alternatives to cable/sat tv

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by glocke12, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. glocke12 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2008
    With economy the way it is, and a suspicion that I may be getting laid off this spring, I need to start cutting luxury expenses, and my dishnetwork service is the first to go.

    There are really only a handful of shows I watch, and most of those are available on the network websites.

    My question is, what methods do other people without cable/sat use to get things to watch?
  2. Kronie macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2008
    If your still in a contract direcvt will get you with a penalty for canceling. If you are you can suspend the account up to nine months so its still open but you dont get a bill or channels.

    In the olden days, people just put an antenna on there TV.
  3. glocke12 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2008
    its dishnetwork, and Im out of contract, it is just month to month
  4. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Read books?

    Internet is my alternative. I rarely watch TV.
  5. fireshot91 macrumors 601


    Jul 31, 2008
    Northern VA
    Woah! Coincidence much?

    My mom just asked me to find some other company that's cheaper than Dish Network like 10 minutes ago.
  6. steve2112 macrumors 68040


    Feb 20, 2009
    East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
    I cut mine off completely when I moved about 8 months ago. I kept intending to turn it on at the new place, and just kept putting it off. Then I noticed I was watching a lot of my TV online. Between sites like,, and the various network sites, it is pretty easy to watch online. I also watch Leo Laporte's streams at If you live in a bigger city, and have an HD TV, you can actually get some of the best HD streams over the air. Just get an indoor antenna, and you can get the broadcast channels, and all the extra digital channels a lot of stations have been adding.

    Honestly, after the first couple of months, I didn't really miss it. The biggest gripe I had was during football season, but to paraphrase the Beatles: I got by with a little help from my friends.
  7. jknight8907 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 14, 2004
    Hudson Valley NY
    When I lived in the states I watched streaming content from Hulu and Netflix, and rented movies from Netflix. Neither of those (or anything else) works here in Mexico, but as an added bonus you won't get sued for downloading down here either. So, I download what I want to watch, and play it via my computer on my 32" plasma.
  8. millerj123 macrumors 65816

    Mar 6, 2008
    I've heard of folks who just use broadcast TV, but I think that's a cruel rumor. ;)

    To some extent, it depends what market you are in. Some places have enough local TV to get by. Where I'm at, we bundled cable, internet and phone all in one. That comes out to about ~$130 per month, which was a decent savings over DSL+phone+Directv which was almost $180 per month.
  9. br0nc080 macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2007
    for the most part I find myself only watching basic channels (outside of when sports are broadcast on espn), so just a HD antenna would be sufficient (along with hulu)

    depends on what kind of content you normally would watch i suppose
  10. yojitani macrumors 68000


    Apr 28, 2005
    An octopus's garden
    Funny, I was just wondering if there was a way to get out of my Directv contract. It's a bit pricey and crap. I don't watch TV personally. But the wife and kids love the programs on Bravo, Nat Geographic, Discovery,etc.

    Hulu is a good option as is Fox for some shows. Also, there are some less-than-legal ways of watching live TV. I wouldn't recommend it though.
  11. LeahM macrumors 6502a


    Mar 18, 2008
    Cheap alternative: the internet. Unless you get free to air but depending on where you live, it could be illegal. So you may want to look into that.
  12. mikeyredk macrumors 65816

    Mar 13, 2003
    Some might not like what I so highlight ->What you can do is just get cable internet and you get the basic channels for free
  13. silbeej macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2007
  14. duncanapple macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2008
    I use an antenna, and I actually do this by choice. I had dish network and never watched much other than prime time TV on the basic network channels. So I dropped that $50 a month bill (which is on the low end I know) and my TV is 100% free.

    As a bonus - while granted you just get the "basics" - over the air high def is the best quality HD you can get. Its never compressed so you get full bandwidth vs cable/sat which is encoded/compressed and uncompressed at least once. My parents have directv HD on a hitachi plasma, my brother has the cable company HD on a mitsubishi DLP Diamond series, my in laws have a panasonic viera (brand new, ..85U) on cable HD, and I have OTA on a hitachi plasma. Guess what? My TV wins picture quality wise hands down, and they all agree.

    You can even get TiVo (actual TiVo brand TiVo mind you, the best interface imo) just like you could for cable/sat.

    One other thing, digital signals these days dont really give you that "snow" and "noise" that analog did. B/c its digital, its either on or off, you get a crystal clear picture or you get a black screen. With the right antenna, you will get the former.

    To get started, check out (are you in the US? I didnt look)
    Its a free government website that lets you put in your address, and it plots out where each stations towers are and how far away they are. It will even tell you what type of antenna to buy based on a standardized color coding. Antennas range in price from $10 to maybe $100? I paid $80 from amazon for a nice looking (antennas aren't all those ugly wire rod things of yester-year) one that mounted to the existing sat bracket.

    Lastly, to the person who said over the air was illegal? At least in the US, its illegal for the broadcasters NOT to put out a free broadcast signal... its one of many ways emergency broadcast messages are transmitted, and not everyone can afford cable/sat (not that thats why i go this route, see above, but the option needs to be there).

    Lastly, no I dont sell broadcast towers or anything lol. I just love telling people about OTA, as most have no idea its out there, or how good it is. Cable/Sat = Huge Marketing budgets.... OTA = prob don't care who uses it :)

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