$275 for cable, internet and phone? I could lease a car for that price. Over the past 12 years of being a Rogers customer I have watched my bill go up (to $275) and down (to $100). The reason for the price swings? Promotions. Promotions are good when they are in play ($100) and bad when then run out and you don’t notice ($275).

And then there is what I call the-charge-they-add-to-your-bill-just-because-they-can – like $7.49/month for each outlet more than basic 4 you are ‘permitted’. What ‘service’ are we really getting for that extra charge? Remember when they used to ask you how many computers you planned to hook up to use the Internet? It’s the same thing – wanting to charge extra for something that has no additional cost to them and no additional service being provided to you.

The Fear

We had threatened to cut the cord a few times over the years but, like many among us, even though we knew the big guys did not really provide superior service for the premium prices they charge, we feared the little guys would be worse. That fear is partially valid but there is a way around the poor service from your provider– it’s called the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (http://www.ccts-cprst.ca/). The majority of the service providers are members and the CCTS does work based on my two experiences (can be a whole other article onto itself!). Just check that the one you are considering switching to is listed as a member with CCTS.

Our Needs

We have a main home theater downstairs and a mini-one in our family room and probably too many TVs elsewhere. But hey, most technology isn’t that expensive anymore – it’s the connecting it to useful things that’s the big expense. In reality whether you have one or ten TVs, the base price for connecting is the same. And basic cable really does not provide all that much unique content across the channel spectrum anyways.

We also have two teen-aged boys so we also have 4 of pretty much everything – smart phones, tablets, and computers. These toys consume a lot of bandwidth.

Our Criteria

For us to cut the cord our criteria were:

  1. We had to be able to get unlimited Internet for streaming (Netflix, NHL.com, etc.) at a reasonable price. A number of providers can do that – we chose iTalkBB.
  2. Over the air (OTA) HD TV had to be as good as it was purported to be – it is. We live in the Ottawa area and get 14 channels of better-than-cable HD quality as the signal is not compressed. And the majority of shows are on one of City, Global, CTV, CTV Two, CHCH, or CBC. So no real drop off in the content we wanted.
  3. Home media server software had to work reliably and on all the devices we have.

Our “Kit”

Below is what we used to cut the cord (see list of links are the end of the article for where to get each item with the costs):

  1. OTA HD antenna. Cost of $69 US and arrived within a week.
  2. Unlimited Internet. We use iTalkBB which also includes an Apple TV-sized streamer for Chinese TV (wife is happy…). First six months is $39.95 and $44.95 after that. We get 25MB down and 2MB up speeds – speedtest.net confirms this to be the case pretty much any time of the day.
  3. Media streaming devices. Our main one is a ROKU 3 ($99). We also just purchased two Chromecast’s from Google that I am trying out ($35 each on recent trip to the US).
  4. Home media streaming software. We use Plex Server which is visible to or has Apps for all of our devices (except for Xbox). You can also repurpose old PCs/Laptops to act as a Roku-type device. I am trying that out in my main home theater. The Roku is in the family room as we use it every day.

We sold our 3 Rogers PVRs so that netted us about $300 which covered must of the one-time expenses above.

Our Experience so Far

Cutting the cord was not without its hiccups. The first came 4 days after we had switched. Rogers cut off our access through their network because iTalkBB had our home address as Toronto not Ottawa (even though they shipped the devices to Ottawa – go figure!). That led to a 3 week outage – not good. But the CCTS came to the rescue. Once we filed a complaint we were getting calls within 24 hours to get the issue resolved and got our installation and first month’s charges waived as well as our other out-of-pocket expenses.

The corporate side of iTalkBB was extremely polite and professional and went out of their way to ensure we were satisfied with how everything got resolved. Some lessons for the other guys there.

We also have a home phone at $5.99 month with them which includes 60 minutes of NA long distance any registered cell phone (simple process). You have to call a local number when making a LD call but there’s one in every major city in Canada.

