Overview of Open Source Media Centers

Cordcutter Guide to Open Source Media Centers

Open Source Media Centers: Finding the Media Center that fits with your lifestyle and preferences


When ditching cable, there is no better way to replace that content gap than by utilizing and growing your own media library along with your antenna. However, if you’re like me, you will often find that your media is spread out among multiple formats and file types. It can be very frustrating when you’re trying to watch your favorite movie, but can’t, because it’s on the wrong operating system. The solution to this problem is to use an open-source media center.


What is an open-source media center?

In short, an open-source media center is a free program that offers a platform for users to view their pictures, videos, and listen to audio files from one source. The media center essentially serves as a digital media library; a central hub through which all your media files go. Some open-source media centers help you organize your files, others enable cross-platform access, and the best ones do both.


Sometimes open-source media centers will offer premium subscriptions for extra features; while others may simply require you to register an account. Depending on your media needs, you may or may not need a premium service; it all depends on how serious you are about your digital entertainment.


Kodi Media Center (Formerly XBMC)

One of the most famous open-source media players is the Kodi Media Center, formerly known as XBMC (Xbox Media Center). Originally designed to work with the original Xbox, the Kodi Media Center quickly evolved into a cross-platform home media hub. Kodi is compatible with any video type and works with Windows, Linux, and Mac.


When uploading your media, Kodi will read the meta-data of each file and download relevant information, such as title name, description, and cover art. Kodi also sports the ability to watch television online, has a built in PVR (personal video recorder, essentially a DVR), a killer mobile app, and hundreds of different add-ons you can download. For a free media center, it’s hard to do better.


MediaPortal – Open Source Media Center

Kodi isn’t the only kid on the block. There are hundreds of other media centers out there; though not all are created equal. Founded by a former XBMC development team member, MediaPortal boasts a seamless in-home entertainment experience. Because it is specifically designed for Windows 7, 8, and some versions of Vista, MediaPortal lacks the cross platform-functionality that most people want. However, the tradeoff is increased performance speeds. Aside from its ability to support multiple TV cards, there isn’t anything that’s too special about MediaPortal besides a smooth performance. If you don’t like Kodi and you have Windows 7 or 8, you might want to give MediaPortal a try.


PLEX Media Server

Aside from Kodi, the next best free media center would have to be PLEX. Founded by a former member of XBMC (Kodi) development team as well, PLEX offers more or less the same features as Kodi, but it also has some awesome extra features. For $5 a month, $30 a year, or $75 for a lifetime subscription, you can get PLEX Pass, which allows you to upload your media to cloud storage and sync it to your device for offline play. This is an indispensable asset if you’re on a long road trip with the family or travel often for business. If you don’t have a large media library, this feature might make you reconsider expanding your collection.



If you are the tinkering type, you might like MythTV. Originally created as a Linux only program, MythTV has slowly begun expanding into different operating systems (although it currently only supports Mac and Linux). It is possible to build a MythTV app for Windows, but as of right now, there is no official supported app. There are two MythTV apps, a front-end app and a back-end app. The back-end application essentially runs the “behind the scenes” stuff like scheduling the DVR to record and so on. The front-end application is basically just the user interface. Like I said earlier, this thing is really cool if you like to tinker with your tech and build your own system.


Aside from the split application, MythTV more or less does the basic functions that Kodi or PLEX would do. If you are a windows user or just someone who wants a simple experience, MythTV might not be a good idea.


There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to open-source media centers, and there are certainly pros and cons to each choice. Really, it all boils down to your needs. If you have a huge library and hate tagging, maybe you should try Kodi. If you like to alter, adapt, and generally play around with soft/hardware, MythTV is your go-to app.


This comprehensive list of open source media centers is a great reference point, and you should try out as many as you like until you find the perfect one. What’s important is that you find the media center to fit your lifestyle and preferences. Regardless of which media center you pick, one thing is for sure: your digital entertainment experience will never be the same again.


