Cutting the cord without an antenna? Big mistake.

It’s not cord-cutting if all you have is the internet. Yeah, I get it. You want to save a little money. Who doesn’t? With the average cable bill now officially over $100, it’s harder than ever to justify the hundreds of channels full of identical programming out there. Not only that, but even the stuff you used to depend on your local channels for — primetime TV and local news — seems like it’s better when you stream it from the internet. So, you’re thinking that it’s time to go off the grid, or maybe go on the grid (I’m having a little trouble trying to decide what “The Grid is here) and get rid of both cable and antenna TV and just live online.

Sorry to tell you but I think that’s a big mistake.

The first thing you need to think about when getting rid of the cable company is that antenna TV costs absolutely nothing after the initial investment. Get the right antenna, wire it into your TV, and that’s all you pay, unless you choose to record it or stream it (and that’s 100% your choice.) It’s a little hard to understand why you would give up something 100% free especially if you already have most of the hardware. You can probably use leftover cable company line to bring the output of antenna anywhere in the house. So why not take advantage of it?

The other thing you need to realize is that there does come a time when OTA is really all there is. If you get snowed in, your cell phone may not work, your internet may not work, but if you have enough power to turn on your TV, that antenna on the roof is going to work. Period. Well, you know, unless it gets knocked over, but that’s another whole story. Antennas are a great backup plan.

Finally, there’s something you maybe haven’t thought about. Sometimes TV is just nice to relax to. The allure of TV has always been its ability to steadily deliver entertainment with the minimum possible effort on your part. Yeah, you can bingewatch, but if you’re looking for a variety of programs of interest, stuff you maybe wouldn’t have thought would hook you, there’s no substitute for live TV. Really, there isn’t. There’s something calmingly retro about just settling down, taking the remote out of your hand, and watching.

So why not start with an antenna setup to complement your streaming setup? You’ll pay for it in the first month after you kill that cable bill anyway. The return on investment is almost instant. Then, once it’s there, you have it. If you don’t use it, who cares? It’s not costing you money.