The Specifics:

  1. TV – Image quality is far superior on all our TVs and we get pretty much everything we watched before. The Rogers’ device for the low end channels produced really awful picture quality. I feed the HD antenna into my powered cable distribution splitter in my electrical room downstairs so I am using all of my existing in-house cables. We still have the antenna in our master bedroom but will move it to the attic in the spring.
  2. Video streaming – A hit against using NetFlix in Canada is that you can’t see US-only content. Simple solution is set up a US DNS entry in your router. We use unoTelly.com at $3.95/month. Works well for NHL.com as well for getting home market games that are usually blacked out. Video quality is very good for both. The Roku box has over 1000+ video channels – some pay, some free. A guide can on what is available by searching for “roku channel guide pdf “ in Google. You will also need to set up your Roku with a US address to access all of the US-only content. Some simple searches will tell you how to do that.
  3. Home media streaming – Plex is a “works every time solution”. There are Apps for Android, Windows and IOS. I have my Plex Server installed on a Windows server but you can also install it on a Mac. It’s pretty light on its needs for the server hardware but like any software works best with more RAM, faster CPUs etc. I use internal and external USB drives – again faster is better especially if you want to stream to multiple devices at the same time. Can handle all of your movies, music, and photos. It transcodes video formats on the fly so all video formats work on all devices. Plex also has Channels you can subscribe to as well which is how I get my fix of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. You can transfer your entire video collection to the Plex and then access it anywhere in your house without the need for the physical media.

Big change is that for some things we are no longer tied to specific times to watch like regular TV – the Daily Show and the Colbert report can be watched whenever I have the time as they are on-demand and available shortly after their regular broadcast times.

The Irony of the Rip-off

iTalkBB (and the other ISPs) use either Rogers’ cables or Bell’s fibe cables to provide unlimited Internet connections to your house. And they do it at less than half the costs in many cases. And they have to hire all their own people for sales and support and rent office space, pay for the gear, and pay the oligopoly that they use (Rogers or Bell) – all for less than half the cost of what you would pay for limited bandwidth from the guy whose lines they are using…great, huh?

Where to Get It

  1. HD antenna – http://antennadeals.com/HD2605.html price $69 plus shipping. Apparently there are equally good products from Winegard and ChannelMaster that can be bought at a number of local retailers in most major cities or on-line. To find out what OTA channels are available in your area go to http://tvfool.com/
  2. Unlimited Internet – www.iTalkBB.com. $44.95 includes modem ($39.95 for first six months).
  3. Roku 3 – www.bestbuy.ca price $99 during Christmas sale (regular price $109). Model comparison here http://support.roku.com/entries/20345913-Product-Comparison-All-Roku-Player-Models. The Roku 3 has wired Internet as well as Wireless.
  4. Plex – www.plex.tv – no charge for Plex Server. Apps cost $4.99 to $5.99/device but are free on the Roku our Samsung Smart TV. We bought a lifetime PlexPass for $75 which provides the apps for any device when you log in using your PlexPass account. PlexPass gives you access to your own content from anywhere you are that has an internet connection (suggest you be careful that your remote access is also from an unlimited bandwidth connection).
  5. Chromecast – $69 CAD or $35 US. You can get them at any number of on-line retailers but if you get a chance to cross the border to US you get two for the price of one.

The Price Breakdown

One-time costs (before tax):

  • HD Antenna – $69
  • Roku 3 – $99
  • Chromecasts (2) – $70
  • PlexPass (lifetime) – $75
  • Total: $313

Off-set by $300 from selling our PVR’s so our net cost of the conversion was really only $13 plus taxes, shipping (Antenna) and exchange rates (Antenna and Chromecasts). Like all ISPs, iTalkBB also has changing promotions around contract/no-contract, term length, phone features, etc. We went for the basic at the time and signed up for one-year so they waived the phone activation fee.

On-going (after six months and before taxes):

  • Internet – $44.95
  • Phone – $5.99
  • NetFlix – $7.99
  • NHL.com ($99/12) -$8.25*
  • unoTelly – $3.95
  • Total: $76.94

* By having a US DNS, we get NHL.com/Gamecenter for $99 USD instead of $169 CAD – another way we get ripped off.  Monthly savings before tax of about $23.00 compared to previous $100 cable/Internet/phone bill.