Dave Kennedy is a long time cordcutter who became increasingly frustrated with the high cost of Cable TV and decided to make a stance. In 2011 he launched KilltheCableBill.com, a site dedicated to helping people save money through providing simple, cost-effective cable TV alternatives. Sine then, David has helped 1,000s of people cancel their cable subscription while keeping the shows they love.

ION Television

Keep Your Eye On ION Television

 Over 100 million households in the US currently enjoy ION Television programming as part of their paid cable or satellite subscription. But you can get get ION Television programming for FREE over-the-air with a digital HDTV antenna!


Originally known as Pax TV when it launched in 1998, ION Television is a great network for those who enjoy watching their favorite programs for extended periods of time.  For example, ION Television broadcasts Criminal Minds  all day long, one episode after another. It’s perfect for playing catch-up with a show, or simply rediscovering favorite episodes.


The network’s programming changes daily, showcasing 1 to 5 series per day on a schedule that’s readily available via their website and their apps for Android and iOS devices.


Current series programming is focused on law enforcement dramas, but ION Television has also produced some made for TV movies and broadcasts Hollywood blockbuster films too. On Thanksgiving Day 2014, ION’s programming has a western theme and includes the films: Wyatt Earp (1994), Unforgiven (1992), Maverick (1994),  and Pale Rider (1985).


TV Series Selections


As of this writing there are 11 shows  populating  ION Television’s programming schedule.  Most of the series are cop dramas, but programming changes in cycles, so keep checking your TV schedule to see what’s new.


  • Criminal Minds – This team gets things done! A solid 9 seasons following FBI profilers solving complex cases.


  • Rookie Blue -  Part soap opera and part drama, 5 seasons following the personal and professional lives of  five rookie cops negotiating life, love and the job.


  • Flashpoint - An edgy 5 seasons with the unique law enforcement team trained to diffuse high-risk situations.


  • The Listener – Approximately 50 episodes with this telepathic sleuth mind reading his way to solving crimes.


  • Cold Case  - A smart, driven female detective strives through 7 seasons to solve old, forgotten murder cases in Philadelphia.


  • Blue Bloods –  Family in more ways than one, 4 seasons of this cop drama brings together several generations of NYPD cops on and off the street.


  • NUMB3RS –  This is why you study Algebra.  Check out 6 seasons with the FBI and a mathematical genius, solving crimes in LA.


  • Leverage – Action, drama with a hint of comedy thrown in, watch 5 seasons of this eclectic team focusing on correcting corporate and governmental injustices; led by a former insurance investigator, turned thief.


  • psych – A lighthearted approach to solving crimes is sometimes best. Wrap your head around 7 seasons with a PI who is both quick witted and possessing keen powers of observation.


  • Married With Children –  Put your feet up and stick your hands down your pants as you settle in to watch 11 seasons of Bundy family comedic dysfunction.


  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent -  Immerse yourself in dramatic television excellence with 10 seasons of cases solved by the Major Case Squad in NYC.



And if that’s not enough, even more ION Television programming exists on subchannels, available in some areas.  Most notably the Qubo Channel (children’s programming), Ion Life (health and lifestyle channel), QVC Over the Air, and the Home Shopping Network.


ION Television Availability


If you have questions about the availability of ION Television programming in your area, you can use their online zip code tool or you can contact them with questions.  ION  TV is not available everywhere, but by contacting the network and voicing your desire to enjoy their programming, you’re giving ION Television the heads up on a potential fan base for their over-the-air TV channel – which they love!


For those who are lucky enough to already have access to free, over air ION Television broadcasts, the Mohu Leaf HDTV antennas are the best HDTV digital antennas I’ve found to tune in the signals.  Simple to setup and use, the Curve 30 Indoor HDTV Antenna is the one I recommend to viewers who want to cut the cord with cable or satellite TV, and live within 30 miles of their local broadcast towers.


