Cost: $60 one-time investment
Success rating: 4/5
Cable would cost me around $50 a month. If I put that money towards my mortgage, I could pay it off 1.8 years faster. Just ask this mortgage calculator.
I still like the idea of TV, but cable costs too much, and satellite is excessive. At first the idea of choosing between five networks playing the same show is exciting (“I wonder what Halifax’s commercials are like!”), but the novelty wears off.
I didn’t realize this, and I think a lot of people don’t – it’s still totally possible to get the local channels for free. I went to the store to get an amplified antenna. It cost me around $60 including taxes, but I’ve already saved more than that by not paying for TV services.
Setting it up was a bit finicky. A lot of things affect the reception, like placement of the antenna, and how much stuff is between it and the broadcast tower. I found my reception was twice as good once I set it upright like it showed on the box. I don’t know how it took me a month to figure that one out. Now I get most of the channels most of the time. That includes CBC, CTV, CityTV, Global, CTVtwo, Omni, a station that plays old shows, a music video station, a couple shopping stations, and some stuff in other languages.
To me, this is a great alternative to paying for TV. The biggest downside is the finicky reception.
I watch most of my favourites shows online – which you can do quite legally through streaming network sites, like watch.ctv.ca, or cbc.ca/video in Canada. If you want to do things less legally, I can’t give any site names for the purpouse of this project. Free TV is however available online.
There are other alternatives. Some friends hook their computers up to their TVs and watch shows that way.