For the past several years, I was lucky enough to have an employer provided TV discount that was incredibly generous for broadcasts services for less than $4o a month. This included premiums like HBO and NFL games.
That changed when I was laid off in September of 2020. The services jumped to more than $150 a month with no premium channels. That would mean the yearly expense would jump to $1800 a year. I’m also aware that my experience is not unique.
And with Covid lockdowns creating a questionable work future, saving on monthly expenses is important.
I’ve been ‘cord cutter curious’ for at least ten years. I treated it like a useful little hobby. Especially when my TV service went through periods of being unreliable. I’ve made my own fractal antennas. I’ve installed inexpensive, but very effective TV antennas in my attic. I’ve played around with various ROKU models over the years and some of the free services they provide. I bought a very inexpensive OTA DVR that I’ve dusted off and started to use again. I’ve cobbled together OTA tuners with vga monitors and speakers as makeshift TV’s.
Now I need to examine this hobby more in depth. I need to replace the TV service with far less expensive options. Some specific goals to consider.
1- I want to have TV services available on each of our current TV’s for free or as near to free as possible.
2- It has to be useable by the untrained. If it’s not straightforward for my wife or the teen child in our house, it’s not worthwhile.
3- DVR functionality. I want to be able to record or replay episodes on demand. The wife and child are ‘General Hospital’ fans.
4- DVR functionality. Preferably, I want the replay to be available on multiple TV’s, like through wifi replay direct to a ROKU or TV.
5- Access to NFL games if possible. The child is a Seahawks fan and we live in Florida. This would be a good nice to have, not a must.
A summary of where I already am with things: I have older ROKU’s, old DVD smart players, a few chromecasts, a variety of smart TV’s and dumb TV’s, a mish mash of pre-existing coax running through the house, coax tools for attaching ferrules allowing me to make custom lengths of coax, a little electrical and cabling experience, two already installed attic tv antennas, and a few different Raspberry Pi’s that may help play into the picture.
Services I already have: Netflix, Amazon Prime and occasionally shared access with other services with family members.
So, this is the start of my “Cord Cutter Curious” Series. Stay tuned.