How I learned to ditch cable but still love HDTV*
Originally Published 11/30/2010 – And I still don’t miss cable.
You don’t need cable or satellite. How much are you spending on that every month? $50, $60, $70? My bill used to be around $60 a month. That’s $720 a year. Screw that. Unless you’re a serious couch potato (and if you are, you might wanna peel yourself off the sofa and get out of the house) it’s just not worth it. Sure it’s nice to have ESPN. But ain’t it better to go out and enjoy a big game with a group of friends at your favorite bar? Your favorite TV series will end up on DVDs faster than you’d think, and you can use Netflix to get those for cheap.
HD is going mainstream and that means over the air broadcast network TV. Here’s a small and cheap setup that’ll get you situated for just enough high-def in your house, but not so much that you feel obligated to watch it.
The TV: LG 32-Inch 720p LCD HDTV – $329.98 | or… 1080p LCD HDTV – $431.80
There comes a point where a TV gets too big. Unless you’re mounting this thing above a fireplace and setting your couch up 10 yards away, a 32inch TV is about as big as you’ll really need. As far as the difference between 720p and 1080p, if you’re a gamer or a serious movie fiend you’ll want the 1080p. 720p is still hugely more detailed than a regular broadcast, but the 1080p is about twice as more detailed than a 720p. Splitting hairs? Eh, maybe. Read more from Cnet here. LG makes sleek and sturdy HDTVs that come highly rated online & are pretty affordable.
Ditch cable and get an Amplified Antenna: GE Quantum 24775 Antenna – $30.11
First know this: There is NO SUCH THING AS AN HD ANTENNA. Any old set of rabbit ears can pull in an HD Signal since they’re broadcast on the same UHF and VHF bands. It’s your HDTV that does the work when it receives that HD signal. Quality in antennas do vary, and buying an amplified (translation: you plug it in) antenna could be a good idea if you live in an area that struggles to pick up over the air broadcasts. We use the GE Quantum 24775 which works much better than our old cheap RCA amplified antenna. Do you still have to reposition the futuristic compact body every so often? Yes. But c’mon, it’s not that big of a deal.
Consider getting Netflix: $7.99 – $11.99 per month
If you’re into the high-speed streaming thing (sorry, I’m not quite there yet) Netflicks will only cost you $7.99 a month for unlimited movies. Most of us probably spend that each month on vending machines. Regular DVDs are $9.99 a month w/ Blue-Ray delivery costing an extra $2.00 more. Adios HBO and Starz.
Invest in a blue-ray player – LG BD570 – $157.95
Watch a football game in HD then switch over to your standard def Casino Royale and you’ll notice a difference. HD will spoil you and you’ll start to see the pixels. The solution for movies requires blu-ray discs and a blu-ray player. Yes you can wait on buying one of these. Especially since most of us have been watching movies in standard def for awhile, and 10 minutes into the flick you’ll probably forget you’re not watching HD anymore. But if you are ready to splurge? The LG BD570 is the next generation of the BD370. Ready to stream, good performer, inexpensive.
Total Startup Cost = $530.03
Total Cost for one year of cable/sat. at $60 a month = $720
You won’t miss it. Really.
*With that said, I’m no tech wizard. All I know is what works for me, and I’m happy as can be with our 720p (gasp! It’s NOT 1080p!!!!) HDTV. I still can’t believe I used to pay for satellite. Most nights we land on one of our 4 PBS channels anyway. Leave all your comments, tips, and experiences below.