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Cord Cutting FAQs

There's a lot of information to learn and understand when you're thinking of cutting the cord. Here are a few of our most popular frequently asked questions to help you better understand your options. And you can always contact Cable Alternatives directly to discuss your individual situation!

How does an antenna work?
An over-the-air (OTA) antenna works by pulling in TV signals from the air, much like a radio. In years past it was the only way to watch TV, but unlike years past, technology has seen great improvements and now provides a fantastic digital High-Definition picture.

Will an antenna work with my TV?
Yes. Most TVs purchased after 2007 will work with an over-the-air antenna without any additional equipment. If you purchased an older model TV, you may still need a converter box to receive the digital antenna signal.

Will I lose picture in bad weather?
No. Unlike satellite, a properly installed OTA antenna in the metro will likely never lose picture in a storm or high winds. This is critical when it comes to severe weather, and something we take a lot of pride in. For most installations we offer a signal guarantee: if you lose picture for any reason, we will come out and fix it for free.

What if I’ve tried an antenna and it doesn't work?
Despite their high price and glossy boxes, many indoor antennas and some outdoor antennas are simply not good quality. Additionally, how you place an antenna in your home matters just as much as which antenna you use. At Cable Alternatives our experienced professional installers use signal meters to match you with the best antenna in the right position. Customers are often amazed at how much we are able to improve their reception. We are able to offer a signal guarantee for most of our metro area customers. It's on us if we can't get it right!

What channels will I get with an antenna?
With an OTA antenna you will receive 20 to 30 channels in the Twin Cities metro area. This includes all the major broadcast channels, such as ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CW and PBS. See a complete list of the channels available over-the-air here.

Will the picture quality of an antenna be as clear as cable?
Yes – even clearer! Cable and satellite companies compress multiple channels into a signal which leads to a lower quality picture on your TV. In fact, high-end home theater owners use an antenna to get the best picture from their systems.

Do I need an antenna on my roof?
Not always. Depending on your location in the cities you may be able to install an antenna in your attic or other parts of your home. We’ll work with you to determine the best type of antenna and location for your home.

My cable/satellite company says I can't get a TV signal with an antenna, is that true?
No! Antennas work quite well for most homes, contrary to what your cable/satellite company would have you believe. Still not convinced? Your cable company probably never lies, right? Contact us and we’ll show you how easy it is to get TV over-the-air. And if it doesn’t work, we’ll even hook your cable back up.

Does each TV in my house need an antenna?
No. A centrally located antenna can hook up to all of your TVs at the same time. It works just like cable but without the cost.

I live outside the metro area, can I still get an over-the-air signal with an antenna?
Yes. You can use an antenna to receive Twin Cities stations as far away as St. Cloud, Faribault and beyond.

I have an old antenna on my roof/attic – will it work for my TV?
It never hurts to test your old antenna. It's a common misconception that old antennas can't receive digital signals. However, some old antennas are not able to receive frequencies on which digital signals are transmitted. We will test your current antenna and see if it will work with your TV. If it doesn’t, we can help you select a new antenna for your home.
What is streaming?
Streaming is a way to watch TV or movies through an internet connection with your computer or handheld device, or through your TV with the aid of a streaming device such as a Roku or Apple TV.

What streaming services are available?
There are three main streaming services: Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. There are also hundreds of smaller streaming services available. We can help you decide which services meet your viewing needs.

Can you help me understand Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other streaming services?
Of Course! Netflix, and Amazon are on-demand services that have thousands of TV shows and movies available to watch anytime. We love these services and would be happy to talk with you about how they would help you.

What shows can I watch streaming?
The better question to ask is what shows can't you watch through streaming! With the debut of streaming services such as Sling and Playstation Vue, you can watch nearly everything, even all your sports, through streaming.

How do I stream TV shows?
If you have an internet connection you are nearly set. Your internet, along with a streaming service subscription, will allow you to watch your shows on your electronic devices. To stream to your TV you will need to add a streaming device like a Roku or Apple TV. Our streaming devices are listed here.

