Antenna TV Research 2018

I created the Platteville HDTV Antenna and Streaming page to be dedicated to both streaming tv and local antenna tv solutions. For Platteville WI area residents, you can replace costly CenturyLink/DirectTV/Dish with a lighter package of live streaming cable channels and Madison broadcast channels.

CenturyLink no longer allows Platteville residents to sign up for PrismTV. Pushing new customers to DirectTV. CenturyLink will sell DirectTV to you as a “bundle discount”, but it is actually the same price as unbundled if you were to purchase seperate. The cheapest plan from DirectTV costs $70, on top of what you already pay to CenturyLink for internet. New subscribers to DirectTV are signed up at a 50% discount for the first 12 months, afterwhich your bills double and they equipment rental fee you to death. When I cancelled DirectTV after the third year, my bill was around $160 per month. That is a LOT to pay for local TV channels and a few dozen cable channels!!

What is the better way?

For just internet, CenturyLink’s cheapest plan without discounts is $45 for 25Mbps internet. Streaming TV needs at least 5Mbps for HD video and 8Mbps for super HD video. CenturyLink maintains a minimum goal of 80% of the promised speed. Meaning, at worst you should never drop below 20Mpbs. This is plenty for a 2-3 person home. If you do drop below 80%, call CenturyLink and complain that they fix it.

There are many streaming services to choose from. here are a few that I have researched.
– YouTube TV ($40 and includes local ABC,CBS,FOX,NBC Madison channels)
– Hulu TV ($40 and includes local ABC,CBS,FOX,NBC Madison channels)
– Sling Orange or Blue ($20 and includes local FOX,NBC Madison channels)
– DirectTV Now ($35 and no local channels)

The YouTubeTV and HuluTV services both include all the major local Madison channels. No antenna required. If you do not have a recent smart tv with a Hulu or YoutubeTV app built in, you will need to purchase a streaming device for your tv. There are three big streaming platforms FireTV, Roku, and Apple. Between YouTubeTV and HuluTV, I find that the Hulu FireTV app is much faster to navigate than the Roku Youtube app. The FireTV YouTube app can only be installed by sideloading using an unofficial app.

Best streaming stick for Hulu:

Total monthly costs so far are $45 for internet and $40 for online live streaming. Not including any additional streaming packages that you may want, such as Netflix.

What about cheaper?

Cable companies have pushed hard the last 30 years, convincing multiple generations that TV isn’t free. I am always surprised at how many people I talk to do not know this.
Your local TV channels are free, you don’t have to pay for them! It is not a scam or illegal pirating. Your local stations are wirelessly broadcast to your home. All you need is the correct antenna to pick them up.

The Madison market has around 26 channels that reach Platteville, plus 1 Dubuque channel. Here is an up to date list.

3.1 CBS, , 3.2 MyN, 3.3 ION, 15.1 NBC, 15.2 CW, 15.3 Antenna TV, 15.4 Weather, 21.1 PBS, 21.2 Wisconsin, 21.3 Create, 21.4 PBS Kids, 27.1 ABC, 27.2 Me-TV, 27.3 Decades, 40.1 Christian, 47.1 FOX, 47.2 Comet, 47.3 Charge, 47.4 TBD, 57.1 Independent, 57.2 Movies!, 57.3 H&I, 57.4 Stadium, 57.5 QVC, 57.6 Laff, 57.7 Escape, 57.8 Grit

Sound good? Well, not so fast. You live in the Platteville area. The wireless broadcasts from Madison are weakened by the area hills. In order to receive them, you will need an outdoor antenna. Depending on your location and elevation, you may also need the antenna roof mounted.

You will read online that there is no “best” antenna and you need to do research to choose an antenna that will work for you. If you live in the Platteville area, I have already done that for you. Pick any of my recommendations, properly mounted and aimed, and you should see some level of success.

Click here for a one page handout I wrote, listing Do it Yourself HDTV Antennas that WORK in Platteville