We now have:

  • Unlimited internet
  • Higher quality TV pictures and no surcharges for TV’s beyond the base 4 that were allowed by Rogers
  • Movies on demand
  • All the hockey we can watch
  • More content on our own schedule
  • AND our monthly bill is pretty much fixed

It feels good to think we are not quite as beholding to the oligopolies any longer and that we don’t have to be constantly checking our monthly bills to see what new charges have started appearing.

The Gotchas

None, other than be careful if you want your phone number transferred – we lost ours in the process. It’s better to plan this a couple of months in advance and get all the kinks out of your new device setups before making the switch. If you go local for your purchases you also get to try out different antenna for example to see which one works best for your area. I kind of took a leap of faith on the antenna and bought on-line from the US hoped would be good. It is, but all that means is that it was pure luck more than good planning on my part.

The last point is the net neutrality debate in the US – if it filters over into Canada it could eventually mean that oligopolies will find a way to throttle or charge extra for IP video streaming. Check-out/sign up at https://openmedia.ca/ to make your voice heard.

About the Author: Larry is mid-fifties management consultant living in Ottawa. He has a computer science degree that he took in 1970’s when programming was done on punched cards – really. He has kept up with technology throughout his career and likes to play with shiny new toys as cost effectively as possible.

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Interesting post. We have considered cutting our cord as I recently noticed our cable bill went up slightly, again. We will likely go with Apple TV as it seems to have a variety of content available. I think a lot more people are going to be cutting the cord as younger generations refuse to pay inflated cable bills and prefer to stream on demand

I live in the West GTA and get about 15 clear hd channels with my winegard flatwave 5500 mounted in my condo window but facing North.

I also use a gbox with xbmc for thousands of movies, shows, documentaries.

Basically costing me about 60 dollars a month. That’s with bell Fibe Internet 50mbps up and down.

I’ll never go back to the cable rip off!

Good article, although I suspect you may have underplayed some of the technical challenges involved in getting the new set-up fully functional. We did the same thing a couple years ago, and couldn’t be happier with the reduced cost out of our monthly budget. Plus we just can’t believe how much content is still available to us without a cable subscription. Folks our generation may be cutting the cord from cable, but I suspect our kids’ generation will never establish that connection in the first place. For them, online is where content lives. I suspect Rogers and Bell are going to find the trend toward reduced cable subscribers turning into a tidal wave in coming years.

@Underground Woman – yes there were a few technical challenges which is why I suggested taking a couple of months to get the kinks out before cutting the cord. Mostly they were with getting the DNS issues solved so that we could access US content on Netflix as well as NHL.com for local area blackouts. We went through two other DNS providers before we got everything working well consistently.

The rest is pretty straightforward. Plex server is easy to setup and use but if you need some guidance you can get a step-by-step guide here: http://www.wegotserved.com/2014/01/09/stream-music-video-plex-media-server/. WeGotServed also has a guide for setting up a media server based on XBMC from which Plex was derived. The on-line forums for Plex are also pretty good.

I agree as you say that the younger generation will establish the connection in the first place. But don’t expect Bell/Rogers/Shaw to go quietly into the good night – that’s where OpenMedia.ca comes in – make your voice heard!

I pay $105 per month for satellite TV, high speed internet & a land line all with Telus. It really pays off to bundle services & negotiate in good faith with the Loyalty Department. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, so long as you squeak reasonably and not be confrontational.

We are giving some serious thought to this. A question for you that you may be able to answer from your research. Live sports is important to me, such as NHL, NFL, MLB, and golf. Is there a way to get most all live sports on my HDTV through the internet?


I cut the cord a few years ago with a similar setup here in Montreal. I have the HD antenna, and cable internet through TekSavvy (recommended). The savings are incredible over time.

That said I can’t find good live sports online, I can get CBC hockey on weekends with the HDtv but TSN/RDS don’t stream online yet. You can sometimes get live sports from atdhe.net, but the quality is not HD…


Excellent post Larry and thanks for sharing. I live in Ottawa as well.

The only reason I keep cable is the live sports. I enjoy the Golf Channel too much.

