OTA TV FTW! A Cord Cutting Guide – Part 2 – Getting Started


After going back and forth between my various OTA TV options, there was really only one choice that made sense. That’s right, I settled on a damn Tivo, but don’t stop reading just yet, trust me, I have good reason.

If you happened to check out part 1 of OTA TV FTW, you might have noticed this particular tidbit “How tech savvy are the people that live in your home & how willing are they to adapt to a new system?” Ultimately, this particular question dictated what I was going to do.

I am married with a two-year-old daughter. Neither of them could give two shits about how I set up our OTA TV system. They just need it to work, and, my wife especially requires that the system is easy to use. Would I have made the same decision if I were back in my good old bachelor days? Probably not. I have two highly capable desktop PCs that would excel given the task of being a dedicated PVR/OTA TV hub.

So, ultimately, I decided upon a cost effective (compared to the cost of cable TV) Tivo solution. Why Tivo, I could have easily gone any direction? Why Tivo when my setup is ripe for a DIY PVR solution? It all comes down to ease of use. Tivo is easy. It’s easy(ish) to set up and very easy to use (requirement). The only big downside, which I will get into later, is a monthly fee to use Tivo services and slightly less control (less personalised).

Cancelling Cable

At this point you are committed, you are going for it. First things first, if you are currently under contract from your cable provider, find out how much it’s going to be to break your contract. If the upfront costs are significant, you may want to wait a few months before your ETF’s (Early Termination Fee) go down a bit. Most cable providers ETF’s decrease a bit each month. But you need to check with your cable provider to make sure if it’s affordable to you.

I was under contract with DirecTV, my ETF was $120 (basically a normal monthly bill), even with all of the equipment costs involved in our setup (more on that later) I figured it would only take about 3-4 months of not having a cable TV bill to recoup my entire OTA TV setup budget, including ETF’s.

If you also have DirecTV and are still worried about making the transition from cable to OTA (don’t be), DirecTV will allow you to put your account on hold for 6 months without requiring a payment. Your service is temporarily cancelled, but you can still access the stored content on your DVR. This allows you, plenty of time to watch all that shit on your DVR while also allowing you time to save up some cash to pay off your ETF. So you might as well do it.

Gathering Materials

Going with a full OTA setup is not without some startup costs. Most of these costs will be recouped within a few months of not having a cable bill, but it greatly depends upon your needs.

Here is a basic list of what you will need (does not include cables, wires, tools, and other miscellaneous items, these will vary greatly by setup and location)

We will dive much deeper into each of the components listed above in future posts, including installation, and setup for each. Check back soon for part three of our four-part OTA TV series. We will be covering how to pick out, install, and position our TV antenna.

  • prstorero

    Looking forward to the next part!

    • ETR

      Thank you, I’ll get it up as soon as I can!