You don’t need to pay for TV. Cable is outrageously expensive, and sort of a moral outrage. Why should you have to pay for anything that is 1/3 advertising? Broadcasts are littered with commercials and self-promotion and in screen ads and product placement. Isn’t this constant barrage of consumerism enough to pay for television? Apparently not. The average cable or satellite subscriber pays $71 a month! And what of the people who are paying $200+? Why not just make a car payment instead?
For a while, I was going completely without TV, save Netflix and The Pirate Bay. I missed live sports a little, but I found streaming links on the internet. Yeah, the quality was terrible, but hey, it’s free! Then I remembered the way my father and I had watched TV when I was little: with an antenna. Boy that was terrible. Since then, though, broadcast television has improved tremendously. These days, you can get a lot more channels, and many of them in HD, for free, over the air. All you need is a coax cable, a $6 matching transformer, and basically whatever metal you have lying around. Of course, you can buy an antenna, but you can make one yourself that’s just as good, if not better than a store bought antenna.
My first antenna was basically just the matching transformer, some wire, and an aluminum can. I didn’t expect much, but I actually got about 25 channels from this rig. I did some more research, and found out about UHF and VHF signals, and figured out how to capture the more difficult VHF signals. After a bit of experimentation, I attached a straight metal bar to my prototype antenna, and sure enough, I got 38 channels. Granted 1/4 of them are religious, but I get every major network broadcast, in HD, which is really all I need. I’m still using the same prototype, and it still works great. About the only catch is, you have to keep the antenna outside in order to get any decent signal. Some people put their antennas in the attic, but this really didn’t work for me.
WatchESPN is about the only thing I’m missing, but other than that, the rest of cable TV is a complete waste of time. With the decline of the formerly educational channels, Discovery, The “Learning” Channel, and The “History” Channel, there is basically nothing left. To get any actual educational channels, i.e. Science, you must pay for hundreds of other channels you don’t want, and still be subjected to loads of advertisement. And although Science and National Geographic would be nice (although the latter has dog training marathons), with YouTube, you can watch any kind of educational material you want, on demand, without advertisements (get AdBlock). There is no need to pay for TV, and it’s mostly junk anyway. Cut the cord, and move on with your life.