(OT?) TV Service Headache

(posted to alt.cable-tv, alt.home.repair)
I've been getting cable TV service in eastern Missouri for about 25 years.
Back in the 90's, working full time and earning honest money, I got expanded basic and SHO and TMC, and just paid whatever they charged me (on time, every time).
Without any income now, just subsisting on Soc. Security, I've been getting the same service from Charter on verious promo discounts for years. Most recently it was expanded basic and SHO, TMC for $37.xx, Jan. - May of '09.
Now they've evidently banished the promo discounts and want lots more $. Used to be, I could call and call and finally get a non-Phillipino CSR to find acceptable promo discounts. I've called many, many times in the last week: nothing shakin'. They simply want too much money.
Has anybody got a good feel for getting affordable discounts from tv service vendors? Charter monopolizes cable in my part of MO. Are the dish vendors really any better? Installation costs, etc?
I've got a pretty decent non-directional TV antenna (from Radio Shack) installed in the attic (from the Over-The-Air days). If I decide to chuck the lot of 'em and go OTA with a cheese-box (DTV converter or whatever they call them), is it likely the old antenna will be sufficient? I've got a $40 gov't coupon for the cheese-box.
Any/all info/suggestions are most welcome.
TIA, Will
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 17 Jun 2009 20:07:39 -0500, Wilfred Xavier Pickles
[snip]

I got rid of DirecTV last June for multiple reasons, but mostly the poor customer service. For example, I emailed them once about a problem with the online guide. It took 4 emails before the problem was fixed (and they didn't seem to have actually read any of them). I sent one more email to tell them it was fixed. They replied by messing something else up.

In most cases you will NOT need a new antenna. There is no such thing as a "digital antenna", just sellers than want more money.
Note that most (but not all) DTV stations are on UHF (ch 14-51).

BTW, I can see some converters for sale at Wal-Mart for $50 (I guess that'd be $10 with coupon) right next to $30 DVD players. That doesn't look right.
--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.us
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
> I've got a pretty decent non-directional TV antenna (from Radio Shack)

I've never seen a non directional TV antenna before. Do you remember the model?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

They're just called multi-directional.
http://antennaweb.org has info.
Pics of some of them:
http://images.google.com/images?q=multi-directional%20antenna&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I mighta messed up the terminology. By "non-directional" I just meant non-motorized, so ya can't fine-tune direction while sitting in front of the tube.
It's just a standard RS Archer uhf/vhf/fm antenna.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 17 Jun 2009 20:07:39 -0500, against all advice, something
say:

Check out hulu.com. If you can get your computer to send it's output to the television, you might be happy with it.
--

Don\'t worry about people stealing an idea. If it\'s original, you will
have to ram it down their throats.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I had cable a few times and didn't like it much. Then I got DirecTV and it was not real bad. Then I got Dish Network and liked that a lot better than anything else. For $5.95/mo I get "Access" and from there I can subscribe to whatever movie packages I want. I was getting 5 Cinemax and 6 or 7 Encore channels and paying about $23/mo. Of course you also get the weather and a bunch of shopping channels along with the $5.95 and you also have access to Pay Per View if you are into that. The customer service was always excellent. They did not force me to pay for a bunch of channels that I will never watch. I can't even believe they get people to PAY to watch commercial TV.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

the payment is for clean,strong signals. Congress at one time was considering requiring cable/satellite suppliers to provide "ala-carte" service where you selected what channels you wanted in your package,but it didn't get passed.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.