Recent Adjustments to 6 Years Cable Free

Like many people these days, I cut the cord.  In the summer of 2010, I moved into my current house and decided from the start that I wouldn’t have cable.  A few of my friends were already cable-free and could provide advice (thank you, Carl Tyler!).  Here’s the thing though, I’m lazy.  I want things to “just work”.  I don’t want to have to fiddle and futz.  So I knew I wasn’t going to jump through a bunch of hoops to go cable-free, it was going to have to be easy.

So for the last six years, we’ve mostly had Rokus with Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime.  In the last year or so, I added an Apple TV to the mix. For a short period, we had Aereo, which was a channel on the Roku that acted as a digital antenna so we could have local channels. Then they were sued and shut down.  We also had playon for a bit, but the machine that I had it on died and I just couldn’t be bothered to spin up another one (see above where I said I was lazy).  I’ve attempted unblock-us and have several friends who love it, swear by it, and even helped set me up (Carl) and troubleshoot it later (Gab), but every once in a while, Netflix gets all pissy about unblock-us and stops working.  Again, that means futzing and fixing and I just can’t be bothered.  So I don’t really use that either, unless I have to  (like to watch the Olympics this year).

It’s football season, so I finally broke down and got a digital antenna so my son could watch the Patriots.  We should have bought the outdoor antenna (although again, I didn’t want to futz and an outdoor antenna would CERTAINLY require some fiddling with regards to wiring).  I bought the “50″, I think intended to mean 50-mile reach of the antenna, from the rather surly dude at Best Buy.  Me: “Do you have digital antennas”.  Surly guy: “Yeah, get this one, it’s the only one people don’t return saying it didn’t work”.  Well, okay then.

Sadly, the antenna only comes with a 5-foot cable or something equally ridiculous, especially when the antenna probably will only work in one particular spot in your house, if at all.  Mine ended up only working in the window at the end of the hall of my upstairs master bedroom.  So, you know, TOTALLY inconvenient for anyone watching TV.  In theory, you can put it on a wall or bookcase, but mine ONLY worked in the window.  It had to be in the highest point and facing south (because I live north of Boston, where all the signals are coming from).  I bought a 50-foot coax cable, which apparently works better when it’s uncoiled.  Who knew?  But at least that way, it reaches to my TV (where it belongs rather than the hallway).  Unfortunately, this required a lot of fiddling, but it’s done now and set up and working and hey, my kid is happy.

In summary, six years cable-free, Roku and Apple TV with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and now a digital antenna.

The kids sitting on bean bag chairs in my hallway, with the TV sitting on a bin of yarn in front of the only window we could get the antenna to work in.

The kids sitting on bean bag chairs in my hallway, with the TV sitting on a bin of yarn in front of the only window we could get the antenna to work in.