In addition to your HDTV antenna by Mohu, be sure to pick up the FREE Android app and ION Television app for iOS . Both apps allow viewers to check the ION Television schedule in their area and much more!


Andrea Polk hails from Oregon and is a wife, mother, writer, Amazon Top 50 Reviewer, and more. She’s also the author of the Simple Guide to Over-the-Air Free TV as well as the avid deal-seeker behind SavvySleuth.com, where she scours the web for the best online deals.

TBJ Fast 50 Awards - Mohu

Mohu Ranks Lucky #7 at Triangle Business Journal Fast 50 Awards

Last night, some of us Mohuligans dressed to the nines and attended the 2014 Triangle Business Journal Fast 50 Awards dinner. It was an absolutely lovely evening complete with delicious food and drink, and the anticipation was palpable! As the countdown progressed, we grew increasingly excited to hear our name called.


Turns out 7 is our lucky number as we snagged the seventh spot among the 50 fastest growing privately owned businesses in the Raleigh-Durham region! We wanted to share some snapshots from our evening:


Anxiously awaiting our name to be called (the dessert helped tide us over)!


Mohu CEO Mark Buff - Triangle Business Journal Fast 50 Awards
Lucky #7 warrants an enthusiastic fist pump!


Mohu CEO Mark Buff - Triangle Business Journal Fast 50 Awards
Our CEO, Dr. Mark Buff, looking stylish with our award in-hand!


Mohu - 2014 Triangle Business Journal Fast 50 Awards
Not a bad way to be greeted each morning coming into the office!


We want to extend a huge thank you to everyone who supports us and is helping us continue the cord cutting revolution!


-The Mohu Team


Digital Subchannels: What They Are & Why They’re Awesome

Before I made the choice to cut the cord, I was oblivious to the world of television outside of cable. When it came to cable and television, I thought it was all or nothing; but in reality there are more options than I ever dreamed of. When all the broadcast networks made the transition from analog to digital signal, one of the coolest things that happened was it allowed for the creation of what are called subchannels.


What are digital subchannels

Subchannels are extra broadcast signals that overlap the main signal. An even easier way to understand subchannels is to think of them as people sharing the same car on the way to work. Just like a car, a signal can carry only so many subchannels. Broadcasters send a signal of 19.39-megabit-per-second (Mbps) and each subchannel, depending on its quality, takes up some part of that 19.39 Mbps.


Whereas regular channels are marked by 1, 2, 3, etc.; subchannels are marked by decimal points. For example, if your local NBC station is on channel 3; its corresponding subchannels will be 3.2, 3.3, and so on. This concept can be a little confusing at first, but give it a little time and it will start to make sense.


How to access subchannels & what’s playing

Subchannels are great because they expand the amount of content available through an Over-the-Air (OTA) antenna. Local stations are under no obligation to have a subchannel and are more or less free to broadcast what they want. Because of this, you will be surprised at the types of programming you can find on local subchannels.


Some stations broadcast their Doppler radar, local high school sports, old television shows and movies; I’ve even seen an elementary school dance recital that took place on a soccer field. This year’s International Bluegrass Music Association even had their World of Bluegrass awards show broadcast on a local subchannel. If you’re a fan of old school and offbeat television, subchannels can provide hours of free entertainment. Check out our detailed write-up of some of the amazing classic TV shows you can enjoy with your antenna thanks to Antenna TV.


Mohu Channels OTA TV Guide
Sample OTA Subchannels TV Guide


Why an antenna over cable or satellite

If you’re wondering why you’re just now hearing about subchannels, that’s because you probably have cable. Cable television providers typically don’t use sub-channels (with the exception of music channels). With cable you will have limited access to sub-channels and typically cable providers make them hard to find by placing them in the upper end of the channel range (channels 500 and higher). Satellite providers are even less likely to carry sub-channels since they try to pack as many different stations onto the satellite and are limited to how many they can carry.