Hard to believe unlimited internet is only $45??

Geez, that’s good.

The NHL, NFL, NBA and MLB all sell live streaming of all games on-line (with local blackouts). The Golf Channel is available via a Plex channel for pre-recorded programming but not live broadcasts.

I have ordered a Cable USB TV Tuner (hope to have this week) that will enable me to use my Plex Server as a DVR for OTA HD programming.

There is also a local Ottawa start-up that has product called a Tablo (http://www.tablotv.com/) that allows you to record two OTA HD channels simultaneously (4 is coming) to external USB hard drives and play back to pretty much any device in your house – news story here (http://news.ca.msn.com/top-stories/tablo-device-snatches-over-the-air-hdtv-signals-for-free)

It’s a bit pricey though at $219 – but it does look pretty slick and all things considered would love to have one.

What it says to me is that for a company to have invested in creating a product like this that the market is starting to shift away from the traditional cable and satellite network providers. I’d be very worried if I were the CEO’s of these firms.

These are all disruptive technologies (OTA HD, OTA HD PVR, Video Streaming, etc.) to the cable/satellite TV markets. How can a Rogers or a Bell compete unless they fundamentally change their business models? And we all know that oligopolies are not known for being fleet of foot in that regard.

Anybody remember Napster? Sony and the record companies ligated it out of existence. And then along came Apple and made it legal – it’s called iTunes. Naptser was a disruptive technology – and Apple made billions off of the same basic technology.

It’s actually quite fascinating that OTA (combined with on-line streaming) has become a disruptive technology – sort of a bit “Back to the Future”ish.

The first wave of disruption inevitably leads to the established players challenging it in court (see the news story above). But this eventually gives way to the new players and the market figuring out how to make it fit or in getting restrictive regulations changed to reflect the new realities. Eventually it all catches up and the new market gets entrenched. I don’t see this as an if it will happen, it’s more of when it will happen on a mass scale.

It sounds great… but I don’t understand anything…

In post #9, you say “I have ordered a Cable USB TV Tuner (hope to have this week) that will enable me to use my Plex Server as a DVR for OTA HD programming.”

What does a Cable Tuner do if you don’t have cable? And where do you connect the USB? On the computer or on the TV? What’s a Plex Server. What’s an OTA? There’s a bunch of other terms you used I have no clue what they mean. What’s a Ruku 3 and why do I need that?

I’m not really asking you to answer any of these but it just shows me that the learning curve would be huge… and not being an IT kinda guy, not very interesting process… and what do I do when it breaks…. I tried to get Teksavy since it was so cheap… man that was a mistake. I’m back with Bell, if it stops working, I phone Bell and they fix it up quickly. No reading through a bunch of online posts at work or in my neighbors house to figure out why my internet at home is not working.

Perhaps I should pay you to set it up in my house… and if it breaks, I’ll call you up. You can be my IT support guy… lol

@Goldberg – I hear you!

The comments overall have me thinking that maybe I should write an e-book on the topic that explains it all and shows people how to do it for themselves.

Would be interested to see if there is a market for it. :)

Jeez, that sounds like way too much work. How about just cancelling your TV service and not watching TV? The biggest highest definition pictures are outside! :)

There is a new device called a Tablo that can grab HD signals over the air for free. Not sure about how reliable the signal is or what specific signals it can grab but it’s nice to see some cheaper alternatives to an expensive cable package.


I recently read that when an average North American dies, they will have spent ten (10) consecutive years watching television. What’s the ROI on that!?

If that doesn’t make you instantly depressed enough to throw the darn contraption out the window (w/ all devices mentioned above), I don’t know what would.

Great article.
We did even better by NOT watching tv at all.

We bought a set of HD digital rabbit ears in order to watch the olympics this year. Otherwise, we don’t watch tv. Who has time? It floors me that people somehow have time to watch 1-3 hours of tv per day.

Interesting post – we’re also in Ottawa but had less success on the OTA HD front.

Set up the antenna but could only get CBC *or* CTV, depending on where we pointed it, no French channels (which we also watch in our household), and one or two others.

