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What is Over-the-Air DVR? Cut Cable, Not Convenience

cord cutting



What is Over-the-Air DVR? Cut Cable, Not Convenience



What is Over-the-Air (OTA) DVRSometimes the difference between keeping your cable subscription and cutting the cord comes down to the small things you have grown accustomed to. Some people like the ability to simply watch whatever’s on (channel surfing), while others like the ease with which they can catch their favorite shows, and everyone I know loves their DVR; everyone.

 

The DVR is like the internet in that we often wonder how we ever got along without it. Although the beauty of cord cutting is that you can stream content whenever you want; many people are hesitant to give up cable because they enjoy using their DVR to record live television specials that would be otherwise unavailable for streaming. For example: you can probably find Season 4 of “Grey’s Anatomy” online, but the odds are slim for the “State of the Union Address” or this year’s “Super Bowl” making it to Netflix anytime soon.

 

What most people don’t realize is that they don’t have to choose between cutting the cord and recording live programming with their DVR. Well, obviously the cable company won’t let you keep their DVR, but you can most certainly replace it with your own.

 

Over-the-Air DVR

When it comes to over the air (OTA) DVRs, there are two routes you can take. Most store bought DVRs will plug into your television as easily as a Roku or Apple TV would and can range in price from $50 to $350. However, unlike Roku and Apple TV, you will have to pay a subscription fee in order for your DVR to access a channel guide.

 

And without a channel guide, your DVR will not know where and when to record your favorite shows. Subscription prices range from $5 to $15 monthly. If you want your DVR experience to be simple and hassle free, the benefits of owning a store bought OTA DVR will outweigh the cost of the subscription.

 

Build Your Own OTA DVR

If you’re like me and you don’t mind the extra work to save a few dollars, then you might want to build your own DVR. Don’t worry, it isn’t as complicated as it seems. The only thing you need is a PC, an over-the-air antenna, and a TV tuner card. But what is a TV tuner card, you ask?

 

A TV tuner card is the peripheral device that allows you to record over the air broadcasts from your computer. There are four different types of TV tuner cards you will need to choose from: Internal, External USB, External CardBus slot/ExpressCard slot, and Network Ethernet connection. Once you install your TV tuner card, and you make sure it has a connection with your antenna, your PC can then be used as a DVR. Most tuner cards will be in the $30-$60 range, so they should be pretty affordable for even the tightest of budgets.

 

Build Your Own OTA DVR

Image credit: KillTheCableBill.com

If you don’t mind doing a little tinkering and research, building your own OTA DVR is definitely worth it. Not only will you have the satisfaction of doing something for yourself, but you’ll also have saved potentially hundreds of dollars in the long run.

 

Cut Cable Without Cutting Content & Convenience

A lot of people are reluctant to give up their cable subscription because there are a lot of unknowns: how will I watch my favorite shows, what kind of devices will I need, how will I record certain broadcasts, etc…

 

However, once you take a step back and do a little research, it becomes abundantly clear that cutting the cord is a lot easier than you ever thought. Don’t be stuck unnecessarily paying thousands of dollars to cable companies every year; take the leap and start saving money today!

 

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.







Simple Cord Cutting: “Can I REALLY Get Free TV?”



“Yes you can, and it’s super easy to do!”

 

You don’t have to lose out on great entertainment just because you cut the cord. Cord cutting gives you the opportunity to grab over-the-air free TV and save money without losing out on today’s best entertainment, sports or news programming.

 

Over-the-air TV has been around for a long time, but recent advancements in antenna technology have truly made cord cutting a viable option to expensive cable or satellite TV for a broader demographic of people.

 

It’s no longer a complicated process to setup and use an over air antenna. New digital over air technology makes it a simple and inexpensive process to easily access over-the-air TV and eliminate a costly monthly expense .

 

My Mohu Leaf 50 HDTV Antenna has allowed me to cut the cord and save $100 a month.  I watch local and national news in HD from ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX, in addition to the latest sitcoms, dramas and major sporting events. NFL football on my 60” LED HDTV is amazing!

 

Anyone Can Do It

 

Even non-tech savvy consumers who are willing to let go of their fears and try something new can find happiness cutting the cord.

 

In just a few steps and with very little effort, online tools like the one at AntennaWeb can show you what TV broadcast towers are in your area and what channels are being broadcast.

 

Towers are shown on a map, giving you directional guidance to help set up your over air antenna. The distance of these towers from your location is called the range, and it’s what helps you to determine the best over-the-air antenna for you.

 

If you live in an urban location with TV towers close to you, the Leaf Metro Indoor HDTV antenna is a good choice. It pulls in TV signals from as far away as 25 miles and it’s very small so that it can be discretely placed to blend easily into your decor.

 

Cost to Begin Cord Cutting

 

Depending upon the current TV you own and what antenna you choose to secure your over-the-air signal, your initial equipment costs can be less than the price of one month of cable or satellite TV.

