[Tig] Post cable bliss

Dave Pickett pickettscharge at hotmail.com
Fri Nov 23 21:27:59 GMT 2012

For the first time since college circa '92 I view my television via antenna and it's shockingly good.  I just moved into a new home in Atlanta and decided to give Comcast the heave ho.  I have 60" Panasonic plasmas in our living room and bedroom and feed my coaxial DA from an RCA antenna I purchased for $40.  It can be installed outside or in the attic and in my case, the basement has worked just as well.  

I have told my wife that I am still shocked a month after we switched at just how much better digital broadcast, at least in my area of Atlanta, looks than any cable or streaming service.  Gone are the ubiquitous compressed pixel blocks absolutely wrecking the signal.  That stuff was ludicrous and made me dismay at what was being done to our craft to get it into living rooms.  Granted my wife can't tell the difference (same old story) but it's nice to know that digital broadcast offers anyone in reach a nice picture just by turning their set on.

The audio quality is still unknown.  The speakers on board the bigger plasmas are clearly window dressing in anticipation of wiring into some sort of theater speaker set up.  I havent gotten that far in the new house and have two babies anyway so not much tolerance for sub woofers.  

I had been thinking for sometime that TV as I knew it was toast.  How long would viewers choose to pay for an over compressed bundle of channels when they could pay a la carte from any number of services.  But seeing this makes me wonder if TV might just return to its humble roots of broadcast for the betterment of viewing.  If enough viewers get this quality of signal for $0 a month I would think they would be happy to stop paying Comcast, Time Warner et al.  Comcast tried to lure me back with "more channels than you get now for only $60 a month" which is clearly a company out of touch with value.  And don't forget the lease fees for our HD receiver and DVR.  And don't mind the artifacts, your wife doesn't see them.  Yes you miss out on HBO and other premium channels but there are other ways to get that in a non-linear fashion.

We opted for Roku for streaming to augment a Netflix subscription.  So my monthly bill to Comcast is $25 for coaxial broadband internet (old bill was north of $200).  The Netflix is $8 a month and I think the Roku was a one time $99 with options for more subscriptions.  Alas the video quality from Roku via HDMI gets a D.  But you would think it a B next to cable.  Its only when an antenna delivers an uncompressed signal that the streamers and cable companies look like what they are, amateur compressionists with a key to the gate of content.  

Who knew?  


Dave Pickett
Freelance Colorist


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