This was a bit frustrating – not sure what we’re doing wrong or whether it’s because we’re right downtown (tall buildings in the way?). Amazed that you manage 14 channels!

Suggestions, anyone?


Why would that be depressing?

@Jackie….why is watching ten consecutive years of television depressing? Because it is a monumental waste.

Ten years is almost 90,000 hours.
According to Gladwell, a popular notion is that a person can master a skill, talent, vocation, etc. in 10,000 hours.

This means that the average person has forsaken nine masteries or successes in favour of the vacuous boobtube. Might be why they remained average.

For the consumer of teevee, there is no measurable, fundamental, or lasting gain, only vectored loss. The gain is wholly on the production side. Imagine the impact in your life, as well as in others’, those nine mastered successes could provide (think opportunity cost).

Eg. let’s say you love baking but instead of pursuing it first-hand you decide to watch food television all day. You are now 85 and still love baking but you are no better at it at the end of your life than when you were 20. Someone else decides to purse that love of baking and becomes ‘Ace of Cakes’ or ‘Cake Boss’…whose success and fame you continue to watch on teevee…instead of actually baking.

That’s quite the setup to save $23/month. I guess it adds up over time.

The cable companies won’t be able to hold their pricing for long if more people end up cutting the cord like you’ve done.

Not only does teevee cost you insurmountably in opportunity, but in real money as well.

The most popular TV-only packages of the Big 4 — Telus, Rogers, Shaw, Bell — all cost about $75/month.

Applying the simplistic ‘Latte Factor’, saving that $75 a month for 45 years with a 10% return (long-term stock market rate) will give you over $700,000. And we all need $1,000,000 to retire, right?
(Might want to copy-n-paste this into the “How Come I’m Not RIch?” article.)

Consuming teevee, on average, will cost you 10% of your actual life, as well as 70% (or more!) of your retirement fund. Television is both psychologically and materially depressing…in HD.

For those who feel they are missing out on sports in general, or the Olympics in particular, you may want to look into getting a Chromecast. Chromecast is a Google device that allows you to ‘cast’ (or broadcast) anything you can live stream on your desktop/laptop/tablet or smartphone directly over your home wifi network to your TV. Chromecast is currently intended for the U.S. market only, so it takes a bit of manipulation to bypass geoblocking, but it can be done. And currently, CBC is live streaming all the Olympic sports events without any limitation. Check out how to get and set up your Chromecast device here:

In light of all your negative comments I’ve had to read on here SST, I found a very appropriate article for you today on the G&M.


It all makes sense now…


Why do you call “TV”, “teevee”?

Also, I don’t see what is wrong with living a life that consists in part of some entertainment once in a while.

Entertainment is just that. It is not a necessity of life (or retirement). To paraphrase the Dos Equis commercial – I don’t always have time to be entertained at home, but when I do, I prefer it on my schedule and at a price I’m willing to pay!



@Sam: And it’s well known that corporations harbour overwhelming sociopath traits. Don’t see you whining about their behaviour.

You could attempt to reference me as a “sadist troll” for not being a swooning ‘yes man’, or you could try to convince me that teevee is actually of some value worth the efforts of “cutting the cord” (but not really) and beyond.

Thanks, look forward to your research.

@Jackie: Why do you call it ‘TV’?

Entertainment actually is a necessity of life for higher-functioning animals. Perhaps I’m weird, but I prefer my entertainment interactive, engaged, and of sustenance/substance.

Television is an immensely powerful social medium, however it is utilized almost entirely in a detrimental manner. There are flecks of benefit, but they do not require three hours or more a day, every day, to collect them.

Even I own a teevee, used mostly for watching movies etc. downloaded for free (thanks Gov’t of Canada!).

Here’s a few gems from the book ‘Rich Habits’ (Tom Corley):
*67% of wealthy watch one hour or less of TV every day vs. 23% of poor.
*6% of wealthy watch reality TV vs. 78% of poor.
*86% of wealthy love to read vs. 26% of poor.
*88% of wealthy read 30 minutes or more each day for education or career reasons vs. 2% of poor.
*63% of wealthy parents make their children read two or more non-fiction books a month vs. 3% of poor.

