The number of customers looking to cut the cord on cable TV—and the high price—continues to increase, and at least one company is eager to help by melding Internet TV and its old-fashioned broadcast counterpart, the TV antenna.
A Nielsen study that focused on the third quarter of 2011 (the most recent data that’s available) found that the number of U.S. households that had only broadband Internet service and broadcast TV is 5.1 million, which represents a 23 percent jump from fall 2010.
Most cable programming now can be found online, either free or for the cost of a subscription to websites that stream the material, but broadcast TV is necessary, because some programs, such as major sports events or awards shows, are difficult to find online. A purchase of up to $150 for an antenna delivers those shows—plus other broadcast TV programming that’s in high definition—free.
Boxee, which provides a set-top box to stream Internet TV ($180), in January 2012 added an antenna accessory, which costs $50. Boxee spokesperson Andrew Kippen says because the average cable bill runs $75 per month, consumers can make up the price difference for Internet TV and an antenna in 3 months.
Of course, a broadcast/broadband Internet package might not provide as many channels as a cable subscription does, but it allows you to avoid paying for channels that you don’t watch.