Revisited – Down with Cable Up With DTV and Online

December 11, 2009

Funny how things can get around these days. Although the transition to DTV is over and done, with a few bumps. TV is one of the key areas for more change. And it has only begun. Another sign is today article in the New York Times headlined – Cable Freedom Is a Click Away.  Only weeks after the announcement of Comcasts bid to buy NBC, the story in Times  tells how to skip cable and make a significant financial gain. Not something to neglect these days.

Just as this blog posted over a year ago under the headline “Down with cable up with online and DTV“, cable TV is challenged by alternatives offered today. Even of you need some tech skills and patience while getting what you want to your set. But on the other hand – your new resources will offer you more time when you decide when and what to watch on your screen.

To stay tuned with your favorite shows on the set –  doesnt have to include a monthly payment to a cable giant. How bout that?

The goal is to get more for less and gain freedom from set monthly bills and cable companies that actually exclude the wealth of alternative and mainstream resources of content that are gaining in importance and quality.

This blog and the Times article has offered two ways of skipping cable – do you have any other to share?

Best / Anders


Readers Tips- VIDEO – TIVO Campaigns For Free HDTV

June 13, 2009

A reader of the DTV Brief sent a comment with tips about TIVOs New campaign about free HDTV programming. Apparently TIVO is pushing the message about OTA – Over The Air. I have written about it before (check links below) that it is possible to use TIVO as your converterbox to make a seamless migration to DTV. TIVO does the job for you. It converts the signal to analog and your TV-set continues to work as usual. However, if you have more than one set and they are not connected to the TIVO, you need converter boxes for those.

If you are using a TIVO today or thinking about getting one, make sure to get the model do convert signals to analog TV.

Check list of TIVO HDTV models here and to check if your TIVO converts the DTV signals- use the service here.

Enjoy the TIVO campaign on YouTube and find your way to cross the chasm to DTV.

Readers How-To: Cancel Cable and Get Free DTV

June 11, 2009

Here is a word from our reader “Bill”. How he proceeded to cancel cable and get free DTV in a simple and inexpensive way.

My only question is why he has three converterboxes. The only reason I can see is to enable recording of another channel then the one you are watching and if there are more then one TV-set connected to the antenna. And, you want to watch different channels on that one.

Over to Bill.


1.  My Setup

Radio Shack “starship enterprise antenna”

Insignia DTV converter box

Zenith DTV converter box

2 x Series II Tivo 80 hr

2 x Samsung 32 inch HDTVs (with the digital turner built in)

Fat wallet because I got rid of cable

The Antenna is sitting in my closet and hooked directly into where the cable source used to be in my basement.  So without explaining it all I basically have a digital over the air signal to all rooms in my house using the same old cables. The cables are old and the are being split about 10 times throughout the house.  I’m lucky and live close to a city and have a strong signal for all channels.  That is a BIG factor in having this work successfully.

I purchased the converter boxes using the two coupons provided by the government.  They were purchased at different times.  See the links and you’ll notice that the products are exactly the same.  The only difference is that one says zenith and one insignia.  Each box is identical.  Currently both are for sale at these prices: Insignia at best buy – $60  Zenith at Sears/Kmart – $50.  No sale at Sears or anything, it’s just that much. Not sure what the deal is there but they work the same so go to sears or kmart.

I recommend the zenith converter boxes because they support 4:3 or 16:9 and work very will with the tivo series 2 that I have.  Magnavox converter box did not support anything and sucked really bad.  I had to return the magnavox to kmart because it was the only one.

Anyway,  you’ll need the purple ir cable that came with the tivo in order to set the tivo up with the converter.

The series II tivo works very, very well with the converter box.  Channels are changed using the tivo remote and it works perfectly.

The tivo records in 16:9 for shows broadcast in that format.  It looks fantastic on the hdtvs even though it is a low resolution connection.  With cable I could only record in 4:3 this was a huge bonus that I didn’t think about when first setting this up.  It is almost like having a hdtivo.

Set up the converter box correctly and all shows will display and record in their correct aspect ratio and everything will look great.

I don’t have many channels but I usually watched the local channels anyway.  I record what I want and watch it when I have time.  Other stuff can be seen on the web so I don’t feel as if I’m missing out.

I recommend this setup if you are thinking about it.  Do it.  Cancel cable and get free tv.  Call them now.  Tell them you don’t need their overpriced content anymore.  Unless you have cable internet then only half cancel cable, be nice about it.