[note: the book has a sample size of ~350, thus just as valid as the findings presented in ‘The Millionaire Next Door’.]

To close, a tip from another book, ‘1,000+ Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently’ (Marc Chernoff):
“They say time is money. In actuality, time is far more important than money. Time is your life. If you waste it, you will fail.”

Have fun cutting the cord!

@SST: What percentage of smart people who watch a trivial amount of TV would spend significant time and submit multiple replies on a thread about cutting the cord?

The answer is always 42, and I got that from reading a book.

What’s most amusing, and telling, is the only rebukes have been attempted insults.

No offerings of facts, data, analysis, research, medical studies…nothing, not even anecdotes to provide support to teevee being a predominantly (51%) positive investment on any level.

This article is akin to a smoker detailing how to save money by rolling your own.

Being a website devoted to frugality, saving money and time, If you really want to “cut the cord”, then CUT IT!

A great example would be DYI Guy over at ‘Young and Thrifty’. For the last few years he has spent about 2 hours a day “working on my investment strategies”. The returns on his portfolio went from an average of 1.75% per year (managed, 2000-2011) to 11% per year (self-directed, 2011-current). That’s time well spent.

What your return on television?

p.s. — what is the (assumed) correlation between “significant time” (Duration) and “multiple replies” (Quantity)?

2000-2011 contained two market crashes while 2011-current has been smooth sailing, not a fair comparison.

What happened here? Great detailed article about ways to save some money on the ever increasing expense of an average house’s average expenses. Thanks.

All the other stuff here in the comments, wow, relax everyone. SST is simply sharing his belief that teevee isn’t a great pastime, it’s probably a valid point so why so defensive? He said himself he’s got a TV, aren’t we arguing about nothing then?


What you are claiming is that NO stock, mutual fund, ETF, hedge fund, alternative investment, option, etc. et al bested the general indicies over the 2000-2011 period.

I’ve held investments since both 2000 and 2011 which have given much greater returns than both the “crashing” and “smooth sailing” broad markets; is it fair to compare only in up markets but not down markets?

You are correct though, the returns of DIY’s self-educated and self-directed portfolio are not comparable to those of his industry-managed drone portfolio.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programme!

Update: added a Hauppage 950Q USB tuner for $85 so now can record live TV to the server and play back later to any device using Plex – great for recording Olympic moments while I have to go work.

We did the same last September. Living in Milton, Ontario we are fortunate to receive signals from Buffalo and Toronto. We get about 20 good channels that we watch on a regular basis. Saving $110 a month now between the cable cut and the phone too since we got a magic jack for a home phone. Check out my blog posts on how we did it. We used a local company for the antenna install since I’m not up for a rooftop climb!

Yes the tv stations and tv in general is useless device, mostly filled with crap, but if you need to use it netflix does seem the most viable option. I don’t even have netflix, if I really need to watch something I just download it, so it better be something worthwhile, this has stopped me from watching on a random whim and saved me time exponentially. On another note I have also stopped my smart phone plan, and use a regular phone for 20 dollars a month with no data, down from 50 a month on a contract, and I find I am able to allocate my time better without having access to emails and fb feeds 24/7.

Larry, you should offer your services to do the same for others. I might be interested.

Detailing the state of affairs:

10 hours a day = 40% of your life.

As the journalist puts it:
“What have we disengaged with in order to become more engaged with our gadgets? What price have we paid in the name of user engagement?”

The (now even steeper) price is outlined in post #19.

“Cheaper” is no reason to continue consuming the same empty goods.

Hi Larry, I would be very interested in an ebook on this subject. As I write this I have now been on the phone with Rogers for 2 hours (no lie). Have talked to the Loyalty Dept and Cust Relations. On Feb. 17 I talked to the Loyalty dept. who promised me 35% discount on Cable TV and Internet. On my March statement all discounts were removed…I previously had 30% discount on Cable and Internet. My bill which includes Internet, Cable, home phone and 1 wireless phone has gone from $176 to $244 per month. If this is how Rogers treats loyal customers…I want out. Told them that I am going to be shopping around. I too am in Ottawa.

