CUTTING THE CORD: SAVING THE SHOWS AND THE BUDGET

Channel MasterA reader wrote to say he stopped his cable TV service and is now bringing $90 “back to the bottom line” each month. He bought the Winegard Flat Wave Antenna we wrote about to bring in free channels. But then there was another problem.

The $30 antenna weighs only a third of an ounce and connected easily to his TV. It brings in 16 channels in high definition. But the problem he needed to solve was adding a DVR (digital video recorder) to record some of the programs for later viewing.

He did some research on his own and ordered the “Channel Master DVR+,” ($300 on Amazon).  The Channel Master is getting good reviews and our reader is pleased with it so far. It plugs directly into the TV and is easy to set up. It lets you record only two hours of programs, but it’s easy to plug in an external hard drive to get more recordings. You get ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, and many others. The best part is there are no channel subscription fees.

Cutting the cord to your cable provider is becoming a hot trend these days. A savings of $90 a month adds up to $1,080 a year. In ten years – and most people who have cable remain connected for more than ten years – that’s an extra $11,000 in your pocket. We think this is an unstoppable trend. Nielsen’s TV rating service, for instance, found that 96 of the top 100 most viewed programs are available over-the-air for free if you simply connect your set to an HDTV antenna.

There are other DVRs out there with even more features, such as Roamio by TiVo, or “Tablo” from TabloTV.com, but they’re around $200 for the box and  $5 to $15 a month for the service. In June, a new DVR called “Channels” from GoMohu.com is coming out. It raised five times more money than it needed in a Kickstarter funding campaign. “Channels” is a TV tuner that will display a screen full of your favorite channels, whether they’re web sites or actual TV.

4 Responses to “CUTTING THE CORD: SAVING THE SHOWS AND THE BUDGET”

  1. I clicked on your link to GoMohu but couldn’t find the new channels dvr at that site. I’m an 81 year old Korean war Navy Veteran trying to cut expenses can you help?

    Bob

  2. You’re right. It isn’t out yet. We’ll report back when it is. Sorry about that.

    I think I’d go with an antenna and the ChannelMaster, but first try the antenna by itself and see if you care about recording shows. Over the air offers a lot fewer channels but if you like PBS, a few basic channels, and old TV shows, it’s great.

    The great thing about buying an antenna on Amazon.com is you could try it out and return it within 30 days if you don’t like it. You could just unplug from your cable box and try the antenna for a week or so to see if it’s enough for you.

  3. I have been using the Mediasonic HW-150PVR HomeWorx tuner with a mohu leaf antenna & usb hard disk (or thumb drive) for quite some time & couldn’t be happier. The HW-150 will play back existing videos (copied from your computer or other source), has an electronic program guide & will record scheduled (or manual) OTA TV shows. The box runs just shy of $40 on Amazon. The kids love that I have all of their favorite shows on a menu for them to watch on demand.

  4. Thanks for letting us know. Sounds great.