You requested it – I listened – so here it is – a post about replacing your cable or satellite television system.
This past July, we made the decision to shed our television provider for a local antenna. We simply were tired of dealing with price increases and playing the promotion game in order to get a reasonable rate we were willing to pay.
Your biology class may have used a dichotomous key as a tool to identify organisms as trees, flowers, fish, and others. These keys begin with a question followed by options (typically 2) that force the user to make a choice. The decision may include information followed by a “Go-to” statement, which directs the user to their next question (by number). To me, this tool is similar to a flow chart displaying a decision tree.
I constructed the dichotomous key below as a tool to help interested parties make a decision about cutting the cord. Answer the question, then follow the appropriate “Go-to” statement. Bullets are notes that go with that answer.
A Decision Tree
1) Do you want local channels?
1A) Yes – Go to 2
- Depending on your distance from the stations, you may need an amplifier
- The higher the antenna location, the better the reception
- In general, outdoor-type antennas are better than indoor antennas, and multidirectional/omnidirectional antennas are better than directional
- Condos owners – consider an attic because high inside is better than low outside
- Consider an using an installer
- You will receive more stations than you anticipate because some local stations offer substations. Click here to find your local channels by zip code.
1B) No – Go to 3
2) Do you want to record shows from local channels?
2A) Yes – then purchase a DVR – Go to 3
- Beware of monthly fees
- DVR will only record shows on stations from the antenna, not from streaming
- We purchased a TiVo Roamio OTA, no monthly fees (from Amazon)
2B) No – Go to 3
3) Do you want “cable” stations?
3A) Yes – Go to 4
3B) No – Go to 7
4) Do you know your options for receiving cable stations?
4A) Yes – Go to 5
4B) No – You will need to do the following, then Go to 5
- Identify the most important stations for your household
- Research available streaming options as Sling, DirectTV Now, Hulu TV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, Watch TV
- Prioritize the services by comparing their offerings to your most-important stations list
5) Do you want to record “cable” shows?
5A) Yes – Go to 6
- Remember, DVR equipment (as TiVo) does not record streaming services
- Some (but not all) streaming services offer DVR cloud service, so select the service with this option
5B) No – Go to 7
6) Does your preferred streaming option offer DVR cloud service?
6A) Yes – Go to 7
6B) No – re-prioritize your streaming options or change your desire for DVR cloud service – Go to 7
7) Do you have or want streaming services as Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, Showtime, or others?
7A) Yes – No problems – Go to 8
- Previous choices should not affect these services
- These services run on dedicated apps
- Streaming service are more efficient through wire than through wireless
7B) No – Go to 8
8) Did this exercise help?
8A) Yes – Congratulations because you may know more about the topic than you did
8B) No – Seek professional help
Although we did not do this to cut expenses, our decision saved $75 per month. However, we spent about $800 for the antenna, its installation, and the DVR – but our savings should take care of the expenses in 11 months.
Based on what our viewing preferences, we selected Sling Blue – but at the expense of me losing the ESPN family (and Discovery Channel). (We gained BBC America.) However, I may expand to Sling Orange for several months to have access to ESPN college football – then cancel the Orange tier at season’s end.