TVs & Home Theaters forum


Alternatives to Cable TV? Internet? Antenna?

by lpaul626 / January 15, 2013 10:00 PM PST

Hi folks!

First post here. Curious as to the best alternatives to cable TV for a vacation home. I"m paying a ridiculous amount of money for basic cable (20 channels) for my vacation home in ski country. We're there 3 weekends per month.

We basically watch local channels, news, etc. Are there digital antennas that would suffice? If so, which ones? I do have internet service and we do stream with Netflix/Apple TV using an Ipad. Any internet-based options?

Other suggestions?


Answer This Ask For Clarification
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Alternatives to Cable TV? Internet? Antenna?
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Alternatives to Cable TV? Internet? Antenna?
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Clarification Request
Depends where you are located (OTA)/Slingbox as alternative
by Pepe7 / January 15, 2013 11:21 PM PST

Proximity to the broadcasting antenna still makes a difference, along with topography when reception is concerned. In fact, receiving digital broadcasts (ATSC) is a little harder than the older analog system (NTSC) broadcasts. While I could always receive even a snowy picture way back, now a digital one breaks apart/goes way if minimum threshold is not met. The bottom line is you need to verify your proximity to the broadcaster antenna sites using web sites such as If you could provide your zip code, we can assist. The site gives you an idea of what type of antenna you will require too.

Essentially though, you ideally would be using an outdoor/rooftop mounted antenna for best OTA (over the air) reception. Internet is currently a no-go as a complete substitute for OTA live content unfortunately. Only select streams/live broadcast are available currently in the US, with the exception of NYC anyway (Aereo service).

If you want to not deal with any sort of infrastructure issues/installation costs as such, you might look into using Slingbox to stream your home cable or satellite content over the internet to your vacation home. There's a thread here on some various user experiences/hardware used. There are also some Slingbox dedicated discussion forums if you look around a little.


Collapse -
Cable alternative
by lpaul626 / January 16, 2013 1:06 AM PST

Thanks Pedro. I should have also mentioned that I ran my zip code at and only one channel was returned (remote area in the mountains). Sounds like Slingbox might be my most cost effective option.

Collapse -
Which mtns?
by Pepe7 / January 16, 2013 9:46 AM PST
In reply to: Cable alternative

Just curious. Utah? CO? My faves for skiing & snowboarding anyway.

Collapse -
Ski Country
by lpaul626 / January 16, 2013 9:36 PM PST
In reply to: Which mtns?

I'm in Conway, NH.

BTW - I picked up the Slingbox 500 per Pedro's recommendation. I got it hooked up and it works great (knock on wood!) on my iPad. Why didn't I think of this sooner?!?!?

Anyway . . . . tried to cancel my television service with TW, and since I didn't have my bill (PIN) despite giving them everythign else, they wouldn't cancel. Arghh . . . .

Now it's time to find a phone alternative!

Collapse -
This is why companies often require a PIN...
by Pepe7 / January 17, 2013 12:56 AM PST
In reply to: Ski Country

...even when the authorized bill owner is making the request. It's simple- someone could quickly hijack your info and make unauthorized changes otherwise. Funny story- my friend had subletters when he left his condo for Europe for two years. Unknown to him, they somehow figured out how to switch over his cable to DSL, etc. (He probably sent his renters a copy of the cable bill w/o the account numbers redacted.) What a hot mess(!)

A phone alternative is even easier. Just find a decent VoIP service. If there's nothing decent in the way of cellular reception, simply use some type of phone service (VoIP, mostly) that can piggyback onto your broadband at the cabin. Done. The web site has a lot of useful info on that topic, FWIW.

More importantly, how's the powder up there this year? Wink

Popular Forums
Computer Help 51,224 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,453 discussions
Laptops 20,090 discussions
Security 30,722 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 20,937 discussions
Windows 10 1,295 discussions
Phones 16,252 discussions
Windows 7 7,684 discussions
Networking & Wireless 15,215 discussions

Finding the best 360 camera

GoPro, Pixpro, or Ricoh?

You can spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a 360-degree camera. We tested three of them to find out what kind of quality and ease of use you can expect at each price point.