Even if cable had the same selection and ease of access to subchannels, getting your subchannels through cable would be ill-advised. The cheapest cable subscription you’ll find will still run you somewhere around $30-$40 a month. Why pay that every month when you could get an antenna for the same price – and you only pay once?


Simply put, getting an OTA antenna is by far the cheapest and easiest way to access digital subchannels. When most people think of OTA broadcasts and antennas, they think about the rabbit ears of yester-year. Years ago, antennas would be lucky to pick up four channels and even luckier still if you had a clear picture.


Today, that’s all changed. Not only can you get access to most of today’s top TV shows, but you can also catch all the retro and esoteric programming you want on subchannels. It may not be as sleek and sexy as Netflix or Amazon Prime, but it is hard to deny the high amount of quality content found on broadcast networks and their subchannels.


Cable providers want you to think you don’t have a choice. They want you to think it’s all or nothing; but they are wrong. Cutting the cord was one of the best things I did for my wallet; and best of all I didn’t have to give up any of my favorite shows. If you’re tired of being overcharged and mistreated by the big cable companies, then you know what you must do.


Stop struggling, cut the cord, and kill your cable bill today! If you would like to know what the subchannels in your area are, check out this state-by-state list of all the digital subchannels in the US.


Dave Kennedy is a long time cordcutter who became increasingly frustrated with the high cost of Cable TV and decided to make a stance. In 2011 he launched KilltheCableBill.com, a site dedicated to helping people save money through providing simple, cost-effective cable TV alternatives. Sine then, David has helped 1,000s of people cancel their cable subscription while keeping the shows they love.

10 of the Best PBS Shows You Can Watch for Free

Satisfying, interesting and fun, PBS broadcasts hundreds of  shows that entertain and educate, and all are free when using a HDTV antenna to capture over-the-air signals. 


PBS stations are non-profit and locally run. PBS member stations have quarterly membership drives to keep their programming on the air. Financial gifts by PBS members during these fundraising events are essential to the operation of  all local PBS stations.


The continued financial support of this broadcast network by the public has encouraged exponential growth of high quality programming for more than forty yearsPBS programming has been transformed over decades from a few local shows into programming schedules; specific to the viewer’s area, that include world news, music specials, documentaries, children’s programming and so much more!


Early Memory of PBS


I can remember being a little kid and watching Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street, broadcast over air on PBS (coincidentally, the show is celebrating its 45th anniversary today – find out when and where you can catch it and many more PBS Kids programming for free). Back then, my folks used a ‘rabbit ear’ antenna to get over-the-air TV, which meant that sometimes watching TV resulted in an impromptu yoga workout as I contorted myself to get the antenna adjusted just right to capture the signal.  


I still enjoy PBS, and get it for free over air, but thankfully I no longer have to worry about moving my over air antenna around to get a clear signal.  Now I use the Curve 50 Indoor HDTV Antenna to grab digital HD broadcasts, including the shows broadcast by PBS.  I save $100 a month not having cable TV, and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on a thing. 


With hundreds of shows that immerse viewers in subjects past and present, PBS has an outstanding number of shows that more than satisfy my intellectual curiosity and desire to be entertained.


If you haven’t looked at PBS recently, take a look!  It really is “TV worth watching.”



10 Terrific PBS Series



1. Downton Abbey


I didn’t think I’d like this show, but after only a few episodes I was hooked!  Definitely worth watching if you enjoy a multi-faceted story line that spans generations and strings together historical moments.


Also check out the other Masterpiece series’ on PBS.



2. Antiques Roadshow


Ever wondered how much that old painting hanging in the spare bedroom is worth?


If you get started watching this program you’ll definitely be viewing your old stuff as a fresh source of income!  Look for the Antiques Roadshow tour to come to your area and see if you can get on the show.





