Today I’m going to write about cutting your monthly costs by replacing your cable TV subscription with Netflix and free broadcast TV. Why pay the cable company when you can turn your TV into a “Smart TV” with free local channels? You do this by connecting your TV to the Internet using an adapter made by Google, and replace the cable connection with a digital antenna to receive local broadcasts.
It’s actually inexpensive to turn your regular TV a “Smart TV”. Google sells a device called Chromecast for $35.00. Once plugged in to your TV’s HDMI port, you can stream movies, music and just about any content on the Internet. You can use your Android or Apple phone or tablet to choose movies, browse shows, listen to music, watch Youtube and more. There are hundreds of apps available on the Play Store and the App Store that are Chromecast compatible.
After June 2009 when TV broadcasters switched to digital signals from analog, most analog antennas found their way to the trash bin, or recycler. As people replaced their TVs with digital ones, most opted for cable since it was still relatively inexpensive, and they weren’t also paying for several data plans.
But, today each family likely pays for Internet, cable, more than one wireless phone and data plan, and quite a few still keep their land-lines well. Adding each of these monthly expenses and then multiplying them by twelve to see their total yearly cost can be eye opening. So, it makes sense to see if you can watch movies over the Internet instead of cable.
The most difficult part here is probably not going to be getting Chromecast to work, unless if you have an Internet service that requires two logins, which I covered in my Tech Blog. Most likely you’ll find that getting your local channels will be a more challenging. You’ll need to either get an indoor antenna that supports digital channels, or a roof mounted outdoor antenna in certain locations where the signals can be weak. In any event you’ll simply replace the cable connection with the digital antenna.
I previously tried an indoor digital antenna with a built in amplifier, but found that some channels were not coming in at all. So I purchased an antenna online and installed it on the roof. Connecting it to our TV was easy because I was able to unplug the cable company’s connection outside the house and plug in the outdoor antenna in its place. This way our TV simply stayed plugged into our cable wall outlet. Depending on your setup, you may not have such a simple installation.
Which is why you’ll like installing your Chromecast. The installation is as east as 1-2-3. You plug Chromecast into the wall or a USB outlet for power, plug it into the TV’s HDMI port, and wait for the WiFi connection to connect.
I hope that this post helps you reduce your monthly costs, while not feeling like you’re cutting the cord completely. In fact you might discover a whole new world of entertainment with your new “Smart TV”.