CUTTING THE CORD

winegard antennaAccording to Forbes Magazine, a fifth of American TV watchers are “definitely” or “probably” going to drop cable TV this year. That’s around 20 million people. Are they right? Should you join them?

Using Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime, you can get everything but the latest movies, and cut your home entertainment bill by 80 percent or more. (It seems likely that cable companies will respond by merging.) If you like older movies, you’ll find a lot of them for free on YouTube. We recently watched “The Egyptian,” a lavish production with big-name stars.

That all comes in over the Internet. To bring in some free broadcast channels you just need to add an antenna to your TV set. Aye, there’s the rub. Roof antennas work pretty well, but if you live in an apartment, that’s just not practical.

The best, and lightest antenna we’ve tried so far is the “FlatWave Indoor HDTV Antenna” from Winegard ($34 at Amazon). It weighs only a third of an ounce and is a little bigger than a sheet of letter  paper. It’s so thin, (2/100 of an inch), we thought at first it was a piece of the packaging. But its rubbery feel saved it from the trash can.  Plug it in, hang it on the wall or place it near a window, and scan for channels. We just tossed it behind the TV, and got 18 channels right away. Most came in crystal clear, like high definition TV. A few had pictures that broke up into little pieces, but we’ve had that happen on some cable channels as well.

These channels do not come in from a cable service. If you Google “over the air broadcast schedule,” these are channels usually listed with a decimal point, like “5.1,” for example, instead of channel five. Many of them show movies, often some pretty good movies.

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