 

Older televisions which are lacking digital tuners will need digital converter boxes to translate digital over air TV signals.

 

By contrast, contemporary flat TVs with digital tuners built in don’t need converter boxes and can simply be hooked up to a digital antenna to obtain free TV within minutes of installation.

 

Ultimately the only ongoing cost related to receiving free over-the-air TV is the electricity you use to power your television.

 

Exceptionally Exciting Savings

 

In addition to potentially saving you hundreds of dollars each year, cord cutting allows you to regain the freedom to choose how you want to spend your entertainment dollars. HDTV antennas provide you with the ability to enjoy free TV, without hidden fees or costly subscriptions.

 

You still end up getting the latest network programming, much of it in uncompressed high definition, which is actually sharper than the compressed HD programming you get from your cable provider.

 

Over-the-air programming is of excellent quality and clarity, and the best part, you’re not paying for it!

 

Free TV is for real and available to almost everyone. Dialing in a bunch of free TV channels in HD feels like you’ve won the lottery.  It’s about a $1200 a year jackpot in cord cutting savings that’s well worth the minimal cost of the ticket.

 

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.







Cut the Cord and Save Money (It’s a No-Brainer)



A couple of weeks ago a friend was over at my house and he said to me ,“I get the idea that cable is kind of crappy, but why go through all that hassle just to save a couple of dollars?” I couldn’t believe my ears.

 

Just a few dollars? Are you kidding me? You can cut the cord and save money – way more than just few dollars – by ditching cable and satellite. It was this common misconception that inspired me to write today’s post, where I’m going to break it down for you, dollar for dollar, how much cheaper and effective it is to cut the cord. Let’s get started.

 

Cable vs. Cord-Cutting

For the sake of this argument I’m going to use Comcast as the baseline for most cable companies. Comcast is everywhere, and it’s often the only option many Americans have. Now the cheapest cable package you can get from Comcast is the Digital Starter Package, which runs for about $45 for the first year; and jumps up to between $55-$70 depending on your area and their petty whims.

 

For 12 months with their basic package, you will spend $540 for the first year and anywhere between $660 and $849 for the second year. Let me just remind you that that is only for 80 channels. We’re not talking premium channels or sports packages. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s less than ideal. Now let’s see how much the alternative is.

 

Over-the-Air Antenna + Streaming = All You Need

First let’s get to the free stuff. You will be surprised by how many of your favorite shows come on Network television. Anything that’s on ABC, NBC, CBS, CW, or FOX can be accessed completely for free by using an Over the Air antenna. (If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically the rabbit ears of the 21st century. The Mohu Leaf 30 Indoor HDTV Antenna is one of the most popular and the best-rated antennas on the market and will cost you $35.99.)

 

Next, let’s assume you have no streaming devices except your computer and maybe your phone and that you want to watch stuff on your TV. So you go and buy a Roku streaming device. For simplicity’s sake let’s say you bought the cheapest one, the Roku 1; which will cost about $50-$55 depending on where you get it. So right now our total cost is around $86.

 

After you purchase your streaming device, you run home and sign up for all the wonderful streaming programs available. Netflix winds up costing you $8.99 a month / $107.88 a year; then you sign up for Amazon Prime and pay $8.25 a month / $99 a year. I would include Hulu Plus into the mix, but since there is not much you can get off of Hulu that you can’t get off of the other two, it’s a bit redundant. If you’re interested, though, Hulu Plus costs $7.99 a month / $95.98 a year. Our total price is now approximately $292.87.

 

How to Access Shows Not Broadcast Over the Air

Most, if not all, of your favorite shows can be found through Over the Air broadcasts, Netflix, or Amazon Prime. There are some shows that slip through the cracks on these plans, but they are not lost to you! For example, The Walking Dead is one of my most favorite shows. Sadly I can’t stream new episodes. Luckily with Amazon Prime, I can catch the new season the day after for $2 an episode OR I can purchase the whole season for $26.99 in standard definition or $41 for high definition. Since we’re going with the cheapest option, we’ll go standard definition. That brings our total to $320. You could actually buy eight more seasons until you caught up with the price of the most basic cable package.
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When and Where to Watch the Hottest Fall TV Shows



I know I’ve said it before, but I can’t help but say it again: Fall is the most wonderful time of the year. The leaves change, people put pumpkin in everything, and best of all our favorite programs come back on; not to mention all the new shows that premiere! This is also usually the time of the year when people regrettably sign up for a cable package; because no matter how much they hate their cable provider, they love their favorite shows just as much.

 

I’m here to tell you today there is another way! It is possible to watch your favorite shows this fall and not have to give in to the corporate cable companies. In this article I’m going walk you through the hottest shows this Fall and how you can access them.  The first thing you need to know is that there are two kinds of television channels: network and cable.