What streaming device should I use?
There are three main streaming devices available for use. They are listed on our website with some pros and cons linked here. Contact us and we can help you decide which device will best suit your needs.
What is cord cutting?
Cord cutting is the process of getting rid of your cable or satellite TV by using an antenna and/or streaming services to watch the shows you want. The phenomenon has caught on in the last few years as cable bills have skyrocketed and more content is available via the internet and antennas.

What does a common cord cutting setup look like?
Our most popular option is an antenna installation with a TiVo DVR and a Netflix subscription, but your setup may be different based on your individual needs. Cable Alternatives can help you determine the best solution for your viewing needs.

How much money will I save by cutting the cord?
Cable Alternatives customers on average save $100 per month from what they were paying with cable or satellite. Each situation is different, and at Cable Alternatives we’re happy to talk with you to help determine how much you will save.

Can I still watch sports without cable?
Absolutely! There are many low cost streaming services out there like Sling and Playstation Vue which allow you to watch Fox Sports North, ESPN, Golf Channel, and just about any other sports channel you can think of.

How much does it cost to cut the cord?
There are some up front costs for equipment in order to cut the cord. Cable Alternatives customers spend anywhere from $200 - $600, however we have financing options available for a monthly payment below what you pay for cable or satellite now. We will work with you to determine your exact costs, which are based on what you need to get the shows you want. Most people pay over $1,200 a year for cable or satellite, so your small investment up front pays for itself almost immediately!

Can I use a DVR without cable?
Yes. A DVR does not require a cable subscription. You can enjoy a TiVo with its award winning interface, or other DVR with an antenna, and still enjoy the flexibility to watch shows you want on your schedule without the cable or satellite price. Click here to learn about the DVRs we offer.

What channels can I get when I cut the cord?
We always recommend an antenna, which will get you NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, PBS and CW for no monthly fee. A full list of channels available with an antenna is here. In addition, streaming services such as Sling and Playstation Vue have many of the cable channels you're used to getting, including sports. Generally, we recommend Netflix as your first streaming service, unless you're a big sports fan.

What is over-the-air TV?
A digital high-definition broadcast signal that you can receive for free with an antenna.

Can I still watch my TV shows?
Yes! 99% of the content available on cable or satellite can be found for free with an antenna or through one of the many streaming services available with an internet connection.
How do I get internet and wifi once I cut the cord?
If you had internet through your cable company as part of a package, you can get a stand-alone internet subscription from the cable company for between $40-$70 per month depending on your provider and your speed needs. In many areas, a legacy landline phone provider, such as Centurylink or Frontier, also offers internet service.

What internet speed do I need once I cut the cord?
Depending on your household size, speeds of 15-20 mb/s are sufficient for most. If you have one to two people in your household and you mostly watch broadcast TV, 12 mb/s is good. If your household is larger (5+) and you do a lot of streaming, you may want to consider 25 mb/s or more. Avoid temporary speed enhancing services, such as blast. It's generally good to start with a lower speed service and then upgrade if you think it’s necessary.

Can you help me with my wifi and home networking?
Of course we can. We've got the expertise and equipment knowledge to get your home fully covered in Wifi. Additionally, we can run ethernet wiring throughout your house to help ensure stable streams to all of your televisions.

Should I lease or buy my modem?
Many times people are unaware that they can purchase the cable or DSL modem that they lease from their providers. It's almost always a better idea to buy a modem than lease it. Cable Alternatives has the knowledge to help you select and install the proper modem for your setup so you save money while getting the fastest internet possible.

We can make the cutting simple!

We know it may be a tough decision to get rid of cable and to make the switch, but we’re here to make it simple for you as a Cord Cutter! If you want to spend less for television and want a cable free lifestyle, then look no further than Cable Alternatives.

Not sure if you’re ready Cut the Cord?