Smart, in-depth reporting and edgy visuals are the backbone of this longstanding PBS news series. Focusing on issues related to Health, Technology, Science, Government and Social Issues, FRONTLINE delves deep and provides information that often leads to more questions.




A beautifully done series that focus’ on the many aspects of our natural world and the animals that inhabit it. If you enjoy the Discovery Channel on cable, you’ll love this series on PBS.





Hundreds of educational programs on topics ranging from Ancient Worlds to Technology, NOVA programs are often used by teachers to broaden their students understandings of specific topics.




6. American Experience


A historical series that gives the viewer insights into American history, often played out on the world stage. The American Experience is a unique adventure, filled with monumental achievements and horrific tragedies that continue to mold our nation to this day.


The Freedom Riders ,  Mount Rushmore, and the Civil War are a few of the shows that make up the American Experience. 




7. American Masters


This series celebrates arts and culture, showcasing performer biographies.  Musicians, actors, writers and visual artists come into focus through a new lens when viewing the video library of the American Masters.





An eclectic mix of topics are covered, all in a professional news format that is akin to 60 Minutes or a similar network program.  Each episode covers a topic or two in a way that provides the viewer with a new understanding.



9. Austin City Limits


Concerts in the comfort of your own home! Get front row seats to the best musical entertainment in HD with this concert series that showcases acts from all the major genres of music.




10. Great Performances


Where else are you going to enjoy Tony Bennett in concert with Lady Gaga?  Dance, drama, musical theater and opera performances are showcased in this fantastic series.




Andrea Polk hails from Oregon and is a wife, mother, writer, Amazon Top 50 Reviewer, and more. She’s also the author of the Simple Guide to Over-the-Air Free TV as well as the avid deal-seeker behind SavvySleuth.com, where she scours the web for the best online deals.


How to watch NBA without cable: OTA & streaming options

How to watch NBA basketball games without cable
So you’ve cut the cord, and want to know how you can keep up with LeBron James’ latest drama (err, on-court performances).


No worries! Luckily for NBA fans, watching your favorite teams is a lot easier than you might think. Need your Kobe fix without paying for cable? We’ve got the connection. Want to see if Derek Rose’s knees are still made of gingerbread, but don’t want to spend the dough on satellite TV? Yep, this article is for you. Since the season is just starting, we thought it would be a great time to share a few all-star suggestions for how to watch NBA without cable.


Grab a front-row ticket with NBA League Pass

So close you can practically smell the unwashed jerseys. NBA League Pass has been the standard for NBA die-hards, and it’s easily accessible from tons of devices.


You can watch 5 of your favorite teams for $150, or watch all 30 teams for a one-time payment of $199. That boils down to roughly $25 a month (just during the season) if you go for the full package, which is reasonable for the features offered. NBA League Pass provides access to live games, video highlights and stats on all available platforms including PCs, laptops, iPhone, iPad, Android Phone, Android Tablet, Apple TV, Roku, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PS Vita and Sony Blu-Ray.


Check out NBA League Pass here.


Fire up the NBA schedule and find out where/when your favorite teams are playing

This section is for your reference only. As you can tell by first glance, NBA League Pass dominates this arena, but occasionally you’ll find some network games — though they aren’t as frequent as in years past. Be sure to fire up your Mohu HDTV antenna for the annual Christmas Day NBA games, which traditionally showcase the best the league has to offer.


Check out the NBA broadcast schedule here.


Want to add an extra kick to your NBA experience?

NBA Game Time is a beast. This big-bodied bruiser of an app can be used as either a free extension to your NBA streaming or, if you’re a League Pass subscriber, a mobile gamecenter. Admittedly, this app runs better on Android devices than iOS, as evidenced by the user reviews. (Hey, we’re being honest here!)