Readers reaction: Get the Right Antenna

November 16, 2008

Allways great to get readers feedback. Also, together with some tips. This from Tom in Ohio.

Thanks Tom!

Read the rest of this entry »

Down with Cable TV – Up with Online and DTV

November 16, 2008

Fot those thinking about saving money in an shrinking economy, lets check the alternatives.

Let go of your expensive cable TV subscription. Instead make a new combination for your viewing habits with online viewing and a live TV-set together with no cost per month digital-TV.

The thing is to question why in heaven you really need cable TV. It is on it´s way to become old fashioned. Also, it is fairly expensive. You are stuck with a limited selection of TV-channels, you need to set your watch to not miss out on your favorite show and it is really not very flexible. Convenient, yes, and a habit, yes, for now.

But think about it. If you unplugg your cable TV you will save at least $30 a month. Keep your internet connection for maybe $20 a month. Get a converterbox for digital TV and hook it up to your TV set and you will have acccess to local and national TV stations for news and local information. That is a one time cost of $60. (check your antenna though). In two months time you start to save money. And gain in flexibility.

Then log on to you tube,, hulu, itunes and many more outlets of on-demand TV and video.

I can recommend an apple TV or maybe an Xbox that can provide you with movies and podcasts. Did you know that most of the newschannels that you can watch on your TV set are available as podcasts? It´s great. You dont need to set your watch to view the show and you skip commercials. I think podcasts are the biggest thing since TV came to earth. Also, it is fully loaded with new formats for niché TV. I use Itunes, Ipodtouch and an Apple TV to keep up in the news flow and get inspiration. I watch podcasts more than broadcasts. It is a relieve for anyone with kids (you decide when, where and what you view).

Also, there is more on your way. Youtube will release old movies and TV-shows from MGM. More people watched Saturday Night Live with Tina Fey as Sarah Palin online than as a broadcast, writes Mike Musgrove at Washingtonpost. That is a sign if any.

Now you can start deciding about your money and your habits. Crisis and change come with possibilities.

Best /Anders

Readers Reaction: Will DTV Work When Weather Worsens?

September 9, 2008

We are aware about this hurricane season that is making conditions along the U.S coasts critical and hard to endure. Even as the DTV transition test i Wilmington, NC, was enforced, storms made it´s mark one again. It is one thing to make a switch to DTV from a broadcasters perspective. And a very much different from a consumers perspective. Many questions arise about TV and weather. Common questions is if there are any DTV reciever that works on battery or TV sets with built in DTV receiver and battery.

One reader of this blog sent in a story, about her families thughts and struggle to get DTV working in a region were the weather newscasts are central. Please feel free to comment or send advise / knowledge.Or if you have similar experiences.

“I have a concern about receiving uninterrupted critical TV
weather coverage here during severe storms and tornado
warnings once analog transmissions are discontinued.

My husband is trying out a digital converter, and we can
consistently receive only one station! We are able to receive
8-10 analog stations using the same antenna!

When dangerous weather approaches, following the path of
severe storms or the path of tornados is very reliable on
analog stations, but as soon as the weather surrounds us,

the digital station is effectively blacked-out! This is similar

to the way that satellite TV transmissions are blocked.

It is assumed that even if we are forced to buy a decibel
power-gain appliance and power-up our antenna reception,
we will still be without critical weather warning broadcasts
when they are needed the most as digital signals are
unreliable at best when blanketed by heavy weather…

Can you help me understand how rural America will be
notified of severe weather and kept safe (as possible) when
analog weather newscasts are no longer available?

I believe this is a very valid concern that should be

addressed immediately with everyone who is vulnerable to

such severe weather threats.

Thank you.

Sharon, MO, USA

Wilmington Went DTV Only

September 8, 2008

Today Wilmington,NC, did the switch to DTV only. As the slogan said: “first in flight, first in digital”.

Tomorrow will actually be the more interesting day. That is when people realize that their TV sets have gone dark, the DTV box maybe don’t work. So, my prediction is that there will be lines forming outside retailers when people need help. But on Thursday, most of this will be sorted out.

Also, watch C-spans coverage of the event. There will be a huge media effect following this first “test switch”, hundreds of articles and news pieces have already been reporting on the event. And that is the best way to inform the general audience about the upcoming change. It is a “signal” to each and everyone that the transition to DTV is and will be taking place. Also, it is a test if the weather have effect on DTV. Since a storm hit Wilmington as the transition took place as Washington Post reported.

It is showtime in Wilmington, as Washington Post blogger Kim Hart, put it.

Anders Bjers