I decided enough is enough. As a 46 year old man I have had enough of the pricing of cable television. I was paying $146/mo for internet, cable tv and phone. I did not want the phone service but I had to get it or it would cost me more. There were some sacrifices that needed to be made for me to have it all again because I love my TV!
Time Warner Cable (Spectrum) had been providing me service now for a couple of years and it was good service overall. My development also has ATT for internet, but the service top speed is 6mbps and they say they have no plans to upgrade our condo/townhouse development area. I found that Earthlink has service also and it's $30/mo for 20mbps speeds for the first 6 months and then it will jump in price by $12. Their service is actually directly through TWC so there really isn't anything different there. I did have 30mbps but I don't mind a bit less. I'm also aware that the area will be upgraded to a minimum of 60mbps shortly and I will get that speed when the system is updated in the next week or two. Streaming services usually need about 7mbps on the high end from what I have read so I am well above what is needed.
I live in Westlake a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio and the towers are about 20 miles away. Our HOA has rules about outdoor antennas so I decided to mount mine in the attic. The higher the better. Mount it central and not too close to any rafters as that may interfere with signals. I hung mine from the ceiling off a galvanized pipe I mounted to the rafters. Use tvfool.com and a DTV app for information on installation.
This First Antenna ($32) I ordered because of the 150 mile range it claimed is just junk in my opinion. It was too flimsy and the specs were completely misleading on distance after you read reviews on it. This antenna is sold under many different names and I would not suggest any of them. I returned it for my money back.
The Second Antenna ($28) came and is a nice unit. I did much more research and this one is a great deal. I ordered the first two to see if I could cut the cable and be happy. It also gave me a sense of security knowing I could get television if the cable system was not working in case of a disaster. This would probably be good enough but I find that the issue of having it in the attic (25 feet up or so) I still get some pix-elation in a couple of channels because all the towers don't line up perfectly for me. Channel 19-a (CBS) is a real issue for many here in the area with OTA antennas. I did get 30 channels but again a couple came and went and I just could not tune them all in good enough. I will give this one to a friend.
With the success of the second antenna I knew I could cut the cable so I purchased a Third Antenna ($92) with an 8-bay bow-tie design to get every possible channel in my area with ease. The other model I could have bought was the DB8E ($148) which also had great reviews but I didn't believe I would gain anything by spending more with that antenna...although it does allow you to point it in two different directions if that is needed in your area. My area has the towers somewhat close together so I think I will be fine saving the $50. I will follow up when I get the new one delivered. Here is a comparison of a few good antennas. My suggestion is to buy a unit much larger than what you need so your signal is the strongest it can be.
Movies - I have a family Netflix account for $11.99 that allows 4 users to view at one time. We share it between 5 family members (sisters, parents, uncles). I have it on every device in my house and they do as well in their homes. There are no young kids so the odds of all 5 of us trying to get on Netflix at the same time is near impossible. We share the cost which is $29/year per person ($2.50/mo). I pay the bill and they pay me once a year in advance. Easy and cheap. Netflix also allows 5 user profiles so that I don't need to see others favorites. Netflix allows you to stream to different areas in the country at the same time. I also have Amazon prime which I use mostly for shipping, I hope to use it more for movies as thousands are free with your Prime membership.
Cable TV Channel Streaming - Options include (Sling TV, Playstation Vue, Apple TV, Hulu, DirectTV Now) I checked out all the options and I decided to try Playstation Vue as it seemed to be the best bang for the buck at $29/mo including a cloud DVR and the best lineup for me with a local channel also. You do not need a Playstation to use this service. You will need a device like a Roku, Fire stick, Fire tv, Apple Tv or a Playstation. There are limitations to this service mainly being that you can only watch this at home, it identifies your home IP address and will not work anywhere else. The picture was good on my 65" Samsung 1080p tv. but I believe I will cancel this service after this month. There also may be limitations as to how many devices can be watching at one time at your home.
