There are options to cable TV

A lot of people have complained that Richmond TV channels are not carried by the local cable company.

Despite being closer to Richmond, the Historic Triangle is assigned to a different designated marketing area than Richmond. A DMA is a region where the population receives the same television offerings. We are in the Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News DMA. It runs from northern North Carolina to the New Kent/King and Queen/Middlesex borders.

Cable providers are not required to provide channels outside of an assigned DMA, and with the low populations our counties have versus the cities, it really is not profitable for them to do so. Our assigned DMA will never change.

However, many people have or are looking into roof antennas. From my home in Toano, I can receive 58 channels. This includes all of the Richmond, Newport News, Hampton and Norfolk channels.

The best solution is a roof antenna with a rotor and an amplifier. If you no longer have cable or are dropping it, you can connect the antenna to where your cable TV enters your house. All of your jacks will then receive the over the air TV signal. Most TVs have an OTA RF jack input. If you want to record shows, there are DVR solutions from several manufacturers.

The advantages of an OTA signal are that it is free, uncompressed and the service never has an outage. Combined with a streaming service, you can cut the cord and still see most of the channels you like. If you like NFL football, Richmond CBS covers different games than Norfolk CBS, giving you more choices.

The disadvantages include the upfront equipment cost, installing the antenna, obstructed signal — OTA is line of sight — and some homes are not allowed a roof antenna and would have to use a less powerful amplified indoor one.

If an antenna solution will not work for you, there are streaming services with local channels. While not free, they are generally a lot cheaper than cable service. I am not knocking the cable company, but there are literally hundreds of channels you would never watch and you are paying for them, whether you watch them or not. It makes no difference which cable or satellite provider you use, they all do the same thing.

Michael Grimes

Norge

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