Disclosure of Material Relationship: I received for free from Mohu three of their top selling antennas to try out at my home. I was not obligated to write this post, and the opinions I share below are my own. I am additionally an affiliate of Mohu, which means that I receive a small commission if you click thru the links in this post to make a purchase.
There’s been a lot of talk on this blog lately about saving money thru great deals. But one of the best deals my husband and I have scored over the last seven years has been our decision to cut the cord – the cable cord that is.
About two months into our ‘Get Out of Debt’ journey, we decided to unplug. That simple decision (although it was admittedly agonized over by some of us!) has saved us thousands of dollars over the last several years.
According to the FCC, the average cost of the expanded cable package is just shy of $65 per month ($64.41). And if you want HD cable, or any of the movie channels, your bill would be even higher.
Calculating our savings based on just that basic package, we’ve saved $5460 in seven years!
The truth is that cutting cable was easier than I would have thought before we finally took the plunge. In all those years of having cable, how often did I bemoan the fact that there was “nothing to watch”? (Very often!)
Thanks to the ubiquity of streaming services, popular cable and network TV series can be streamed from Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime — or even checked out from the library. Many of my favorite shows (The Good Wife, Scandal) are even available online within a day (or a week, depending on the network).
But for sports and news, us cord-cutters have to go a bit old school and use an antenna. Our family isn’t much into the nightly news (we, by and large, get our current events from our computers), but we do quite enjoy sports. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a Sunday go by at my house without some game(s) being watched!
When we first cut cable, we knew we would need access to the local channels for our sports fix, so my husband headed out to Radio Shack and got a set of bunny ears. They did absolutely nothing for us, other than get us crystal clear reception of the 700 Channel.
We returned them for a more expensive HD version – which did get us all the channels, although we occasionally had issues with pixilation. We lived with that imperfection though, since our TV-watching is pretty much limited to Sunday afternoons. Then a few years ago, we had an antenna installed in our attic and the reception was flawless. This antenna cost us about $200 – and we had our contractor install it when he was doing other work in attic anyway. The whole operation ended up costing us roughly 4 months of a cable bill.
When we moved to Cleveland this past summer, we left that antenna in the attic and reverted back to our old HD antenna. While it had worked pretty well in Kansas, the towers in Cleveland are further away – and there are more “obstructions”. With that same antenna in Ohio, we get far fewer channels with many more interruptions.
We once again started to research antennas and kept coming back to the solution of installing something on the roof or in the attic. I was dragging my feet on making a decision, since I wasn’t too keen on spending a few hundred dollars on television – especially when we had so many other expenses associated with moving into a new house.
Sometimes procrastination pays! Last month, I had the good fortune of meeting the man behind the Mohu antennas at a conference I attended.
Based on technology developed for the US Military, Mohu offers two different indoor antennas that take up virtually no space at all: The Leaf 30 and the Leaf 50. These are two of the smallest, least obtrusive and most powerful antennas on the market. And best of all, they are incredibly affordable. The Leaf 30 costs $39.99, while the Leaf 50 runs $69.99. That’s less than most people are spending on just one month of cable! (Note: You get FREE shipping on either when you use the coupon code FreeShipping30 at checkout.)
Both antennas are roughly the size of an 8.5”x 11” piece of paper – and not much thicker than that either. They are a flexible, laminated plastic — white on one side, black on the other. They can be mounted anywhere in your house with a simple tack or piece of double-sided velcro.
The lovely people at Mohu sent my family one of each of the Leaf 30 and the Leaf 50 to try out at our house. I’m far from the most technically inclined individual, so I left the “installation” to my husband. I put installation in quotes, since mind you, it’s a matter of plugging the included cord into the TV coax outlet (I think that’s what it’s called!). The Leaf 50 gets plugged into an electrical outlet as well as your TV, which helps boost your range. Don’t worry – there are directions that come with it and they’re simple to follow.
We tried both the standard Leaf version (30) and the amplified one (50) and got good reception with both. We did get several more channels with the 50, so that’s the one that we have in our bedroom. For example, with the 30, we didn’t get PBS or Fox.
The Leaf 50 will pull in channels from up to 50 miles away (with no obstructions), while the 30 will work with towers up to 30 miles away. With each version of the Leaf, the channels we got came in crystal clear high def reception. Watching sporting events is a pleasure!
Unlike rabbit ear antennas, you don’t need to adjust, twist or point the Leaf. That said, we did find that we got better reception when we placed the Leaf near a window (or at least on a wall with a window). My preference, aesthetically, was to hang the antenna behind the TV as I had seen some people post about in their blogs – I just don’t like the look of a lot of cords. Unfortunately, the wall that our TV is on is perpendicular to a window. So for now, the Leaf is just sort of dangling over a picture on my window wall. Very attractive. Eventually I will tack it up on the wall, tucked underneath that same picture it’s draped over now. Or perhaps I’ll just mount it to the bedroom window like in this picture.
(Note: My husband says the aesthetics are irrelevant to the functioning of the antenna, but I actually think these things matter, too. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I love the Leaf – it’s so thin and inconspicuous!)
If you’ve wanted to give cutting the cord a go, I definitely highly recommend the Leafs. The 50 is giving us crystal clear HD picture for over 40 channels (of which I watch about 5, but still good to know!).
Not sure you want to commit to fulling untethering? Why not try disconnecting one TV from the cable jack and hook up the Leaf instead – see what you think for yourself! If you’re not sure which Leaf you need, just type your zip code into the Mohu homepage and the widget will pull up all the specifications of your area and make a recommendation.