Android Box - Ok, this is where it can get a bit confusing but it's worth it. I purchased an android box that runs android programs and hooks up to my tv through and HDMI port. Kodi is a program that many have heard of before and it can get a bit confusing for a new user and you don't need to learn it. I use the Terrarium TV app that gives me all my TV shows and movies with no commercials. You have to make sure you don't click on the ads but that is not too hard to figure out where to click. It's not as difficult as Kodi. Just click on it from the main screen after installing it....find your movie or all seasons of your show and click on it. I generally find the new shows uploaded within 30 minutes of the show ending. I love Game of Thrones and that is where I will get it from now on without the cost of HBO. Then it will give you plenty of places to stream it or download it from. The larger the size the slower it will download or possibly buffer while streaming it. I love this program and it makes it much easier to walk away from the cable companies with it. I also have Mobdro app installed on the unit which gives me my live feeds of news from CNN, Fox, MSNBC along with many other live feeding cable channels like HBO, AMC, TBS, ESPN and many more. My android box is a Himedia H8 Plus and luckily I found someone to program it with dozens of movie and show apps for about $30 on Craigslist. I could have done the Mobdro and Terrarium Tv app and been just as happy with the device. These apps are not authorized or found in the playstore so you will need to find the link yourself in a search to install it. I also installed them on my phone...great apps.
Home Phone - I did get used to having a home phone at times. I don't give out my home number much but I liked having it when I misplaced my cell to call it or if I needed to make a call for a while and my cell could charge. I let my old number go and I signed up for google voice....it's free. I was able to choose a number with my first name in it with my local area code which made it easy to remember and easy to give out. I purchased a Obihai Device ($48) which is super easy to set up with google voice and allows me to make and receive calls for free with free long distance in the US also. I hope to learn the faxing option later. I hooked it up to my router and my phone outlet which has corded and a cordless phones set with friends and family's numbers programmed into the cordless set. Crystal clear calls, no drops!
Here are the drawbacks for the completely free service -
1. No caller id, you will get the number, but not the name unless you have them programmed into your cordless set and then it will show up on your handset.
2. 911 service will not work for your proper location. Use a cell phone in that case
All of these drawbacks can be eliminated with a service provided by Obihai for an inexpensive monthly fee which I can live without.
BTW - I use a Tivo Roamio Pro DVR with lifetime service (I suggest a Roamio, Roamio Plus or Pro) hooked up to the antenna which allows me to watch live tv and record the local news channels or local sports. It also works well for Netflix and Amazon. I use Tivo Mini units for other tvs in my house to share my television, recordings and streaming services. Tivo has a great system for OTA as well as Cable TV in my opinion. You can find good deals on them used on eBay with lifetime (aka All in Service) which means no monthly bill for usage. I turn off "Tivo Suggestions" so that it will extend the life of my the hard drive inside. You can also find good deals on Tivo Premiere models with lifetime and they work well also but not as well as the Roamio models. The Tivo Bolt is nice also if you have a 4K tv, just price out how much the "All In" lifetime service is for it prior to purchase. The lifetime service is not a repair service, it's a subscription service for it to give you all the features.
There is an expense to cut the cable, but then you are done. I lowered my bill by $110 a month by cutting the cable. I already was paying for Netflix and Amazon Prime. I will not renew Playstation Vue and I will watch everything that I watched before off of two boxes, a Tivo and and Android Box. This will give all the same live tv, live news, and on demand choices that I had before. I can also download any of the shows or movies and then transfer them to a tablet for when I travel. I could save myself $29 and cancel Netflix too, but I like the ease of their menu and it is a little easier than Terrarium TV to use and I am willing to pay for that.
My recurring bills now
Internet - $29 going to $42 later (I own my modem)
Netflix - under $3 a month
Terrarium Tv - $0
Mobdro Tv - $0
Playstation Vue - Cancelled
Home Phone - $0
$32 - $45/month
EDIT - the Roamio Pro and Plus will not work with OTA (over the air) Antenna service. The regular Roamio, Bolt, and Premiere units can do OTA