Vector 38: Cord cutting

Vector 38: Cord cutting
By Rene Ritchie on 29 Apr 2014 09:58 am EDT

Vector is Mobile Nations' cross-site, cross-platform analysis show where we talk about the hottest topics in the tech industry. On this week's episode Anthony Casella of Mobile Nations joins Rene to talk about cutting the cable and satellite cord, setting up an antenna, getting free over-the-air digital channels, using a home media center, and the pros and cons of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Aereo.

Subscribe, listen along, and then tell us — are you cutting the cord? Why or why not?

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Reader comments

Vector 38: Cord cutting


Did this 5 years ago. I cut off Rogers and put an antenna in my attic. It hurt the first month, then I got used to it. I ended up saving thousands after 5 years. I saved half, and used the other half to buy gadgets.

Here in Canada cable costs are a joke. I cancelled our cable a year ago and haven't looked back. Between the Play Station store, Netflix, and Hulu we don't miss much. Obviously if you watch a lot of sports and "reality" shows it's not a great option, but for those of us who like movies and scripted drama it's a great way to save 70 or 80 bucks a month. It's unfortunate that it's still the wild west for the most part, everyone seems to be working against each other scrambling for their own piece of the future of television. But it'll come around soon enough... the old TV business model is slowly lurching closer and closer to the grave.

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I hear you... I haven't had a TV service in something like 8-9 years.
Although I am interested in the digital antennas, just don’t have time to look into them.

Here in Arabia, we do not use cable whatsoever 90% of us use satelite telivison which is free of charge, HD and still deliver the newest things to our screens free of charge (channels are making billions, I don't know how though.). The only time you want to subscribe to premium Satelite providers are either for same date debut of american TV series or to watch those soccer (football) matches everyone in Arabia is so hung up on.

Great Podcast.

My current setup is a homemade antenna that picks up the basics (CBC, CTV, CTV2, Global, CityTv, and several others), NetFlix, UnBlockUS (for American online content). I'm also a Rogers (cell phone) customer, so I am able to log in to and gain free, live access to TSN, TSN2, and all Blue Jays games.

I'm in the process of building an HTPC to enhance the experience. Current devices (like Boxee, or phones) are getting a bit too limited in Flash versions or other issues that aren't present on a full PC setup.

Cut cable tv about 3 yrs ago... not missing it.

I use hulu+, netflix, I stream some content from network websites, and torrents for everything else...

I am interested in OTA content tho, i'll have to put in some time and see what I can get going.. hopefully Winnipeg is in range of some american content from north dakota..

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what cable...... Out in the boonies which probably makes up 95% of the land mass of Canada, no cable company dare venture. Sure Bell has their copper wires attempting to leap into the future. Myself I am fortunate to live in an area covered by both US and Canada with TV air waves, nice quality 1080p in some cases. Antenna all they way.... satellite forget it, for the garbage that is spewed out over cable and satellite, hundreds of channels of absolute S&^T.
Ahhh netflix you say, well to get the network bandwith one would need some kind of cable which isnt available.
My internet is provided over the air which does make it quite expensive so at my house it is antenna all they way....... mind you the OFF button is used most of the time at my house even though we do have four TV's.

We have a digital antenna, but as renters it's just a little indoor one that gets 3 channels in Kitchener (sometimes only 2), although 1 of those comprises a good chunk of what we want to watch anyway (CTV). We then watch our few other favourite shows online later (most of them CityTV). Once we own a house we hope to put up a big digital antenna so we can at least grab the Toronto channels, too, assuming the cable and satellite distributors are still being as ridiculous with pricing at that point.

We also have a Plex network drive for all of our movies and TV shows ripped from disc (and pictures and music but we don't really use it for that), mainly because I refuse to buy movies in different video stores that I can't use on all my devices unless they are really cheap. I could buy on Xbox Video to watch on desktop, laptop, and Xbox One, but neither BlackBerry phones or tablets. Or much worse, I could buy on BlackBerry and only watch on that one device, not even on my wife's and not even able to DLNA play to the TV (via Xbox One).

