(Toledo News Now) - Tired of high cable and satellite bills, but afraid to downgrade to a basic TV antenna, because you know how poor reception can be? We've found a new solution to high TV bills that costs just $2.
Anyone who has ever used "rabbit ear" antennas to pick up high definition, digital TV channels knows how frustrating they can be. If the antenna is not tweaked just perfectly, the picture goes to black.
An expensive attic antenna is a good alternative, but that can cost $200 or more.
Some people are now picking up dozens of TV stations in crystal clear HD, with items they have in their kitchen pantry.
Hated Paying For TV
Mike and Erin Shelle are a young couple who loved watching TV, but hated their big cable bill. So now they watch dozens of high definition channels for free, thanks to a homemade antenna.
"We like to show it off and say, 'look at our piece of junk that we get our HD channels with,'" Erin Shelle said. "They are always surprised and think we are lying."
After all, how could a gizmo made of scrap wood and cut up coat hangars do anything? But it works.
A growing number of people -- like the Shelles -- are now getting on Google and YouTube and finding plans to build their own TV antennas, after growing frustrated with lousy store-bought devices.
Frustrated, Makes His Own
Jim Mohr is another pioneer.
"I had one of those $50 antennas my brother gave me, and it just kept losing the channel all the time," Mohr said.
Frustrated with his TV reception cutting in and out, he found plans online for a cardboard and aluminum foil antenna.
"They said they were much better than traditional antennas, that they pick up the channels better, and I didn't believe them at first," said Mohr.
So he grabbed $2 worth of aluminum foil and cardboard from a box he was throwing away. He traced a template, cut out the pieces, and built his own antenna.
The result? He made an antenna that gives him local channels even crisper than the cable signal he used to watch.
"I get over 37 channels and sub-channels from Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio," Mohr said.
Back in the Shelle's home, Erin still can't believe what her husband built from the coat hangers they brought home from the dry cleaners.
"I was shocked. The whole time we were building it I said, 'you're wasting your time, it's a piece of junk, I really don't think it's going to work.'"
But it did.
These two families are now watching the big four networks, plus more than a dozen sub-channels and PBS stations, with no monthly fees.
Still Want Cable?
Of course, a lot of people still want their cable channels, like ESPN and HBO.
In that case, check out our report on great ways to slash your cable and Internet bill, while still keeping your service.
Also, see a breakdown on which streaming option is best if you decide to go that route.
That way you don't waste your money.
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