Some features of the NBA Game Time app include:


  • Game recaps and team videos
  • Live stats, scores, and schedules for every NBA game
  • Live press conferences and highlights from around the league
  • Team rosters, follow league leaders and get the latest league news
  • Customized Alerts: Excitement Notifications for big moments, Threshold Notifications to follow your favorite player as they break personal records and Game Alerts so you never miss a moment
  • Social buzz with live twitter streams for each game
  • Customizable to feature your favorite team


Neat huh? Courtside tickets with Jack Nicholson not included.


Check out more information on NBA Game Time here.

Download NBA Game Time on the Google Play store.

Download NBA Game Time from iTunes.


Go Big or Go Home

Okay, you’ve made it to the championship game but aren’t going to be satisfied until you bring home a ring. Here are a few apps to solidify your championship-caliber NBA fan experience:



Useful for more than just the NBA, TheScore has been a golden standard (dare I say, a “Slam Dunk”?) for sports nuts. You’ll get alerts, player profiles and more stats than you can possibly digest for pro sports across the globe. This is a statistician’s dream app, and you can get it here for Android and here for iOS devices.


Yahoo Fantasy Basketball

We’re well aware of the reality of fantasy sports. But if you’re a die-hard fan, you’re eager to eat up statistics from any source to use as bragging rights against your buddies. As such, Yahoo Fantasy Basketball is one of the best sources for general basketball knowledge. It’s an excellent sports hub if you’re looking to stay up on the latest news, but also a great way to interact with friends and fantasy foes alike.


Check out Yahoo Fantasy Basketball here.


Do you have a favorite way to watch basketball either OTA or by streaming? Be sure to drop by Facebook and share your NBA viewing lineup.

Watch Classic TV Shows & More with Antenna TV

“Over-the-air television programming that brings the family together, Antenna TV is treasured by cord cutters for its commitment to nostalgic shows that can be enjoyed by everyone.”


Antenna TV showcases classic, family-friendly TV programs and introduces fresh, contemporary programming that educates and entertains.  Launched on January 1, 2011, Antenna TV broadcasts free throughout most of the United States over the air. Take a look at this affiliate map to see if it’s available in your area.

Antenna TV Now Playing


How To Get Antenna TV


Antenna TV is most easily available over the air, so a digital HDTV antenna is the best way for you to enjoy it. If you live in an urban area that’s rich with over-the-air TV signals, give a Leaf Metro a try. It’s got a range of 25 miles, and if you live in an urban area like Chicago, you’ll pick up Antenna TV without a problem.


Antenna TV’s website offers an interactive online schedule.  Its simple interface is easy to understand. I use it to find out when my favorite Antenna TV program, Maude, is going to be on. I have a Mohu Leaf 50 connected to the TV tuner in my PC, and use Windows Media Center to record the program.


Here’s a taste of what Antenna TV has to offer:



What’s On Now


Below you’ll find a list of the current programs. Look for even more in 2015, making Antenna TV an over-the-air TV broadcast channel worth watching!


  • The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin (1954-1959) – Fort Apache patrolled by a boy and his dog.



  • All in the Family (1971-1979) – The program that spawned The Jeffersons and Maude, this classic show introduced a never before seen dose of reality into prime time TV.


  • Animal Atlas (2004-2014) – Animal antics around the globe, educating and delighting viewers.  Animal Atlas’ “Wild Cats” is just one example of this great program.


  • Bachelor Father (1957-1960) – Bachelor uncle takes care of his orphaned niece.


  • Barney Miller (1975-1982) – Cops in NY’s Greenwich Village 12th Precinct led by Capt. Barney Miller.


  • Bewitched (1964-1972) –  Marry a witch and see what happens.



  • The Coolest Places On Earth (2013-2014) –  Explore history, cultures and traditions to understand and appreciate our world.


  • Dennis the Menace (1959-1963) – The neighbor can’t get away, and Dennis can’t get into enough mischief!


  • Diff’rent Strokes (1978-1986) – Two orphaned boys from Harlem join a wealthy NYC family, learning life’s lessons along the way.


