Friday, April 20, 2012

Cutting cable the cord - additional options.



If you were lucky enough to get the free coupons for the free dtv converters, you could still use your analog TV for watching television. In fact, we use the dtv converter with a dvd player in the man-cave. (http://www.instructables.com/id/Extra-TV-setup/) We get about sixty stations, but only use about twenty of them. You will get the traditional major TV networks for free. Ironically, more and more cable is coming back to over the air TV in one form or another. See your favorite Food TV chefs on "The Chew".


Also cut the cord, but we went in a different direction. We use OTA (Over-the-air) HDTV. (Works best in large metropolitan areas). Actually, most television stations still transmit the old fashion way. You can not use the old fashion tv tuner, but again you can use the dtv converter with an old fashion TV antenna. You do not need to use a special HDTV antenna. Marketing hype for an existing TV antenna. You can also make your own for almost free. You can find some of them here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Antennas-TV-Wifi-and-etc/


And you get pretty good reception for the lower channels. Use a real TV instead of what we have shown here. Most newer TV's have a built in Digital TV tuner, so you do not need the DTV converter.


Then again, you could splurge and get a FTA (free to air) satellite dish setup and the system should pay for it self in a year. I bought some dss type stuff hoping to convert it for this type of use, but no can do. You need special equipment. Have some spare electronic parts now. You can go to   http://www.ftalist.com/index.php to get more information about it.



Since the traditional tuners in vcr's are worthless for the most part, you can only record a set channel. You will want to look at other options. The new way is to use a dvr (digital video recorder). You can get standalone units that are pretty much have replaced the traditional vcr. There are many companies that sell these type of units.  http://www.hauppauge.com/site/products/data_hdpvr.html You can go one step farther and use a computer to act as a dvr. MSWindows media center and Linux MythTV are among the leaders.  They also make it easy to add home automation control features.  We use MythTV.  http://www.instructables.com/id/Setting-up-a-computer-based-DVR-with-Mythtv-for-l/




If you use a computer, you probably have a network and will want to stream or send live media content plus your saved recordings to your media players. You can also use your existing internet connection to stream media to your local media players. You can obviously use your existing computers with special software such as XMBC which is available for the major platforms (http://xbmc.org/) either as an application or run from a live cd.



You can also use standalone media players from  Boxee (originally based on xmbc), Netflix, Sony, Tivo, Netgear, Roku and a host of others.


Lastly, the traditional remote control is now bowing out to the touchpad applications. We like to use the Chumby while sitting in bed to control the MythTV setup. 


It's your move.

 Update: more and more websites are also trying to get on the cord cutter bandwagon. (i.e.  http://gigaom.com/video/roku-tips-cord-cutters/)

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