Mt. Vernon Register-News

January 8, 2014

Still going cord free

By DAN VOYLES
The Register-News

---- — It has been about nine months since our family cut the cable cord and we have adjusted very well to living without the cost (and convenience) of having cable television. We have a digital antenna that allows us to pick up all major St. Louis channels and the rest of our entertainment is available online.

We recently purchased a ClearStream 4 antenna made by Antennas Direct. This company is based out of Missouri, and I made our purchase using Amazon although you can buy directly from them or other dealers. This antenna picks up all major STL signals and their sub-channels without any digitizing or break up. This handles being able to watch some sports and live events for our family. Be sure to mount high and point toward the tower you want to pick up. Help is at antennaweb.org .

To watch shows not on regular broadcast television we use online services. Most people are aware of Netflix, Hulu Plus, and HBOGo, however there are other apps I have recently discovered to use for an entertainment itch.

On my tablet I have apps for Discovery Channel, Epix, History, Showtime, TBS, TNT, and TV.com. Each of these applications offer varying levels of their shows for you to watch. Some have everything and others only allow recent shows. You need to keep in mind that most of these require you to authenticate with your cable or satellite provider. If you have cut the cord then getting that information might be kind of difficult. Thankfully we are able to authenticate with all of these channels and can watch virtually anything we want.

Finally, there are still some shows that are on channels without apps. For those few programs (The Walking Dead, Mad Men) we buy a season pass on Amazon Prime and watch the show a day after everyone else. At first we were like drug addicts and the waiting was extremely frustrating. Now there will be shows that build up for a week or so that we forget to watch.

Since we don’t have a cable subscription our time has gotten a lot more open. The DVR set us free from commercials, and cutting the cord has set us free from fretting over watching the latest episode as soon as it is available.

If you have questions or comments please email me using askageek@register-news.com or tweet me using @DanVoyles on Twitter.