Cord Cutting 101

The advertisements made it seem so simple. “Break away from the clutches of subscription TV! With this simple device, that attaches to your window.”

Like most everything in life, if it seemed too simple, it probably was. Why? Because every situation was different.

“Let me know how it works. I may do this myself,” So, said my neighbors and friends. I was their test subject.

My true purpose was to bring back the local NBC station, denied because of a never-ending dispute with Direct TV. Other stations received over the air, would be added benefits.

The window antenna failed. Even with the supplied booster. Not even one channel received. It was returned for refund.

A more conventional antenna purchased to be mounted outside. It was called the “mini-yagi”. Didn’t know exactly what “yagi” were–mini or otherwise.

Mounted outside, then later in the attic, with an additional booster amplifier, success was limited.

Alternative methods to secure the elusive local NBC affiliate were plentiful. Need I mention down streaming from the internet, CATV, the other satellite provider? All of which required additional subscription charges.

There was no logic to it, at all. Some days ABC and NBC came in beautifully from the “mini-yagi,” Last Wednesday evening, my three favorite NBC dramas came in clear as crystal. Thursday, the day after, no signal.  I’ve spent too much time, money, and effort already.

As a “mini yagi” test subject, I can not make a recommendation.  Do further research, before you attempt to cut the cord.  Apparently, I reside in a “black hole” for TV signaling.  If you reside near a major metroplex, good for you.

Don’t believe advertising claims.  If the antenna is purported to have a 70 mile range–it may not always be true.  Like EPA car mileage claims, it’s only under ideal conditions.

Antennas receive broadcast signals in a straight line.  Applying “digital or HD capable” to TV antennas is somewhat of a misnomer.  Old-fashioned rabbit ear antennas would pick up digital or HD, if the broadcaster’s signal was clear.


One Step Forward…

Cast iron cookware, once considered too heavy and awkward. Perfectly good skillets and Dutch oven discarded in favor of lighter aluminum cookware, with non-stick coatings.

When properly seasoned, cast iron was also non-stick–without the chemical coating compounds. In our household, cast iron is back in favor. Last night’s cast iron skillet-baked pork chops with roasted vegetables were to die for.

On another front, I’m taking back what was taken away last summer, by warring media giants, Direct TV and Nexstar Media. Local CBS and NBC channels were removed from the lineup. NBC is still not back.

I’m installing an outside antenna for local channels. A small gimmicky inside antenna, failed to perform to my expectations last week, and was returned.  I missed NBC’s first shows of the new season.

The new antenna, looks like those on houses before the advent of satellite and pay TV.  Hopefully, local channels will be in reach, once again.  I’ll have the option to pull the plug from TV subscription services.

I’m waiting for the weather to cool next week before installation.  Everything comes back in fashion in due time.

What’s Your Frequency?

Not being able to receive programming from two of the four major US televisions networks, for going on two months, has become quite stale.

It’s no different than other abstentions of goods and services. Declaring a shortage of iceberg lettuce, then jacking up prices. Except, I am paying for services not received.

Meanwhile, Nexstar Communications and Direct TV continue their standoff. Nexstar owns a considerable amount of local TV stations–CBS, NBC, channels 44 and 55 locally. Each player in the stalemate blames the other.

Granted, summer replacement shows/reruns are nothing to brag about. I watch TV first thing in the morning, then for two hours before turning in to bed. I miss my favorite local station personalities.

I’m not a sports fanatic, but will not be given the opportunity to be one, this fall–if this stoppage continues. I’m locked into a contract with Direct TV. There would be a sizable penalty for changing.

Dish Network, the main competitor, is not immune to the same issues–rebroadcast of local stations. Tried an over the air antenna, in the past, and barely received one channel. My internet provider isn’t reliable enough for streaming. It may take some creativity on my part to solve these issues.


Why did it even matter?  This has happened many times before.  There were the original “Bo and Luke, Duke” boys and their replacements; substitutions for “John and Ponch” on “CHiPs.”

The latest in TV main character substitutions may be about to happen. Hawaii 5-0’s actors, Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park are leaving because of failed contract negotiations.

I am saddened to see them leave.  Their characters were strong and appealing.  What would trouble me most, would be for the network to bring in different actors to fill the same roles.

How many different characters have passed in and out of the “Law & Order” franchises over the years?  And, the series goes on.

Was anyone fooled by the two different actors that played daughter Becky Connors on the “Rosanne” show?  Network executives, no substitutions please on Hawaii 5-0.



From Way Outside the Loop

It’s afternoon, time for the internet to slow down–like it always does.  When you’re completely out of the loop, as it pertains to pop culture–including music, my opinion will not be counted or missed.

The moment everyone’s been waiting for–my annual Grammy awards rant.  I don’t watch it, consequently no critiques of this year’s ceremony will be offered; only vague generalizations.

I’m not a watch the Grammies in your jammies type and never will be.  I’ll hazard a guess, that the ceremony was filled to the brim with more politicizing–ad nauseam.  The consistently good, were consistently good, and the consistently bad, were as usual, consistently bad.  That was not to say I didn’t like some of the artists.

Aren’t there an awful lot of awards shows within a short time frame?  Strange visitor from another musical era I may be; watching the Grammies, I find as appealing, as watching a documentary on the history of men’s underwear.  Cat videos?  There can never be too many.

Hoo-boy, can you believe that?  Fluffy, did all her own stunts–too.  Cat videos could be quite entertaining.  Try them–you may find yourself laughing out loud.  If there is not already–there definitely should be an Oscar category for best cat video.

They’re Only Game Shows

NBC has a new prime-time game show that requires players to agree on controversial topics.  “Divided,” which I assumed was short for “divide and conquer,” intended to capitalize on opinionated contestants–regarding current social, political, and cultural issues–without coming to blows.

I’ve only seen bits and pieces.  On one episode, a player deliberately refused to agree with the majority because there’d been an attempt to vote him out–their winnings disappeared.  I found the show to be a frustrating display of group dysfunctionality.

Game show popularity ebbs and flows.  Stalwarts, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, and The Price Is Right are still around.  ABC’s “Game Night” found success with updated versions of To Tell the Truth, Pyramid, and The Match Game.

NBC’s offered “The Wall,”  a sort of “Plinko” on steroids–a vertical peg board of dizzying heights, from which chips are dropped.  Like Deal Or No Deal, potential prize amounts are staggering.  Points are given and taken away with equal frequency.

My escape is watching the Wheel with Pat and Vanna every evening at 6:30.  They need to re-check my address.  I know I should have won the $5,000 giveaway by now.

Game shows allow a 30 minute break from reality.  I prefer them to current local news.  Splattered across local televisions screens–two fugitives remained at large.  They’ve murdered three, wounded one in their latest crime spree.–