I’ll be the first to admit that I own way more gadgetry than any sane person needs. Just on my desk right now, I have two laptops, half a dozen smartphones, two tablets, three sets of headphones, and two cameras.
But one of the best gadgets I own is a cheap, ugly piece of plastic. I’ve been using it for at least seven years, and it’s worked perfectly the entire time. It might be the best $10 investment I’ve ever made.
I’m talking, of course, about my TV antenna, which apparently is a relatively new concept to many of my fellow millennials. That’s at least, according to The Wall Street Journal, which recently published a much-maligned story about antenna sales being on the rise, thanks to younger generations’ newfound realization that you can, in fact, get some TV channels for free.
I’m not here to mock the people just learning about what’s more or less the same technology our grandparents used. But I can heartily endorse it as one of the best gadgets a cord-cutting TV addict can buy.
TV antennas are super cheap — you can find a bunch on Amazon for $30 or less — easy to set up, and even though they’re a little unsightly and need to be set in plain view, are totally worth the trouble.
Best of all: you get an easy way to watch a bunch of live TV you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Finally, you can cancel your cable subscription without having to kick your addiction to The Bachelor, NCIS, or sports. Seriously, you’d be surprised at how many channels you get for free.
There are a couple caveats, though. Exactly how many channels you end up getting will vary based on your location and antenna placement. (In my experience, even my old cheap antenna has picked up most major networks in almost any location but every area is different.) Additionally, some newer TVs, like those made by Vizio, don’t come with a built in tuner, so you can’t access over the air channels even if you have an antenna.
Also, you’ll have no choice but to suffer through commercials, which is a huge drag in 2017, but again, it’s free so it’s hard to complain.
So, if you love TV as much as I do but don’t have cable, there’s really no reason to pass on one of these cheap little antennas. It could easily be the best $10 you’ve ever spent.