Free digital TV picture quality is as good or better than cable and satellite. One of the reasons is that over-the-air digital TV is less compressed than cable, which often results in better picture quality. Keep in mind that there are three types of digital TV:
Free digital TV can transmit each of these types of digital TV.
Reception will vary depending on your location and antenna. In urban areas, a set-top antenna will likely be sufficient. There are tools to determine the reception quality in your area. The place to start is AntennaWeb.org. This website will tell you which TV stations have switched to digital TV, what the signal strength is, and the type of antenna needed to get a clear reception. You can also go to http://www.tvfool.com/index.php to find signal strength.
There are now several ways to get cable channels without cable. These options are via the Internet, so you'll need to connect your computer to your TV or get a special device (like TiVo). But if there are cable shows you can't live without, check out these resources to see if they are available without cable:
NetFlix: This is my first choice, and what we are going to use as soon as I get our antenna set up. With the NetFlix unlimited plan ($8.99/month), you also get over 12,000 movies and TV shows (including current season episodes) to watch instantly on TV. You can connect your computer to your TV to stream these shows.
There are several really good features with NetFlix.
TiVo HD DVR: With TiVo, not only can you stream NetFlix, but you can also record TV shows for playback later. While Tivo has long been associated with http://www.directsattv.com/ DirecTV satellite you can still record and save programming, independent of the satellite service. If you chose this option, make sure you get the HD DVR version which is required for digital TV. you can still record and save programming, independent of the satellite service. If you chose this option, make sure you get the HD DVR version which is required for digital TV.
Xbox and PS3: If you have a gamer in the house, Xbox or PS3 can also steam Neflix video.
Roku: The Roku digital video player is designed specifically to stream NetFlix video. The box costs $99.
Blu-Ray Players: Both LG and Samsung blue-ray players can stream NetFlix video. According to NetFlix, look for LG models LG BD370LG BD390 and Samsung models BD-P1600, BD-2500, BD-P3600, BD-P4600.
or Hulu.com: Through Hulu you can watch hundreds of shows and movies for free. Shows include:
TiVo: The TiVo box comes in three different models: TiVo Series2™ DT DVR, TiVo HD DVR, and TiVo HD XL DVR. For those that want high definition TV or to record over-the-air transmissions (which we do), the TiVo Series2™ DT DVR is not an option. I have decided to go with the TiVo HD DVR because it offers everything I need at a reasonable price: