FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – As Americans look for ways to save money in a tough economy, cutting the cost of cable or satellite TV can often figure into the equation.
Cutting cable or satellite could be a difficult decision for most Americans because of how much TV Americans consume. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011, Americans spent nearly three hours per day watching TV. According to the same study, it was also the “leisure activity that occupied the most time.”
But if the pocketbook is feeling light, cutting cable or satellite can save, in most cases, $40 - $100 each month. Meghan Dohring is one Fort Wayne resident who has dropped her cable and is saving $80 - $90 per month.
The Dohrings invested in a $70 digital antenna. The upfront cost might appear steep, but that investment is the last cost associated with their television viewing. The flipside of dropping cable or satellite is, of course, the relinquishing of hundreds of channels. The Dohrings now enjoy all of Fort Wayne’s local programming and their sub-channels and now have a little more than a dozen.
"There are times that I miss it and we do have to go somewhere else maybe to watch a game—mostly to watch a game—or some other show that maybe we want to see, but really it's not too bad," Dohring says.
Dohring, a teacher, says transitioning into her job brought new costs for her family. Based on their necessities, the Dohrings decided to cut the cable.
"Times are tough. The money's tight. We had to purchase new things when I got a new job and so it really just didn't fit in the budget with all the expenses that we have now," she says.
Dohring says she was able to put her savings, nearly $2,000 over two years, to other more pertinent costs for her family.
Eric Stockman, manager of Innovative Concepts in Decatur, sells digital antennas in his store and says he has seen many customers come to him for cost saving tips.
"There is no monthly fees as in cable or satellite; completely free once you make that investment to have that antenna. In the more rural areas, you will need an antenna like in your attic or outside. The more local areas, in the Fort Wayne area, I'm sure you get off with a set-top antenna."
Stockman says antenna range in important. The wider the range, 45 miles for example, the more likely the customer is to pick up more off-air channels. He says an amplifier can increase that width by as many as 15 miles. In more rural areas, initial setups with maintenance can range from $100 - $400 depending on the quality of antenna. Some digital antennas can get up to 35 channels.
In addition to utilizing the digital antenna, consumers can also use services like Netflix, which allow for online movie and television show streaming to computers and game consoles. There are also online content providers like Hulu.com that offer network television series. Stockman says online content is both the present and the future.
"I can see the day when we'll have DirecTV, we'll have Dish Network and we'll have three or four online providers. That's where the market's going," Stockman says.
The Dohrings are Netflix users. They say the service goes a long way in occupying some of the TV viewing time lost after the switch.
"Netflix is a big help because you have a lot of TV shows that you can watch on there that you couldn't maybe watch otherwise. I think we pay 20 bucks a month for that," Dohring says.
Stockman says smart TVs are also revolutionizing online content and video streaming with their built-in applications. He says those can also help to save money down the line.
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