So, a while back I wrote a little about our attempt to cut the cord on our TV. The ever-increasing price of cable (even on our wonderful telephone co-op service) had been becoming hard to bear, not to mention the fact that the company providing the cable service to the co-op seems to be a tad on the sloppy side.  We have often found our local PBS channel only has one channel of stereo sound, and some other anomalies. So between the cost, paying for a gazillion channels we would never watch, and the general feeling that we could do better ourselves, we finally decided to move toward dropping our cable service. As a start, we cut it way back to the bare minimum, so that we were not paying for a whole lot of channels we never watch, and we dropped the HD service (seems weird to have to pay more for the HD service we can get over the air.

We also invested in a couple of over the top tv services. Primarily we get Sling Tv because we found it really hard to live without Turner Clasic Movies. By and large we really like Sling because it's a "skinny" bundle that only saddles us with a smallish number of channels we don't watch, and it's been reliable and pretty high in video quality.  We subscribe to the movies package, which includes a number of movie channels, including as mentioned TCM. Even at $25/month it's considerably cheaper than what we had been paying to access movie channels on our cable. 

We also get Acorn TV, which we love. We watch a lot of British TV on PBS, and with Acorn we get to watch lots of television that we would never get a chance to see, most of it British television shows. I find that this is the thing we watch the most currently, and they now also have nice apps available to watch on tablets and smart phones. At $5/month it's a great bargain.

Hardware-wise we have bought an antenna and installed it. We bought a ClearStream 2v antenna, and it's working great. We live in a fairly challenging spot for TV reception since we are in a rural area surrounded by a horseshoe shaped bluff.  I didn't really have any hope of getting a reliable signal from Channel 13 in Eau Claire since they are near the range of reliable TV reception, but in fact this little antenna brings it in loud and clear. 



As a means of doing a little bit of DVR recording when the cable DVR was gone, I bought an inexpensive RCA digital TV converter that includes DVR capabilities.  You just connect a USB disk drive to the box, and you can record any of the over-the-air television coming into it. I have to give this little box a couple of stars for trying but it's pretty flawed. I knew that reviews of this box complained about the functionality of the remote control, but yikes!!!  It's a pretty serious struggle getting the remote to actually talk to the box, so that gets fairly annoying.  I tried programming our universal remote to control it, and that was, I have to admit, a pretty good improvement but still not great. So I cannot really recommend this as a solution, though it HAS let me record quite a few shows off of the TV antenna.


By and large, I decided it's time to replace that unit - more on that in the next installment, as I tell a tale of Plex and DVR functions. I'm currently waiting for the last bit of the hardware to arrive for the next project.

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Steve Hanson

Steve is a web designer and recently retired from running the hosting and development company Cruiskeen Consulting LLC. Cruiskeen Consulting LLC is the parent company of Wis.Community, and publication of this site continues after his retirement.

Steve is a member of LION Publishers and the Local Media Consortium, is active in Health Dunn Right, and is vice-president of the League of Women Voters of the greater Chippewa Valley

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