And of course we have Netflix. Yes, Canadian content is not that great, but it's still easily worth $8 a month in our books. It's only the equivalent of two movie rentals and we easily surpass watching two movies a month on Netflix.

The only thing we really miss is NBA. We tried League Pass last year but it blacks out anything available on Canadian cable, which includes every Raptors game and every Playoffs game. We could do the VPN or similar route and buy the Global package without those blackouts, and maybe we will for next season, but those costs start to pile up along with the complexity of keeping it all running so I've been hesitant to go there so far.

You are pretty lucky to be in Kitchener if you are an OTA aficionado. With the right gain antenna, you can get both US and Canadian Broadcasts. You may be able to get them all with one antenna if you point it between Toronto and Buffalo. Perhaps around 19 channels not including sub channels. You'd get more if you either get a rotor for a roof mounted antenna or multiple antenna's attached to their own tuners.

Rene, you're a radical anarchist at heart, aren't you?
I'd love to say that I'm so inspired by this broadcast that I'll be cutting the cord real soon. Unfortunately, for me this would be impossible, as I've never had this metaphorical cord impinging on my lifestyle as it is. I've always found the cable/satellite channel packaging schemes to be abhorrent and, quite frankly, an insult to my intelligence. I have also explained my objections to the various service providers on countless occasions, but needless to say my sentiments fell on deaf ears.

Your broadcast was very welcomed in that it reminded me that there are a good many like minded individuals out there amongst the herd and it has pointed me in the direction of some excellent resources that I'm sure to make use of (and already have). For all this I would like to thank you.

Would be really nice if this was formatted for mobile viewing and I didn't have to use a magnifying glass (because crackberry app is not zoomable) to read the very minuscule print.

Posted via CB10 on my Q10

I cut the cord a few years back and haven't looked back! I installed a massive antenna in my attic and get a ton of HD local channels all for free. I have a HTPC hooked up to the TV with xbmc and streaming apps. I save about $1200 a year. Come football time, I just stream sunday ticket through a buddies account on my HTPC.

Could you find a smaller font to use in your articles? I can almost read this one and why am I wasting my time trying to see something that requires a magnifying glass?

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How about follow us in BBM? Fff...orget Twitter! Let's get BBM the next great social media platform!

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Tivo, Tivo, Tivo. If you are serious about cutting cable look at tivo. We cut cable about a year ago and set up two new OTA tivo units with lifetime subscriptions. Cost us about $1000 but paid for itself in one year with no cable. All the feeling and features of Cable with no cost after initial purchase. Time shifting is a must to watch quality content. Tivo also has a very cool iPad app, streaming, control and guides. I have a 10 year old that was addicted to cartoon network, etc. It has not been difficult for him to transition. We also subscribe to netflix. We now donate to PBS and don't feel bad about dropping $50 on a night out to the movies.

Since our set up we have helped convert 3 neighborhood friends, they could not be happier. Most are moved by the better quality image OTA offers over their cable provider.

Here in Phoenix we get 80 channels most HD by pointing antenna at one mountain.

This my favorite type of cord cutting story! Not only did you cut the cord, but convinced others. Great job.

Thanks, I which I could help more people. Seems like everyone that sees over the air signal is sold. No one know's it exists. Kind of like Blackberry 10! and tivo! but once someone explains it to them they see the value. Cable and Cell companies truly take advantage of the blind.

One funny comment, I set up an antenna for a neighbor. After we set it up and tested the signal, first he could not believe the quality of his TV set, it's like he just got a new tv, second the first thing we saw was a COX commercial, we both just laughed.

Not a TV addict, a small digital USB dongle plus roof antenna does it. There is so much better stuff on the 'net.

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

I cut my cord a few years ago. I use free websites to stream TV shows and news and VIPBox for sports. The quality may not be the best but I'll take it over a cable bill anyway. Also, my apt. complex won't allow mounting satellite dishes or antennas outside. I might be able to get some digital TV stations with an antenna but the closest channels are 40+ miles away and I don't think I'd get much with an antenna inside my apt.

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