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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Wireless TV

My college roommate visited me a couple of years ago.  He's from the Big Apple.  He's one of those folks who prints out a yearly letter summarizing his year and tucks it in his Christmas cards.  The Christmas following his visit here, his annual missive noted "I visited Bob, my college roommate, who lives on a lake in upstate New York in the middle of nowhere."  But... I get perfect TV reception, so visitors often ask me:

"Are you on cable or satellite?"  
"Neither: I'm on wireless."  
"What?  What do you mean?  You're taking this off the Internet somehow?"  
"No, wireless?" 
 "Wait... what do you mean?"  
"I mean I have a TV antenna.  It's not an Internet feed.  It's not Spectrum cable.  It's not Verizon DSL.  It's not DIRECTV satellite.  It's not DISH satellite.  It's free digital, high definition television via wireless. Signals captured via antenna."  
Blank stare
Long pause

There's a standard coaxial cable connected to my TV, routed to my chimney, where a Winegard HD8200U Platinum VHF/UHF Antenna captures the signal.  The free signal.  No monthly subscription.  Perfect HD reception.  When I first installed the TV, I included an antenna rotator (I have the RCA VH12R), but I found it only added Vermont duplicates of the Albany channels I could get without the rotator, simply by pointing the antenna to the Helderberg Mountains where most of the Albany broadcast antennas are.  I do, however, get a nice boost using an HDTV preamplifier.  Both Winegard and Channel Master make quality antennas that can pull in the signal and survive our brutal weather.

The thing is, I get all the TV I feel I need with wireless and avoid the monthly charges. True, I can't get every Yankee game or HBO.  To quote the Rolling Stones, "You can't always get what want, but.. you get what you need."  And with HD TV you get a lot more free TV than these days than in the old analog days of yore.  Here's the lineup of channels I receive:

6.1 CBS (WRGB)
6.1 ThisTV (movies)
10.1 ABC (WTEN)
10.2 WTEN Storm Tracker (weather report)
10.3 Live Well Network (LWN)
13.1 NBC (WNYT)
13.2 MeTV Memorable Entertainment TV (Right, if you consider F Troop worthy of remembering.)
13.3 WNYT First Warning live doppler
17.1 WMHT Public TV  Highly recommended: PBS NewsHour (superb,objective journalism)
17.2 Create TV (cooking, arts & crafts, gardening, home improvement and travel)
17.3 WORLD (programs featuring people and places from around the world)
23.1 Fox (WXXA) FoxNews is biased, not objective, not recommended for grown-ups "journalism."
23.2 Capital OTB Off-Track-Betting (You'll have more luck betting on the stock market...)
45.1 CW Network 
45.2 Grit TV "Television with backbone!"  (Only in America... )
51.1 WNYA (old syndicated "stuff")
51.2 More old "stuff"

The Dish Network and DIRECTV, however, are not believers and are relentless.  I estimate (and this is not a joke) that I receive an average of one mailing per week soliciting their services.  Their computers can't figure out what the heck I'm doing up here for TV.  I received the following four mailings within the past two weeks.  Yes, about one in every four comes from DishLATINO (something about my last name).  It ain't gonna happen.  Why would I want to pay $19.99 per month to complicate my life?  Watching the North Adams SteepleCats live-and-in-person is more fun than watching a bunch of bizzillonaire Yankees on the YES Network.  And $19.99 x 12  pays for the gas plus a lot of hot dogs and beers to add to the enjoyment.  Maybe not at Yankee Stadium prices, but it does at Joe Wolfe Field prices.  "Real" baseball, the way it used to be. Pure and simple.


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