Did you know that out of all the available sources that you can watch TV from, the good old (and I mean “old” in the truest literal sense!) rabbit ears antenna will give you the best quality… Especially if you compare it on the bang for your bucks scale!
But seriously, it’s true.
Modern TV boxes now, to improve on efficiency, gets sent a compressed signal where it will get uncompressed on your end, decoded, and then played on your TV.
Rabbit ears are just two metal rods that sticks up in the air. They don’t have any CPU or any electrical components.
The ears just catches the raw signal, as is, decodes it, and plays it on your TV.
You get the exact same HD picture and sound, but one source has some extra work to do, uncompressing a signal before it can decode it and play it.
I was going to do this whole comparison, comparing a TV box uncompressing a signal to eating a steak that was previously frozen.. And the rabbit ears catching and decoding a raw, uncompressed signal to a the same steak cooked the same way, only, the steak was never frozen. But I decided not to (but I guess I kinda just did right now)
If you can actually get a decent signal, what you are getting through the air, is a raw, uncompressed, high definition video and audio source.
Regular TV set up boxes streams whatever it is that you are watching. So, to speed things up, the signal that you’ve requested to watch and is currently being sent to your TV box is COMPRESSED (kind of like a zip file) making it smaller before it gets sent to you. A smaller file means that there will be less resources used to send you more information, in less amount of time.
That whole compressing, sending, receiving, uncompressing, decoding, and then finally playing, can sometimes have an effect on the quality.
The best way that I can think of to help the non-geeks understand is to compare the process to food (because everyone has to eat and I’m pretty sure they’ve also have at one point in time, had also eaten something).
So think of getting a decent, raw, and uncompressed signal using rabbit ears as as eating a nicely cooked, fresh chunk of steak. It’s YUM!.. Right?
OK. Now, the whole TV Set Up box would be like eating that SAME piece of steak… Cooked exactly the same way and all that… Except for the fact that the steak was frozen at some point and was de-thawed.. (The compression would be like freezing the steak, and then the signal is received by your TV box on your end, and the box starts to uncompress the signal. That would be like the chef un-thawing the steak.)
The cooked steak, made from the once frozen piece of steak is STILL yum!
Most people probably wouldn’t be able to tell if their steak was previously frozen or not. The fact is, most people would totally believe it if they were told that it was fresh and never frozen.
But if you tested the two side by side, you’ll definitely notice a difference… Especially for the steak lovers out there.
And that’s the same thing with the rabbit ears.
You can get HD channels with both the box and the rabbit ears. One has the hardware to compress and uncompress a signal while the other… Well, it’s just two metal sticks with no moving parts.. So it does absolutely nothing except pick up a signal for you.
With today’s modern technology, the difference between a raw uncompressed signal and a compressed and uncompressed signal is nothing.
So what was the point of this post?
Well, I guess I was just trying to raise the awareness of the alternatives available to you.
I bet that for most of you guys, before reading this, you all probably thought that the rabbit ears were old, out dated, and were probably phased out.. Right?
For the millennials, you guys probably have no idea what I am even talking about.
But no. Rabbit ears are definitely STILL a thing, and the technology is still very much being used.
Why haven’t you heard anything about it until now?
Well, because it’s FREE! Think about it. How much are you paying for basic cable right now?
A quick Google search for my local area told me that Shaw charges $45.00’ish per month, just for basic cable. Sure they advertise a $29.95 price tag, but that’s only for the first 3 or 6 month, depending on which contract you sign.
And Telus? What do they charge?
I have no F***ing clue!
Their web site shows that they have “essential” plans starting from $15.00/month. But if I click on the price for “TV Only”, it tells me that it will cost me $38.00/month, but if I’m a new customer, I will only be paying $20.00/month for 6 months if I sign a 2 year contract.
OK. Now ask me how much it will cost per month using rabbit ears!
Sure, you only get like 12 channels compared to the “up to 55 channels” that you would get if you decide to pay for the service, but let me ask you this:
Out of the 55 channels that you may get… How many do you actually think you would regularly watch?
So, sure. You may only get 12 channels with the rabbit ears, but those 12 channels are the main, popular channels. The same 12 channels that you would probably ONLY watch out of the 55 channels that you would get for $50.00/month.
I don’t know. If I am wrong, then I am wrong. I can only speak through my own personal experiences. And from my own experiences, there are really only a few channels that play anything that I am interested in – Global, CTV, City, and CBC. Four! I’ll have those four channels programmed on my remote, and when I’m channel surfing, I’ll just switch back and forth between those four channels.
If you are ANYTHING like me, you’ll find all the other channels that are included in the basic cable package, totally useless. So for me personally, I wouldn’t be able to to justify spending X amount of dollars a month, when I can do the exact same thing and pay nothing!
So maybe that is why you haven’t really heard anything about the rabbit ears, nor think that such an old piece of equipment, still works.
If the public knew that they were suckers and have been paying a large chunk of their pay cheque to a cable company for something that they could have been getting for free, the cable companies would lose a large chunk of their monthly income.
Unless they can figure out how to capitalize on the OTA broadcast signals, it would be in their best interest to keep everyone in the dark about this and to keep on suckering the public into signing up for a 1 or 2 year contract, promising to them X amount of dollars for something they could get for free..
Why the contract?
It’s pretty obvious! Because if the client finds out about the rabbit ears 2 months into a 1 year contract, the client is still legally chained to the cable company for another 10 months before they can go on their separate ways and get themselves a set of ears to use.
But by then, the company would have milked $500.00 from the client, and, or, the client would have totally forgotten about the rabbit ears, forgotten to exit out of the contract, and, depending on how the old contract was set up, the cable company could have automatically renewed the contract on a month to month basis (contracts are evil!! ).