Friday, May 15, 2009

A Guide To Avoiding HDTV Hype

I promise I will get back to the story of Freyburg later this weekend. However I wanted to pass along this consumer tip which I've been meaning to mention for a while, so indulge me if you will.

Honestly this likely won't apply to you, but it might apply to your Mom or Grandma and can save you or them some serious money.

Presumably you're aware that all TV stations already have or will change to broadcasting only in High Definition on June 12th. There is a lot of advertising from cable and satellite companies urging folks to "sign up now" because otherwise you won't be able to watch any shows.
That's true...unless you or your Mom or Grannie...only watches LOCAL TV.

If that's the case, get a coupon for 40 bucks off an HD converter from the government at this website. Then, don't subscribe to ANY service ever again! In fact if you're subscribing to basic cable now just for local TV...cancel it now! Most stations are already broadcasting in HD and the converters will pick up old fashioned TV signals in the interim anyway.

HD signals are "over the air" and they're free. If you invest in a converter box (I bought one today at Best Buy using my $40 coupon and the total cost was 16 bucks)you can get ALL the local channels plus more for FREE on that same old crappy TV you've had for years.

I tested this on an old TV I bought 25 years ago. I hooked up the converter box and used the rabbit ears on the TV.

The process took about 5 minutes.

Now? Now it receives not only all the local channels, but some "side band" channels which aren't available via our satellite service or the local cable company...and the picture is good as cable if not better.

Again, this is only for folks who don't want 200 TV channels, it's for people who only watch the local channels. At most, you might have to invest in a powered rabbit ear antenna depending on where you position your TV and you might have to occasionally adjust the rabbit ears . If you have a rooftop or outdoor antenna, that you've been too lazy to take down...good for you! You're already golden!

I was stunned at how good the picture is, and how many channels that ancient little TV now receives.

If you or someone you know watches just the local channels, you can actually save money and get a better picture by NOT subscribing to cable or satellite. It's not HD...but it is a digital signal nonetheless and I'll bet you'll be surprised. You can still hook up a DVD player or VCR...but you can cut the cable and the associated costs. Maybe you can save that money to buy an HDTV...then you can hook the rabbit ears up to it and get all the local HDTV channels for free in HD...if that's what you want.

I don't know....maybe everyone already knows this and that's why I don't hear folks mentioning this option...but in these economic times, I thought I'd take a moment to pass it along.

Of course, if you want HDTV and the latest greatest picture and the earthworm channel plus the greatest reruns of bad movies pay channels...God bless you...the economy needs you to spend money. However if you think HDTV is something you have to have, and have to pay for even if you don't think you need it or want it...well, don't buy into the hype.

People who only want a TV for the local news and weather or major network TV shows can save significant cash right now. You'll never get a cable bill again...or have to skip past the Australian Rules Log Throwing channel.

If money is tight or if you're one of the folks who doesn't really want your MTV or more TV of any advice is this: Take the "avoid the HDTV hype exit"...bypass the Australian rules cricket channel. Coast to High Def along the low tech road.

This ends today's public service announcement...we now return you to regular programming.