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Say Goodbye to your Cable Bill!

Mar 07, 2013 12:00 am

Bitsy had some great tips recently for saving on your cable bill. Here's all that information in one easy to access place!

Digital Converter Box: These boxes receive digital signals, and convert them into analog format for display on analog TVs. Simply plug your antenna into the converter box, and then plug the box into the antenna port on your TV. Use the remote control that came with the converter box and follow the on screen set-up guide to scan for digital channels. Depending on your location, you should be able to receive the major networks, PBS and any local stations.  If you have a newer television, it may already have a digital tuner, so you will just need an antenna. You can find step by step instructions here. Two popular options are the Zinwell ZAT-970A box available through Amazon for $45 with free Prime shipping, and the Digital Stream converter box available at Radio Shack for $59.99. 


Indoor TV Antenna:  I can never work out which part of the antenna helps pick up what station. Here's what you need to know:

  • Rabbit Ears - These pick up channels 2 - 13 (VHF). Extend the ears or rods all the way out for best reception of channels 2 - 6, and reduce the length down to 12 - 18 inches for channels 7 - 13.
  • Circle or Bow Tie - This picks up channels 14 - 51 (UHF).


The best location for an indoor antenna is near a window, and as high as possible. It's also good to be away from other electronic equipment, including VCRs, DVD players, converter boxes and the TV.  Remember to use the signal strength meter on your digital converter box when adjusting the antenna. It can usually be accessed through the remote control. And don't forget to do another channel scan after adjusting the antenna. The price for an indoor tv antenna ranges anywhere from under $10 to around $100. Pictured above is an Amplified HDTV Antenna from Radio Shack for $34.99. For a more contemporary look, I like the Mohu Leaf Paper-Thin Indoor HDTV Antenna available through Amazon for just under $40 with free Prime shipping. 



Media Streaming Device: These little gadgets work in conjunction with your TV, streaming media content straight to your television  screen. Popular devices include Apple TV, WD TV Live and Roku. You can read a more in-depth review of all three here. The thing I particularly like about Roku is that you can pair it with your Amazon Prime membership for instant access to 11 000 videos at no additional cost. It can also stream your Netflix or Hulu Plus account straight to your television, and it has hundreds of its own free channels.  Prices start at $49.99, and they generally have promotions around the holidays. There are a couple of different Roku models available, and you can find out more info here.



Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime:
Okay, unless you've been living under a rock, you already know about at least one of these services, if not all of them. Here's the basic difference between them - Netflix has a huge archive, and still offers the choice of receiving discs in the mail or instant streaming. Hulu Plus offers current TV shows, while Amazon Prime's instant video streaming service comes free with your annual $79 Prime membership.  Netflix and Amazon offer one month free trials, while Hulu Plus offers a one week free trial. Both Netflix and Hulu Plus cost $7.99 a month, and Netflix offers the extra service of receiving actual DVDs in the mail for an additional $7.99 a month.



Redbox: If you don't want to sign up for a monthly service, then Redbox is the way for you to go. You can rent a DVD for as little as $1.20 a day. It's even possible to reserve your selection online, and then go and pick up from your local Redbox (mine is outside Walgreens).  If you sign up for text alerts, Redbox will send you a promo code every month.  Just text the word REDBOX to 727272. You can also google the words Redbox and Promo Code to find codes online.

Have you cut the cord on your cable bill yet? Have an antenna or digital converter box to recommend? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

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