Like everywhere else across Canada, Vancouver’s cable bills are rising and subscription rates are dwindling. However, making a comeback from the dark ages is the use of TV antennas, except this time around they are receiving digital not analog signals. Many Canadians do not know that TV broadcasters’ conversion to digital signals provided free HD channels since the transition only finalized last August 2011. For Vancouver citizens, this provides another tool to avoid paying the cable man since local channels are available for free. With the right setup (see Barry Link’s “The Practical Geek Series: Part 1 & Part 2 in the Vancouver Courier) citizens can avoid paying the cable man while still accessing great content. Here are three steps to get started on receiving free TV Content:
Step 1: Find out what TV channels you can receive in Vancouver
Like Toronto, Vancouver is a hotbed for digital OTA (over the air) television signals from both US and Canadian TV broadcasters. This means living rooms across Vancouver are filled with free television channels and all that’s needed to capture them is an antenna. Depending on your location in Vancouver the amount and quality of these free TV channels may differ, to find out what’s available in your area simply plug your address into TV Fool’s “TV Signal Locator” tool. The result will be a report of available channels, their strength and proximity to your location. The map below shows a bird-eyes view of broadcast towers coverage in the Vancouver area – the green area is ripe for great reception!
Step 2: Setup your Digital Living Room without Cable
Setting up a digital living room without inviting the cable man and still receiving all your television content is easy. A simple TV antenna and HDTV will work for those that want to rely solely on OTA television channels; however, there are a variety of multi-media entertainment devices that compliment an indoor antenna. We created a list of devices that connect to our NV20 Pro antenna here. Many provide access to online video services like Netflix which delivers on-demand access to 1, 000’s of Television shows and movies for $7.99/month. No matter what setup you choose, living life without cable is not only possible, it’s rewarding to both your pocket book and choice of video entertainment.
Step 3: Make your own Television Guide
Let’s face it the one advantage of Cable is having that lovely and comforting television guide to refer to when you just want to “veg” out. But the monthly cost coupled with the inconvenience of having a defined schedule of shows greatly reduces cables appeal. “TV Guide.ca” offers a great feature that gives you the value of a Television Schedule without signing up for cable, their Vancouver OTA broadcast lineup can be found here. If you want to go a step further and use a PVR (personal video recorder) to record shows, read Tech Radar’s guide on how to customize a TV schedule using free online tools.
Overall, in Vancouver and across Canada resources are available to ditch cable and still receive really great TV programming. For many folks this starts with receiving free OTA TV signals and continues on to exploring the variety of digital entertainment devices available. Whatever your setup, saying “Goodbye” to cable will keep money in your pocket and put a smile on your face J