Cord-Cutting is Easy and Fun

You don’t have to be a technological genius to cut the cord. It’s not hard to assemble a TV antenna, attach it to a TV, then run a channel scan.

When it comes to any kind of technology, I consider myself a Neanderthal. This is ironic since I work at Solid Signal, which specializes in TV antennas, satellite dishes, and consumer electronics. This very dynamic created an interesting opportunity. The folks at Solid Signal wanted to see if a low-tech person could set up a TV antenna then run a channel scan. I’m proud to report that I got plenty of TV stations with an antenna I set up in my home. And if I could do it, then you definitely can cut the cord.

Technological Neanderthal: Defined
My name is Jake Buckler. I am a 46-year-old man who lives in the suburbs of the greatest automotive city on the planet – Detroit, Michigan. I am married with three kids, all of whom run circles around me when it comes to technology. I barely use the features on my smart phone, and the idea of cutting the cord scared the living daylights out of me. More technology in my life takes me out of my comfort zone. That said, when it comes to saving money, I’m all about that life. So when I had the chance to try an indoor/outdoor TV antenna, I said “Why not?”

The TV Antenna Project
My task was simple: Pull the antenna out of the box, assemble it, then connect it to my TV. Once all that was done, I then had to conduct a channel scan. The test was to see how many channels I could get in the Detroit TV market. Since I live in a condo, I conducted this experiment indoors, with the antenna placed right next to my TV.

Here’s what I had to work with for this project:

  • A flat-panel, amplified HDTV outdoor/indoor TV antenna.
  • A 40-inch Sony flat-panel TV set.
  • A bedroom facing West in a TV market where the transmitters are roughly 14-17 miles to the east.

Easy Assembly
The TV antenna was very easy to assemble and connect, even for me. The base snaps to the antenna with a push. The coax cable easily screws into the connector at the antenna. The other end of the cable screws into the power inserter. The power adapter connects to the inserter, while the other end plugs into an outlet. Then, the coax comping out of the power inserter is connected at the TV. This took eight minutes and 11 seconds to complete. (Most of this time was spent unpacking the antenna from the box.)

Channel Scan Time
The next step was to conduct a channel scan. As I understand it, this process lets you know how many channels the antenna will receive. According to the instructions, I needed to find the TV’s setup menu. From there, I would select the “antenna” or “air” mode, then set the TV to scan for channels. Unable to find anything marked “setup mode,” I explored the TV’s menu. I found something called “settings,” and entered that. From there, I went to “channel,” then “signal type,” where I selected “antenna.” I then selected a function called “show/hide channels.” This produced a listing of channels in the Detroit TV market.

Note: This TV set was initially owned by my cousin, who attached it to a flat-panel antenna. I have two theories why the TV didn’t cycle through what I presume would be a traditional channel scan:

  1. My cousin already had done a channel scan with his flat panel, indoor antenna, when he owned the TV.
  2. This is the “channel scan” procedure for this particular TV model.

I’d like to know the answer, but I’m the Technological Neanderthal. Perhaps a more experienced cord-cutter who reads this might have an explanation for this?

The Results
I got excited to have found what I thought would be the channel scan function. I happily scrolled down the list and took note of each channel the antenna received. It was 15 of the 29 high-powered stations in the Detroit TV market. This programming arrived at my TV with crystal-clear HDTV reception. I got the channels I wanted, except for the Fox affiliate and the stations that air Grit, Get TV, and Cozi TV. There’s nothing wrong with wanting more free TV, right?

Note: This particular channel scan test is incomplete due to operator error. I got so caught up in the process that I ignored the directions in the pamphlet. I misunderstood the use of the power inserter that toggles between normal and stronger reception. I assumed it was an on/off switch and simply turned it “on.” I have no idea what channels a normal reception scan would receive compared to a stronger reception scan. (I’m sure you remember me saying that I’m the Technological Neanderthal.)

A Cord-Cutting Success!

Don’t let a fear of technology keep you from cutting the cord. I’m the Technological Neanderthal and I still got about half the TV stations in my market. You’ll do even better because you’ll have everyone here (except me) to help you. Just call us at 888-233-7563 for a TV antenna recommendation and professional installation guidance. You don’t have to be a computer engineer to enjoy the free HDTV that comes once you cut the cord.

About the Author

Jake Buckler
Jake Buckler is a cord-cutter, consumer electronics geek, and Celtic folk music fan. Those qualities, and his writing experience, helped him land a copywriting gig at Signal Group, LLC. He also contributes to The Solid Signal Blog.