Free Your TV; Do not pay for cable!

Part of the Credit Card VC ethos, of course, is not spending money in the first place. That’s the thin thread I’m using to insert this meme into this blog.

One way to save a small pile of money every month and also save a bit of your sanity is to cut off your cable company. Now, I’m not talking about figuring out a way to get cable, and not pay for it, that would be wrong; the moral equivalent of downloading music without paying for it. Really, though, you shouldn’t have cable. If you have time to sit around and watch the Game Show Network, you are not spending the time you should be spending on your business.

This will not make you a Luddite. Indeed you can cut off cable, and the dish, and still be something of a video snob.

Here’s how:

  1. Buy an HDTV. The prices have come down enough, it’s time to do it.
  2. Get the rabbit ears antenna recommended for that TV. Do not go overboard and get one of those big ones from Radio Shack and kill yourself up on your roof.
  3. Put the rabbit ears as high as you can inside your house, if you can put it in an attic, that’s best.
  4. Go to and figure out which direction to point your antenna.
  5. In checking that out, you’ll realize that you get a lot of stations, more than enough for the times when you do need to veg out.
  6. OK, here’s bit that allows you to be a video snob: The signal broadcast by your local stations is essentially uncompressed, meaning that you will get better picture quality from that little rabbit-ears antenna than you would from cable or a dish! That’s right, the stations send out the whole picture over the air, but the carriers take that signal and smash it down so it will fit in the pipe with all the other channels. So when you are watching that amazing snowcone catch that almost helped the Mets into the world series, you will be able to see every seam on the ball better than your brethren watching on cable.

OK, I know I haven’t been at this blog long, and I’ve already referred to Mark Cuban’s blog a couple of times, but now I’m going to do it again. He recently asked “How do you get people to see a movie without spending a fortune on advertising?” He got a zillion responses. I didn’t read them all, but in my mind it’s easy: Work harder to get more Little Miss Sunshines made.

So, he didn’t ask, but here’s my suggestion for how to get a lot more traction for his HDNet: Broadcast it over the air.

Here in Denver we have all the big networks broadcasting in HD, as they must under federal mandate. But we also have a bunch of smaller ones, Christian broadcasters, even shopping networks. If they can get a broadcast license, so could HDNet. It would be a great publicity play for the Maverick to do an end-around on the cable and dish providers. Combined with the fact that he could tout his ability to send true uncompressed HD images and the market penetration the HD sets have reached, well, this would be a huge win for him.

So, Mark, what do I want for this million-dollar idea? Only that you start in Denver as a test market.


In my second go around as a Credit Card-Self-Venture-Capitalist.

1 Comment on “Free Your TV; Do not pay for cable!