People who dropkick their monthly cable or satellite bill can get "free TV" by using an antenna that costs less than $50, but setup can be difficult. With neighborhood TV repair shops dwindling and many installers working for cable or satellite providers, it's not easy to find an expert who can identify the best antenna and placement for your situation.
Here are a few installers of antennas in the Twin Cities. For others, check TV repair shops in your area.
•East Lake TV (612-722-8085, serving Minneapolis, western St. Paul): $40 flat fee plus materials.
•Enhanced Home Technology (763-262-0202, serving western and northwestern suburbs): $105 for first half-hour, plus materials.
•Lifestyle Electronics (612-327-4515, serving the Twin Cities area): $150 to $250 for most home visits, plus materials.
•Robert Paul Installations (651-489-8025, serving the Twin Cities area): $75 per worker per hour, plus trip fee of $30 to $50.
One reader called to point out that antennas can be unsightly. If you think a cable box is obtrusive, an antenna with outstretched angles that has to be placed near a window might send you back to cable or satellite. Ask the installer about an antenna that can be placed out of sight in the attic or on the roof. Also ask the installer to show you how to rescan the TV after a power failure. It's a common problem with antennas but is easily remedied.
Do-it-yourselfers will find the following resources helpful:
•Solid Signal: www.startribune.com/a86.
•Denny's TV Service: www.dennysantennaservice.com.
•Antenna Web: www.antennaweb.org.Garage sale calendar
The annual garage sale calendar will be included in the Variety section on April 19 for church, school or neighborhood garage sales. The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. on April 14. To be published, neighborhood sales must have 25 or more residences participating in the sales. Church or school sales must have contributions from 50 or more families. The price is $40. Call 612-673-7000.