Milwaukee’s Economic Future, Some Are Disappointed In President Obama’s Response To Ferguson, Teach Me What You Know: How To Cut The Cord From TV Service

Air Date:
Heard On Central Time

To save some money or free up some time, you might want to get rid of your TV service. WPR’s in-house tech guru shares some advice on how to cut the cord from TV service in this week’s Teach Me What You Know segment. We also discuss President Obama’s response to what’s happening in Ferguson and talk to a redevelopment expert who says he’s ‘bullish’ on Milwaukee’s economic future.

Featured in this Show

  • 6 Ways To Watch TV Without Paying For Cable

    Whereas TV viewers in the past only had access to a handful of shows on a few fuzzy channels, the volume of programming available to consumers today is dizzying.

    But it’s not just the diversity of what we watch that’s growing: The possible ways to watch TV is expanding as well. Kevin Trueblood, a resident technology expert at Wisconsin Public Radio, said that it’s a great time for those who want to quit cable to explore those new options.

    Consider these six ways to enjoy TV without having to pay that monthly cable bill:

    1. Go back to broadcast TV.


    Fjords (CC-BY-NC-ND).

    It may be surprising, but good old-fashioned TV antennas are back. Instead of the bunny-eared models from decades past, today’s antennas can get you access to more than just three channels, depending on where you live, thanks to network multicasting.

    Trueblood noted that for people who choose to go back to broadcast, there are websites that help optimize your antenna positioning, such as

    2. Sign up for streaming video services.


    Wonderlane (CC-BY).

    Streaming services allow people to access shows hosted in the cloud through the Internet, and then watch them on a computer or some other device.

    Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime are three examples of such services. There are many other companies, including YouTube and the networks themselves, that have also begun offer up streaming content online.

    The content is accessible via computer, and to a large extent smart phones and tablets as well. Increasingly, there are also options for people who want to use a good, old-fashioned TV monitor. One such option, for example …

    3. Buy a smart TV with built-in apps.


    Punk17er (CC-BY-NC-ND).

    Smart TVs are like smart phones, in the sense that they take traditional technology and add one critical difference: Internet connectivity. When someone buys a smart TV, they can access streaming services like Hulu and Netflix through apps that have already been installed on the hardware.

    4. Buy a “set top box.”


    ปรัชญา สิงห์โต (CC-BY).

    “Set top box” is a bit of a misnomer; these devices aren’t necessarily box-shaped, and few are meant to actually sit on top of a television set. What they do is allow someone to stream online video content to a tradition TV monitor.

    Examples of set top boxes include the Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire. According to Trueblood, these services “help index and arrange all the different streaming options available.”

    Sports fans may prefer Roku according to Trueblood, who points to Roku’s partnership with Major League Baseball. (Trueblood also noted that it’s difficult to access live sports via most of these cable substitutes. The NFL has a subscription service but it doesn’t allow customers to watch a game until it’s over.)

    One unique entry in the set top box market is Chromecast, manufactured by Google. The device, unlike most set top boxes, doesn’t come pre-programmed with apps or subscription services. Rather, it simply lets consumers stream whatever they already have access to on their computer, smartphone, or tablet.

    5. Buy a video game console.


    Mack Male (CC-BY-SA).

    Over time, companies have stopped treating consoles as nothing more than machines that play video games. Instead, consoles have become media centers that allow users to watch streaming video, use social media, browse the Internet, and more.

    For people who aren’t interested in gaming, consoles aren’t necessarily the best method of streaming TV. But for those who are, it’s an option to keep in mind.

    6. Go old-school.


    daveynin (CC-BY).

    Especially for people who want to watch live sports, Trueblood said there’s another great option out there for TV consumers: “Go to a local brew pub and watch a game with your friends.”

  • Economic Redevelopment Expert Says He's 'Bullish' On Milwaukee's Future

    An expert on redeveloping industrial cities says he’s very optimistic about the Milwaukee’s economic future…but some challenges do remain.

  • Where Is Our Healer-In-Chief On Ferguson?

    When unarmed Florida teen Trayvon Martin was shot by a neighborhood watchmen, President Barack Obama spoke about it in a very heartfelt, personal matter. But when speaking about the violence in Missouri after an unarmed black teen was shot by police, the president was reserved and even-handed. A White House reporter juxtaposes President Obama’s reactions to these events and explains why some are calling for more from the first African-American president.

  • Teach Me What You Know: How To Cut The Cord From TV Service

    Looking to cut the cord with your tv service, but still want something to watch? On this edition of Teach Me What You Know, WPR’s resident technology guy has advice on how to replace our t.v. service.

Episode Credits

  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Cynthia Schuster Host
  • Kevin Trueblood Guest
  • Paul Brophy Guest
  • Edward-Isaac Dovere Guest
  • Chris Malina Producer
  • Amanda Magnus Producer

Related Stories