Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Antenna usage is up in the USA

Once upon a time, the way to watch TV was with an antenna. Then along came cable. And satellite. And now streaming.

The thing about streaming is that it plays well with antenna. Well, satellite does too, to a degree. Cable, not so much.

Cable essentially did away with the need for antenna, because cable systems carried the local channels. And cable was how many of us watched TV.

Satellite worked better with an antenna, because local channels weren't on satellite -- well, unless local was New York or Los Angeles.

With streaming, there is the option to watch locals from some live streaming services, but a streamer can save money with a cheaper service if local channels are available via antenna.

Even people who don't stream can watch a lot of content with an antenna, and may find that there is a lot to watch over the air.

According to Neilsen, the number of people watching TV over the air has continued to increase, and is 18.6 million households, abut 15% of the country.

Now, 15% is a lot less than nearly 100%, as it used to be before cable, but it's an increase over a year ago, and up from 10% a decade ago. That goes along with a drop in cable subscribers.

While over-the-air homes have grown, the share of homes with cable, satellite or telco pay-TV services -- what Nielsen calls Cable Plus has shrunk to 57% in the fourth quarter from 76% in 2018. Broadband only homes increase to 27% from 9% over the same interval.

I've been happy with my antenna, and continue to use it. For me, I don't subscribe to a live streaming service, as I can find enough live TV from my antenna or from free services with my streaming device.

If you don't have an antenna supplementing your Streaming Life, it may be worth considering.

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