TV Over the Air For Free

Several months ago, I cancelled my cable TV subscription and opted for Internet only. I haven’t really missed it at all. I’m a Netflix subscriber and watch many movies and TV shows through their Instant Watch streaming service. I can stream Netflix online directly to my TV via an attached Blu-ray player that is Internet-enabled.

The downside to not having cable is missing out on the news, sports, or live television. I was going to regret not being able to watch the Panthers football games this year, for example. So I went to Walmart (of all places) and bought a $25 Philips Indoor HD antenna. I’d give it a try to see if I could pick up any local channels over the airwaves.

The results were staggering. My TV scanned and identified 17 channels that are being broadcast over the air for free. I was stunned at the sheer number of channels. I now get ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CW, Retro, LiveWell, and several others.

The best part is that the picture is in high definition and crystal clear. Long gone are the days of images of static and snow using rabbit ears and aluminum foil. With the switch to digital, as long as you can receive the signal, you get full resolution. I’ve even watched during thunderstorms and didn’t see any degradation in the picture quality.

I have no desire to pay for cable or satellite again. I can get everything I want over the air for free. I admit that I do love the original series on HBO and Showtime, but I rent them from Netflix. I am very satisfied without having to pay a bloated cable bill each month.

It’s worth mentioning that you cannot easily record the TV shows that are coming through the antenna, but I don’t miss that anyway. When I had a DVR, shows were constantly piling up, and the whole experience of trying to catch up began to feel like a part-time job. If recording isn’t important to you, I’d throw down twenty bucks on an antenna and see how many channels you can get in your area. You might be surprised.

Philips Indoor HD Antenna

I Dislike Hospital Shows on TV

I have to say that I have never cared for television shows that are centered around the setting of a hospital. I admit that at times these shows can be very moving, however, I generally find them to be depressing.

There have been countless hospital dramas on TV over the years. Think: St. Elsewhere, ER, House, General Hospital, Scrubs, Chicago Hope, Grey’s Anatomy, and others. Scrubs, with its particular brand of humor, is the only such show that I have been able to tolerate over the years.

I simply find that having a television signal beamed into your home that portrays someone in a hospital bed, muttering their final words, to be depressing to say the least. Let’s face it, nobody likes being at the hospital, whether you are a patient, or a visitor. A hospital is a place with a distinctly negative vibe.

The notion of willingly piping such emotional drama into your home seems ridiculous to me. I personally don’t care to watch the unfolding drama of a sick person in a bed. I don’t want to see it. It’s a downer. I’m not willing to subscribe to shows that are downers by default, period!

Palladia HD Channel

After buying a new HD-TV over the weekend, I’ve been going about the task of adding new favorite HD channels to my DVR. In the process, I stumbled upon what could be the best kept secret in music television. If you’re channel lineup includes Palladia HD, you’re in for a treat. If you love music and live concerts as much as I do, you’ll want to record Palladia HD. Until actively seeking HD channels, I’d never seen or heard of it. I don’t think that it exists it in my lineup of standard-definition channels. They really need to advertise this more. So far, we’ve already recorded four performances. The selections and video quality are stunning!

Arrested Development in Conclusion

After many long months of watching rented DVDs of the entire three-season run of the TV show Arrested Development, I am here to write my review. As you may have previously read, a movie is rumored to be in the works. Despite my excitement about such a prospect, I’m not here to discuss that now.

The TV show Arrested Development aired on the Fox network from 2003-2006. I had never heard of it until last summer when my brother told me about it. I watched every single episode from the pilot to the finale. It is a great show. We had a great time watching it. We shared many laughs watching this series. The magic of the show lies squarely in the cast. The casting for the show is spot-on. I often remark that the only actors who could successfully pull off the lines in this show are the people who were hired to do just that.

On a slightly negative note, I must say that the third season was not nearly as good as the first two. Watching the third (and final) season was bordering on painful at times. The plot was all over the place, and often strayed into some pretty ridiculous scenarios. It felt as though a new production staff had taken over the entire operation of Arrested Development. I don’t know what happened during the last season, but there was clearly a lack of direction for any future for the show. This was made even more apparent in that the characters often mocked the show itself during the final few episodes.

Despite that bit of negativity, the rocky third season should not deter anyone from enjoying this incredibly funny TV series. I recommend it to anyone with a sense of humor. As for myself, having completed the entire series, I’ll surely miss watching the misadventures of the Bluth family.

I Want a Screensaver Channel on TV

I have said this for years, but have never written publicly about it. I propose a channel, or series of channels, that are nothing more than screensavers. Considering the explosion of digital cable and satellite programming available today, I don’t see a reason against it. I don’t have the stats in front of me, but there are probably more ESPN and sports channels than I can count. Various sports even have several channels devoted to them. Nascar, for example has several “in car” channel views on digital cable now, with each one devoted to a different camera in selected cars on the track. I think that is a tad ridiculous, as is the entire Nascar sport. But if we are going to have those options at our disposal, let’s have ridiculous channels of other kinds, too.

I think we should have a series of screensaver channels. I envision a bunch of random imagery, being it flying toasters, kaleidoscopes, or anything one can think of. While we’re brainstorming, imagine an aquarium channel, or a crackling fireplace channel. I often want to put something on in the background that doesn’t have moving pictures or dialogue. This seems like a grand idea that’s just waiting to be tapped. What do you think?

I suppose ads on these channels would be inevitable. That is unless they are provided as extras from your cable/satellite provider, such as the digital music channels are today. Ads would have to be very limited as to not be a distraction. A simple bottom banner, or once-per-hour commercial breaks would be okay, I suppose. The owner of these channels wouldn’t have to pay to produce original programming necessarily, so ad revenue wouldn’t need to be that high. What a great idea! Let’s do it!