(DIY cord-cutting in US) "Young TV viewers turn to antennae to escape cable prices"


RELEASE: While it’s no secret that antenna use is on the rise in the age of cord cutting, a new survey by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) includes a surprising detail about just who is turning to this decades-old way to watch free TV. Last year, 31% of U.S. households had an antenna hooked up to at least one television, up from 28% in 2015, but among 25- to 34-year-olds, antenna adoption was even higher than average, at 45%.

Meanwhile, just 19% of homes in the 65 to 74 age demographic used an antenna last year. Income was not a factor in antenna ownership, the CTA says, suggesting that practically everyone is looking to escape cable’s inflating prices, regardless of financial status.

Antenna use is now the highest it’s been since 2005, and cable and satellite TV are in steady decline. Cable adoption was at 44% last year, versus 61% in 2008, while satellite TV has fallen from 31% in 2008 to 24% last year. Those downward trends will continue in 2019, with Charter and Comcast losing 145,000 and 107,000 TV subscribers, respectively, last quarter, and AT&T shedding 544,000 DirecTV satellite and U-Verse customers.

With Leichtman Research Group reporting an average monthly pay TV bill of $107 last year, combining free broadcast TV with cheaper streaming services makes for a pretty good alternative.

NOTE: There are a few households out there actually subscribing to the ultra-lowest tier package that a service offers, which in some cases can consist of little more than those very over-the-air stations that they be could be getting for free (plus often minus the subchannels of those broadcast stations). With respect to that viewer minority, it literally is a tad puzzling to be making a monthly payment for such (especially if that bottom-feeder package is still SDTV quality, in contrast to antenna reception at least being conventional high-definition).

On top of that, but likewise minus the subchannels, YahooView offers the same programming online (commercial-supported rather than payed access). Some network shows are delayed by a week on YahooView, but what the heck is that compared to uselessly paying for any basement deal that's already restricted largely if not wholly to over-the-air television? (For those outside the US: YahooView)

Back to the former: Unless they happen to live very near to all the transmitters of their area, they'll probably need an amplified indoor antenna (that actually works) in order to pick-up all the available stations reliably. Further away, they'll need an outdoor antenna that's likewise amplified (digital signals are quirkier than the old analog kind).

Apart from a few cable exceptions like TWD and GoT, broadcast network shows ironically still pull in the higher ratings. No doubt that those who need a daily fix of F___ or C___ uttered every 90-seconds, along with ample nudity, consider broadcast TV to be inferior. But this again pertains to those already subscribing to the most rudimentary cable or satellite plan-deals out there, which don't feature even middle-of-the-road channels, much less the prestige ones.

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