  • Family Style with Chef Jeff (2013-2014) – Chef Jeff Henderson, inspired by his time in prison, shares recipes for good food and a good life.


  • Father Knows Best (1954-1960) –  A growing family with everyday problems, guided by their patriarch’s wisdom.


  • Flipper (1964-1967) – Two kids and their pet dolphin. What’s not to like?


  • The Flying Nun (1967-1970) – Airborne goodness!


  • Gidget (1965-1966) –  For the love of Moondoggie, in the California sun.


  • Good Times (1974-1979) – Living in the projects of Chicago, the family is poor,  but they have each other.


  • Green Acres (1965-1971) – The simple life found on a farm for a NY lawyer and his socialite wife.



  • I Dream of Jeannie (1965-1970) – Handsome astronaut rescues a beautiful genie, and she’s forever his slave.


  • It Takes a Thief (1968-1970) –  Sophisticated thief works for the government in exchange for his freedom in this adventure drama.


  • The Jack Benny Program (1950-1965) –  Jack’s unique comedy with guest stars stopping by to visit.



  • Maude (1972-1978) – Liberal, outspoken, suburban New Yorker Maude Findlay cuts to the chase.


  • McHale’s Navy (1962-1966) – PT boat commander in WWII and his oddball crew.


  • Mister Ed (1961-1966) – Wilbur hears Mister Ed’s wisdom. Do you?


  • The Monkees (1966-1968) – Silly ’60s fun, with the boys in the band.


  • The Nanny (1993-1999) – A girl from Queens becomes a nanny to three wealthy kids, eventually winning their widowed father’s heart.


  • On the Spot (2011-2014) –  An educational trivia show that leaves you wanting more!


  • The Partridge Family (1970-1974) – Widowed mother and her five kids make up a band and a family rolling through life together.


  • The Patty Duke Show (1963-1966) – Patty Duke plays two identical twin teen cousins.



  • Three’s Company (1977-1984) – Two women need a roommate, and the man passed out in their bathtub looks like the perfect match.


  • Too Close For Comfort (1980-1987) – Meddling cartoonist keeps his friends and family busy.


  • Totally Tooned In – Cartoons from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.


  • WKRP in Cincinnati (1978-1982) – Cincinnati radio station offers the backdrop to quirky characters and off the wall antics.



Andrea Polk hails from Oregon and is a wife, mother, writer, Amazon Top 50 Reviewer, and more. She’s also the author of the Simple Guide to Over-the-Air Free TV as well as the avid deal-seeker behind SavvySleuth.com, where she scours the web for the best online deals.

Cordcutting for Sports Fans: Cut the Cord, Keep Your Sports

Cordcutting for Sports Fans
Cut the Cord but Keep Your Sports

For movies and television lovers, cutting the cord is a relatively simple procedure. Most content providers now a days want you to consume their product wherever and whenever. However, it is a bit more complicated process when it comes to cordcutting for sports fans. Most professional sports leagues have very lucrative deals with cable providers and advertisers; and they don’t want to jeopardize that relationship by offering stand-alone streaming subscription packages. Sadly for many would be cord cutters, accessing sports is the one sticking point that keeps them from making the switch.


However, contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of options out there for the sports loving cord cutter; options that the cable companies don’t want you to know about. Today we are going to talk about a few of the many options you have to kill your cable bill while keeping your favorite sports. Let’s get started.


Sports on OTA  

If you asked me what the simplest, cheapest, and most effective way of watching sports without cable was; I would emphatically say the use of an Over-the-Air (OTA) antenna. An OTA antenna picks up the signal from the national broadcast networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and CW) and broadcasts it to your television. In short, an OTA antenna is the rabbit ears of the 21st century.


By using an OTA antenna, you get access to games from every professional and collegiate sport you can think of: baseball, basketball, football, etc… Of course you won’t be able to watch every game for every sport; but you will gain access to a large swathe of the sports programming available. When you take into consideration the amount of content you get for the cost, there is no better option than an OTA antenna.



