Attention Cord Cutters

Tired of paying high prices for cable or satellite TV? We can help, but there are some things to be aware of. The Phoenix metro area has quite a few broadcast stations available. Your distance from South Mountain, and the type of antenna you have will determine how many stations you can receive. There are 99 channels available in our market according to With the small, flat, indoor antennas, you can expect to receive 60-70 channels. The lowest channels, 3 and 5, are the most difficult. I have had success on these with standard rabbit ears. Yes, those ancient antennas still work, as do the roof antennas, if you still have one.

But wait, this is the digital age, why am I discussing broadcast stations? Your standard boxes like Roku, do not work for live TV. If you want live local news, you’ll need an antenna ore a paid streaming service. However, that paid streaming service may not work on a smart TV or Roku. Boxes like the Roku are very inexpensive, but limited to the choices installed. There are quite a few, thousands if you sign up at the Roku Store. I must admit, I do not have, nor have I ever used a Roku. Getting my facts straight as I write this, the new Roku lineup is quite impressive! But it still will not play everything on the Internet. For that you need a computer. Streaming media does not require a powerful processor. If you have an old XP desktop in the closet, chances are it would make an excellent Media-PC. It will likely need a better graphics card with an HDMI out, and a remote control. No, you do not want to keep Windows XP on it. Linux Mint or Lubuntu would be the way to go. Linux is fast, very secure, and FREE! I have another Blog post detailing the many benefits of Linux. Resurrecting that old box with a few new parts and new OS can be an inexpensive way to get everything the Internet has to offer. And no, you do not want to navigate a clunky desktop interface from across the room. For this you will want Kodi. Don’t worry. Kodi is free too. Even my fiance, who knows little about computers, can navigate it. Every weekend she goes to the video add-ons section, selects Food Network or Cooking channel, finds her favorite shows, selects episodes, and streams exactly what she wants to watch… for free. I should point out that we have not cut the cord ourselves. We still pay for DirecTV. The Media-PC just enhances it. I have hundreds of DVD’s and Blu-rays ripped to a hard drive, and I pay for Netflix. I also pay for Amazon Prime for my business, and that comes with Prime Video, a streaming service similar to Netflix. Again, for us it’s all about choices. We can watch what we want, when we want. Want to binge watch Breaking Bad, or Orange is the New Black? No problem. You can play every episode, in order, commercial free.

Let’s jump back to the beginning of this post for a moment, antennas. Another reason you’ll want one is as a backup. Let’s say you’re watching a show on satellite or cable, and a major monsoon storm hits. As the heaviest part of the storm slams your location, forget satellite TV. Blowing dust and heavy rain will temporarily disrupt your service, just as you may want to watch local weather for updates. If the wind takes down a power pole, or two, or twenty, cable could be out for days! This would likely kill your Internet connection too, making a Roku useless. You will also find that there are many more subchannels available on an antenna that cable or satellite does not carry.

But wait, this is about cord cutting. Why would we still have cable TV? One word, bundle. If you cancel your video service, and move your phone to VoIP, you lose the bundle discount on your Internet service. You may find it cheaper to keep basic cable along with your Internet, than Internet alone.

Of course, Irwin Electronics can help you with all of this. We’re here to help you save money. Cable or satellite is easy, and provides a plethora of programming. But it’s expensive, and does not always provide exactly what you want to watch at an instant. We can help fill that gap. Give us a call at (480) 382-4761 and we’ll come to your home, discuss your options, and set everything up. If you’re thinking of buying a big screen TV on a Black Friday deal, we have a guy that specializes in mounting it, and connecting all your Home Theater equipment. Perhaps you would be happy with just Netflix and Hulu built in to your smart TV. We can help connect it to your Internet for you.