Cutting the cord can be as easy as installing an antenna


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The TV antenna, once a long forgotten part of our viewing experience, is making a comeback.

With so many alternative ways to watch TV, millions are cutting the cord and many are going back to the TV antenna.

There’s some misconceptions about cutting the cord.

Some folks think when you do that – TV goes away.

In reality there’s lots of free TV out there, but access it you need an antenna.

We’re not talking about old school rabbit ears like we used back in the day, where the tin foil wrapped around played a huge role in helping to tune in the signal.

These days, antennas are decidedly cutting edge.

Mohu is one of the largest antenna makers in the country and they’re located right here in Raleigh.

Their CEO says there’s a lot of free TV is out there.

“With any channel you have three to five sub channels with additional content,” says Mohu President Mark Buff. “That’s why, for example, instead of five channels you can get 25 channels in the Raleigh area.”

These days antennas are more than just wires. They are very high tech, with circuits and other electronics embedded that help improve reception.

“We purposefully designed our antenna so you don’t have to point them to where the tower is,” says Buff. Twisting the antennas to get the best signal was always a problem for viewers.

When it comes to antennas, one size does not fit all.

You need to make your choice based on how far away you are from the transmitting tower.

This link to the FCC’s DTV web page will help you figure out how far away you are from a TV transmitter.

All you do is plug in your zip code and the website does the rest. Once you know how far away you are, you can choose an antenna that will work for the signal strength in your area. You might be far enough away from a transmitter that you’ll need an antenna which has amplification.

For some cutting the cord is a matter of economics.

Mike Massey no longer uses cable and switched to satellite TV to save money. And he says he would consider an antenna. “We are always looking for ways to save money and if it saved money in the long run we would do it,” says Massey.

Researchers estimate 15 million households now use antennas to get their TV.

“The Antenna is not the complete solution,” says Buff.

Besides your free over the air channels, you still need to figure out how get channels like HBO, ESPN or other premium services.

This link to the website helps.

You put in some personal information like zip code and viewing preferences and it comes up with various choices for you and prices them for you.

If you go in with an antenna, here are some tips.

  • Try the antenna in different spots until you find the best reception
  • Try an amplified antenna in a marginal signal area
  • Rescan for channels periodically. See if more are added

Email CBS North Carolina’s Steve Sbraccia if you have a consumer issue.

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