July 30, 2010

How to Not Get Hit By Lightning

 So we've decided to regress - we're giving up our AT&T Uverse and going cheap!  We're just doing a $10 per month Netflix subscription and free local channels.  Netflix is pretty great so far - it streams through our Wii so there's no box to get (or get blamed and charged $300 for not sending it back when you DID send it back and then get a collection letter and finally get them off your back after 4 months for giving up time to call them a few times a week and tell them you DID send their stupid box).  Boy, I hope that never happens to me...

Anyway, we've had some pretty shabby experiences with just about every little antenna/rabbit ears that we've ever bought, even the ones that we paid a little more for.  I did some research and found a GREAT antenna - the EZ HD Antenna! http://www.dennysantennaservice.com/index.html
I was a little nervous about a roof antenna...my Dad is a Ham Radio Operator and I remember the GARGANTUAN antenna on the top of our house growing up.  I didn't think the homeowner's association would look too kindly upon an antenna that's bigger than the actual house.  The EZ HD Antenna is pretty small though, comparatively.  

This thing was only $65 (as much as a month of AT&T) and you can get great HD reception and about 56 channels.  Granted, 25 of them are in Spanish, 3 in Vietnamese, and 2 in Chinese, but I've always wanted to learn another language!

After a long conversation with my electronic-genius Dad, I set about putting the thing up.  And here you go - HOW DO YOU NOT GET HIT BY LIGHTNING?  By putting your antenna on a giant, garish metal pole in the ground!

I had to take off an old dish from who-knows-when to make some room...here it is dead on the ground.  Take THAT, paid TV service!!

The antenna installation itself was pretty easy.  AND it's behind the roof so you can't see it from the street!

The antenna cable comes in through a vent in the roof.

The hardest part about this whole thing was getting the cable from our TV up to the attic to connect to the antenna cable.  We had some water damage on the wall that our TV is on right after we moved in, so when the guys replaced the wall we asked them to run all our TV cables behind the wall so none of them show.  That turned out to be one of our best ideas ever, but of course the ONE coaxial cable we need for hooking up an antenna, we did not have them put in.  Sooooo I spent a beautiful hour or two in the 105 degree attic contorted, sweating, skin full of fiberglass insulation to feed the cord down the wall to Allison in the living room, who had her hand crammed in the box where the other wires come out trying to grab the wire I stuck down there.  I even managed to hit my head on an exposed nail and nearly bled to death.  Ok that may be a little dramatic, but I did bleed!

6 hours, 2 shirts, 3 gallons of lost fluid, and one head wound later, viola!  The BBC's Michael Something-or-Other in High Definition!  (Never to be paid for again!!)

Now, the take away :-)  This may be my greatest piece of advice for you, if you're the wire/cord/cable buying type.  
(Thank you, Graham Seckinger)

Have you ever felt like an idiot shelling out possibly hundreds of dollars for HDMI (or any other) cables??  I did!  When I (or rather, Obama's tax credit) bought our plasma TV, I spent just over $300 on the HDMI cables we needed.  $300!!  I complained about on Facebook the next day about how ridiculous it is to pay that much for a TV cable and a friend of mine told me to return those cables and go to...  wait for it......    ..............

This is the greatest thing EVER.  Let's compare, shall we?  
16 foot HDMI Cable (What you need to connect your nice TV to cable box/Bluray, etc.)
Best Buy - $149.98
Monoprice.com - $15.76 (for a 20 foot cable!!!!)

25 foot Premium HDMI Cable (rated for in-wall installation, no less)
Best Buy - $418.99  (are you KIDDING ME???)
Monoprice.com - $16.92

These cable are the SAME THING.  The Monoprice cables are professional grade (usually thicker and nicer than the ones sold in stores).  The guy who put them in our wall commented on how nice and sturdy the cables were!  The Best Buy ones sometimes look prettier, but it's going in the wall, for goodness' sake!  I get kind of worked up about this because I felt pretty taken-advantage-of by stupid Best Buy.  

Moral of the story - Go to Monoprice.com for any cable you need, ever.  I bought three 25 foot coaxial cables for this particular antenna installation.   Best Buy price?  $20.99 each.  Monoprice. com? $13.99 for ALL THREE.  

Monoprice.com need to pay me a commission!!

You're welcome :-)
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  1. I was worried when I saw the head injury xrays from afar on facebook... I figured someone fell off the roof. : )

  2. You are lucky to be alive but I'm proud of you!!