You forgot to list free legal satellite TV as an option. With a 36 inch satellite dish and an HD Free To Air (FTA) receiver, you can receive about 85 English channels with over 10 of those in HD on Ku Band FTA satellite. If you have room for a bigger dish to receive C band FTA satellite, you can get even more with over 200 additional English channels and over 50 of them in HD. All currently available FTA satellite channels are listed at http://fta.channels.drsat.ca

In addition to these full-time channels, you may also receive temporary “wild feed” channels which don’t appear on the above list but carry many sporting & special events along with breaking news coverage. You may find these channels yourself by rescanning certain satellites on your receiver or by following a few feed hunting groups such as the Dr. Sat SatHunters Club at http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=170234.

These channels are unencrypted so they are legally available for free with no monthly subscription and complement nicely the channels you may already receive using an OTA antenna. However unlike OTA, FTA satellite offers near-nationwide coverage which is great for people who have a limited amount of OTA channels available in their area.

“KILLING TIME!” roared the dog—so furiously that his alarm went off. “It’s bad enough wasting time without killing it.” And he shuddered at the thought. ~ Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth


Great post…Our family is about a week away from canceling our cable. Before we do, we want to know exactly what we are missing and also how can we go about getting some of our favorite shows. We have been doing some research and found that the two devices you named, ROKU and CHROMECAST is really all we need.

Believe it or not, we already have both so I’m not really sure at this point why we even pay for cable. We’ll probably pick up another ROKU and CHROMECAST for a second TV, but with the money we are saving by canceling our cable, it will essentially pay for itself within the first month!

For those looking for a good OTA antenna. I bought a Antenna’s Direct DB4e and a Channel Master preamp (best combo that I found after doing some research) for about $200. I live in the east GTA , mounted the antenna on my chimney and get 40 HD channels from Toronto and Buffalo.

No need for an expensive OTA antenna.
Buy an RF remote control antenna for about $10 or less.Hook it up with a short length of CATV cable to back of your TV.If you want surround sound hook up TV to AVR with an optic cable (OTA signals are digital)
Ottawa has few OTA signals available but I get all 14 crystal clear with 5.1 sound.

Just found this link and I also am in Ottawa. I actually cut the cord over a year ago. IHave Teksavy as an internet suppiler and also voip . Cost for this is far less than Ma Bell that I had previously. If I find something cheaper I will switch.
The problem that I have is that I have been dabbling and bumbling around in nearly everything that has been mentioned in this post, I am not really computer savvy and for me the real problem is coming up with a central “remote” , “system” or “application” that pulls all this stuff together
Where the big guys have you is that their systems are simple to use…point the clicker and watch the show.
All the systems I use do work but for me but they are so much work to try and remember where I am or which remote or input to use. There is a lot of stuff out there but is there a system that would control them all??
Larry, I do think that there is a great opportunity for someone to put it all together.. Old farts like me seem to be aware of everything that is out there but find it crazy to come up with a system that makes things simple.
Your idea of an instructional e-book sounds great to me and I would be one of the first in line to sign up.

Great article. Like you i am an IT dinosaur from the 70’s and like shinny new tech. The only thing I would add in the way of hardware is a TABLO to the antenna system. This allows you to use their epg (electronic program guide) to record OTA shows to a harddrive. They also have an app for roku so that you can view recorded Harddrive shows anywhere in the house that you have a roku attached to a tv. This TABLO and Roku pairing is very “wife friendly tech” my wife loves it. She has her DR Phil, Greys anatomy, and Songza.
She is no longer living in fear that I will die and she has to go back to Rogers and Bell BANBITS
Tablo 2 tuner 250
epg lifetime 149 or 49 a year


Don’t know if you are still monitoring this post but I am only now looking at cutting the cord. My problem with going ahead and doing it is that it appears for both Canadian Network Channels available via the Internet (CTV GO, Global GO, etc) and U.S. Networks available via UnoTelly again on the Internet (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox) you have to log into their site as a subscriber to a television service provider i.e. Bell, Rogers etc or you cannot get their live or on demand content. Is this not the case and if not how do I avoid this?

Thank you