and on to the roof. It took the Tivo Bolt signal strength to test above 50 on all important OTA broadcast channels for a clear signal. Please observe how the coax wrapped around the vent and the HD antenna tilt were all carefully placed for a successful test. Obviously, this means more complications when a professional comes if the signal was a good hour or two worth of fickleness. It’s definitely worth the HD antenna upgrade.
How to Increase your Antenna Coverage
We found a pole to mount to the eve’s for elevating your coverage.
TV Antenna eave mount bracket (dennystvantennare.com)
5 Foot by 1.5″OD TV antenna Mast Pipe (dennystvantennare.com)
Mapping out your Cable Run
Take plenty of pictures if you plan to have a professional run your cable and mount your equipment.
How to Install an HD Antenna for Outdoors Summary
I will create a list of cable management installers when I have more time to produce a list of qualified individuals.
The how to Guide of Network Installation Setup – Network Antics