• WEATHER ALERT Winter Weather Advisory

Ways to watch TV for free

May 11, 2010 8:36:50 PM PDT
The average cable or satellite bill in the United States is just more than $70 a month. If you add in a couple premium channels and a DVR, it is easy to surpass $100.

If you are willing to think outside the box, cable and satellite box, you can watch TV without paying a dime. There are no cables, no satellite dishes and no monthly bills. It is a mixture of old school and high tech.

Plato Wang has just moved into his new Palo Alto home and he and his wife have decided to skip cable and satellite.

"We looked at it. It was something like over 10 years something like $6,000. Money we would rather spend somewhere else," he said.

Plato is a high tech guy and will eventually stream movies, but so far he is wowed by the service.

"I was shocked. I was used to analog world where there was something like 20 channels but with digital and all the offerings there is something like 70 channels that was quite a surprise to me," he said.

He is not alone. Dick Baughman is a TV antenna installer. He is seeing a boom in work from consumers who are opting for TV without the monthly bill.

"Since the digital signal came out, I have had only one person asked me to take it down because there weren't enough programming for what he wanted and that's out of several hundred people," he said.

And it isn't just over the air, but online viewing that is getting a thumbs up.

The electronics review site retrevo.com just conducted a study on TV viewing patterns.

"We found an overwhelming majority of people under 25 were very keen on online TV. In fact, one in three said they viewed almost all of their TV online," Manish Rathi from Retrevo.com said.

The website clicker.com is like the TV guide of this new era. It tells you where you can watch TV shows, not on TV.

Jeniffer Jacobson from Retrevo says online TV is catching on with viewers because satellite and cable are expensive.

"Especially in this economy, they want to know where they should be spending their money and with so much content available online, people are saying that is something they are willing to try at least," she said.

CNET's Brian Cooley says the problem isn't the cost of the service per se, but the market baskets consumers are forced to buy.

"People have had it with the bundling and the packages because the internet and interactive technologies are very specific you pick what you want, when you want it, where you want it," he said.

Plato's over the air TV comes with what was once a cable and satellite only feature -- a program guide. But this one is free.

Now this won't work everywhere in the Bay Area. Hills blocks TV signals and some of the channels are broadcast from low power stations that only serve a small area. Still with hundreds of dollars on the line, it might be worth checking into.

Dick's Antennas -- 408-268-6814

Load Comments