Originally Posted by Larry Seal
Not interested in paying a subscription fee! If we were, we'd have kept cable.
If I had a nickle for every optimistic misled soul who posted here with that sentence, I'd be richer than Mike Bloomberg.
I am lost in this maze. I thought cutting the cable was going to be easy!
Welcome to reality: it isn't at all
easy unless you're a millennial with the attention span of a fruit fly who only consumes TV via on-demand streaming to their smart phone. For anyone else who is used to viewing the traditional way (in front of an actual TV, using a personal recorder of some kind): forget it. The trendy-but-hollow promise of "cut the cord! save a fortune!never pay for TV again!" has a nasty underside, best exemplified by Krusty The Clown's classic line from The Simpsons:
"What they don't know is, I'm rife with disease
In other words, rife with "gotchas!" and hurdles and unanticipated problems. Chief among them being, our North American ATSC digital broadcast system is garbage. Reception thats great this month will turn on you and bite your ass off next month, varying channel to channel, even with a roof antenna. We have no decent standardized broadcast-embedded program guide, which is what cheapskate devices like the Homeworx depend on for timer settings. The Homeworx (and its clones) work tolerably for timeshifting, but not reliably, because the ATSC schedule data is often wrong to begin with or errors out while the unit samples it for timer status.
Other than generic Chinese units like the Homeworx with their DIY hard drive requirements, there are no longer any serious alternatives for antenna broadcast recording. Not to be unkind, but "cord cutting" is decidedly not
a solution for anyone with zero interest in paying any type of "subscription fees" whatsoever
. When the trend began ten years ago, it was spearheaded by youngsters who preferred streaming, and oldsters who still had the option of cheap WalMart-sourced ATSC broadcast DVD/HDD recorders. Today, decent recorders have disappeared, and the majority of cord cutters of all ages have a subscription to at least two streaming services (NetFlix, Hulu+) that obviate the need for recorders at all. The number of people who want to archive recordings permanently, or even need a recorder for timeshifting, has dwindled to nothing in the era of on-demand streaming anytime, anywhere, to any device.
So basically, you'll be living like your grandparents in the 1950s: watching only whatever you can get off the antenna at any given time. With some marginal recorder like the Homeworx perhaps adding a bit of VCR-style flexibility (minus the easy abilty to keep any recordings indefinitely, and minus truly reliable unattended timer recording). A subgroup of geeked-out wireheads here on AVS opt for computer-based recorders like Plex: all I will say there is "good luck with that" (I would rather gouge my eyes out and never watch TV again than deal with the horrendous crapfest we laughingly refer to as "PC Recorder Solutions" in the Windows 10 era).
The future is here, and it doesn't care whether some people don't like it. The rampant popularity of portable devices and streaming has nearly wiped out every other source technology. Broadcast "free" TV is losing its audience at a staggering rate: it may not even be viable in ten years time. Audiences have been literally halving year after year for even popular broadcast shows, eventually they'll have to hit the zero wall (except for sports and a handful of talent contests). So "cutting the cord" is an illusion for most: all we're really doing is changing to a different type of "cord"(with multiple small fees instead of one big monthly bill).