There are a lot of ways to watch NFL these days. As I mentioned above, the best option for watching NFL games is with your OTA antenna. You’ll be able to catch almost every regular season Thursday and Sunday game that’s broadcast in your area. One of the best supplemental options for the cord cutting football fanatic (in addition to an HDTV antenna) is NFL GamePass. NFL GamePass offers a three tiered system packed with extras features that are more than enough to keep you entertained in-between game days.


A limitation to NFL GamePass, as well as some other subscription services, is that it is only available to customers outside of the United States. Fortunately, you can circumvent this regional lockout by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). I won’t bore you on the details (you can read more about accessing NFL GamePass in the US here), but essentially a VPN reroutes your internet traffic through public servers in other countries. By doing that, the VPN tricks internet severs into thinking you’re in another country; which gives you access to these blocked out programs.


If you aren’t as tech-savvy and would rather not set up a VPN, there are other options to satiate your NFL cravings. The most comprehensive is NFL Sunday Ticket that lets you watch all the games with your video game console, streaming device, mobile device, and more. Other options that are great complements to watching live with your HDTV antenna include NFL AudioPass and NFL GameRewind.



Ah baseball, the great American pastime. Unlike other sports, baseball isn’t heavily broadcasted over the air, so most baseball fans are stuck buying cable. However, there is a streaming service called MLB.TV which allows you to watch live broadcasts of out of market baseball games (non home team games) for $10 a month. Sadly, you also don’t get access to playoff games if you’re in the US. MLB has some intense rules when it comes to black-outs, so you’re better off routing your VPN through a different country as opposed to a different state. Also, there have been rumors of MLB checking the billing address of users suspected of using a VPN; so don’t go shouting it to the world.



Hockey is a wonderful sport. Who doesn’t love seeing grown men pound the crap out of each other while gliding on razor sharp blades attached to their feet? Hockey fans don’t get a lot of love from the major sports broadcasters, but in a way that works in favor of hockey fans. For $150 or eight payments of $20, you can get access to almost all your favorite hockey games with NHL GameCenter. Unlike MLB.TV or NFL GameDay Pass, you don’t have to use a VPN to access every game. Although regional and in-market games are not available live, they do become available on-demand 48 hours later. If you’re not so patient, you can use a VPN to access in-market games live. You don’t get access to the Stanley Cup with GameCenter, but you can watch that on NBC so all you need is an OTA antenna.



For millions of Americans, there is no football or baseball; there is only basketball. If you are not content with catching only regional over-the-air broadcasts of games, then you might want to consider NBA League Pass. For $150, League Pass gives you access to every out of market regular game; and if you use a VPN you can get every game. Unfortunately, the US version of League Pass does not cover playoffs or the finals.


However, if you use a VPN you can get League Pass international. The premium version gives you access to every game, regular season AND post season. The prices vary, depending on which country you route your VPN through. Don’t use Australia or you will pay a staggering $300. Argentina is the cheapest, running you about $130 for the whole season.


Would-be cord cutters don’t have to go without their favorite sport to liberate themselves from burdensome cable bills. Most of your worries can be solved by getting an OTA antenna, and you can fill in the gaps by using a VPN and whatever streaming service your sport of choice provides. Although every package discussed today comes with a price tag, you have the flexibility to pick and choose exactly which sports, games, and options are best for you instead of being tethered to bulky sports packages & ongoing monthly bills with cable and satellite.


Dave Kennedy is a long time cordcutter who became increasingly frustrated with the high cost of Cable TV and decided to make a stance. In 2011 he launched KilltheCableBill.com, a site dedicated to helping people save money through providing simple, cost-effective cable TV alternatives. Sine then, David has helped 1,000s of people cancel their cable subscription while keeping the shows they love.