Ever since the creation of streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and HuluPlus, the internet has been abuzz with comments and predictions about the future of entertainment. In a broader sense, streaming services are a step in the direction towards a market where television networks offer subscription packages.
With the ability to stream live TV, many people ask why they would ever need something like an HDTV antenna when they can just simply stream online. An understandable sentiment; but without support for Over-the-Air network television like ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS, streaming falls short of being a cable TV alternative.
If you think that with services like Netflix and Hulu that stream network television on demand you still won’t need an HDTV antenna; think again. Streaming television shows and movies is not necessarily superior to an HDTV antenna. To help you better understand what I mean, here are some reasons why an HDTV antenna is still a great investment.
1. You can get a DVR that works with an HDTV antenna
One of the biggest drawbacks of all streaming services, whether it be Sling TV or HBO Now, is that you cannot use a DVR to record shows and watch them later. If you are used to using a DVR, it is difficult to go back to watching only live TV 100 percent of the time.
With a good HD antenna and a DVR such as a TiVo or a Channel Master, you can record all of the major network shows and watch them at your leisure. The Channel Master is good, but I prefer the TiVo because it has many more features, making the DVR experience better.
2. You can get a more reliable picture with an HDTV antenna
Services like Netflix have an impressive content selection; however, that doesn’t mean that the content will look good. When you stream a television show or a movie online, you’re at the mercy of your ISP as well as the stability of the servers of the providers. For example, as wonderful as Amazon Instant Video is, it is known for having buffering issues when too many people are using the service at once. What that means for you as a consumer is that you may encounter buffering issues at peak times.
Of course, there is no buffering with OTA. With an HDTV antenna, you won’t have “loading” messages or fuzzy picture, just crystal clear 1080i HD picture. The quality of your signal will impact this, but you can get a good idea of what channels you can get with an antenna at antennaweb.org.
3. An HDTV antenna is less expensive than streaming services
At $8 a month, Netflix streaming is a relatively cheap, but purchasing an HDTV antenna is still a more cost effective option. You can purchase a high-quality antenna for between $90 to $130. Even if you have to pay an installer, it’s still a one-time cost. One year of Netflix costs $90, which is about the same price of a high-end antenna. Additionally, bundling the two is still significantly less than a traditional cable or satellite subscription.
4. An HDTV antenna is a good investment
Expanding off of the last point, an HDTV antenna is a good investment because it provides long lasting value. Just like other investments, you fork out a one-time payment for your antenna and it continues to pay ad infinitum in the form of free broadcast television. Yeah!
OTA television brought to you by your HDTV antenna will provide you and your family with years of entertainment for a relatively small upfront cost. In fact, the longer you enjoy network television over your antenna, the better the investment becomes. The only time you will need a new antenna is if it breaks, which is rare in calmer climates.
5. With an HDTV antenna, you can stay current on your favorite shows
While you can watch most of your favorite television shows on Netflix or Hulu, you will need to be patient to do so. With Netflix, for example, series are always one season behind. With Hulu, you have to wait one to several days before you can watch a new episode.
By comparison, there is no waiting with OTA television. You watch your favorite show when it airs, and if you have a DVR, you can record and then watch it again whenever you like. Additionally, there are many television events that are best enjoyed live, such as award shows, sports events, and other specials.
For all of these reasons, I think that a high-quality HDTV antenna paired with a good DVR like a TiVo are a must for any cord-cutter and even avid streamers. When you use one of the new TiVos, you can directly access your Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus or VUDU account without switching devices. With all of this at your fingers, you can access and enjoy thousands of movies and TV shows.