 

Network vs. Cable Channels

Network television channels are the channels you can access for free over the air with a modern television antenna. The Network broadcasting channels are ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and CW.

Cable television channels, on the other hand, is where the cable companies make their money; although there are many ways to watch your favorite cable shows without forking out a fortune to Comcast or any other provider. Let’s take a look at some of the fall lineup shows available on network television first; all of which are accessible via a Mohu antenna.

 

 

Network Television

Shows on ABC

  • Scandal –Thursday, September 25, 9pm (EST) / 8 pm (CST): Based on the life of former George W. Bush press aided, Judy Smith, Kerry Washington stars as Olivia Pope; a woman who runs her own DC crisis management firm Olivia Pope & Associates. If you haven’t seen the hit series yet, not to worry, you can catch seasons 1-3 on Netflix; and if you miss any episodes this season you catch them again on Hulu Plus and ABC.com.
  • How To Get Away With Murder – Thursday, September 25 10pm (EST) / 9PM (CST): The much anticipated “How To Get Away With Murder” stars the indomitable Viola Davis as a Philadelphia law professor who gets her class caught up with a murder plot. This show has got a lot of buzz, and if you like scandal, stick around for this. If you miss an episode you can catch up on ABC.com or Hulu Plus.
  • Selfie – Tuesday, September 30, 8pm (EST) / 7pm (CST): Former Doctor Who companion, Karen Gillan, makes her American television debut as a self-absorbed woman how hires a social media/PR rep to help her make friends. As with the others, if you miss an episode you can catch up on ABC.com or Hulu Plus.

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What Would You Do With $100? Enter to win!



With the arrival of fall, we want to celebrate all the things you could do with the money you save (or would save) by cutting cable. Especially with the holiday season right around the corner, a little extra cash in everyone’s pockets isn’t a bad thing. Starting today, September 24, 2014, at 11 a.m. ET and lasting through Thursday, October 9 at 11 a.m. ET, we’re hosting the What Would You Do With $100 sweepstakes. We’ve got all the details on the sweepstakes page, but here is a quick overview so you can know what to expect.

Enter Mohu Sweepstakes

Click the image to enter.

What It Is:

Your chance to tell us what you’d do with an extra $100 (a.k.a. the estimated amount of money you could save each month without that hefty cable bill). We’ll randomly select one lucky person who will win the chance for us to make it a reality with $100.

 

When It Is:

Starts Wednesday, September 24 at 11 a.m. ET and ends Thursday, October 9 at 11 a.m. ET. That means you have a solid two weeks to enter. You can only enter once, so telling your friends and family to enter, too, won’t hurt your odds too much.

 

Basic Requirements:

Make sure you like us on Facebook if you haven’t already, confirm you’re over 18 years old and that you’re a resident of the US, and complete the rest of the (hopefully short and simple) entry form.

 

We can’t wait to see all the creative ideas all you Mohuligans have for what you’d do with an extra $100! If you haven’t cut the cord yet, we can help you enjoy free TV in stunning HD with one of our antennas that would best suit your viewing needs.







Where to Watch NFL Games for Free – Week 1 Schedule



Many are sighing in relief now that regular season NFL football is back in action.NFL Football Week 1 If you’re one of those many, we want to let you in on a little secret: you can catch most of this week’s (and the full season’s) games for free with an HDTV over-the-air antenna. To be fair, the games you’ll be able to watch will depend on your viewing area, but they’re free, so it’s hard to beat that. Keep scrolling to find out where and how to watch NFL games for free.

 

Week 1 Schedule

 

Who: Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks

When: Thursday, September 4 at 8:30 p.m. ET

Where: NBC

 

Who: Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears

When: Sunday, September 7 at 1 p.m. ET

Where: FOX

 

Who: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens

When: Sunday, September 7 at 1 p.m. ET

Where: CBS

 

Who: Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers

When: Sunday, September 7 at 1 p.m. ET

Where: CBS

 

Who: Washington Redskins at Houston Texans

When: Sunday, September 7 at 1 p.m. ET

Where: FOX

 
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Mohu Antennas Love May Madness



May is a great month for watching OTA TV with a Mohu antenna (and be sure to check out our new Leaf Metro). May is “sweeps” month where the broadcast networks show the season finales of their “regular” season shows. But viewers won’t be stuck with a summer full of re-runs because the networks are also introducing new content in May.

crossbones-s1-keyart-xl1NBC is banking on some serious star power. John Malkovich stars as the pirate Blackbeard in Crossbones–The new legend of Blackbeard (Friday, May 30, 10/9c). Set in the Bahamas in 1715, Blackbeard tries to steal a chronometer from an English ship which has the potential to change seafaring and commerce. But the English aren’t giving in so easily and it’s up to the viewer to determine who the villain is–Blackbeard or the English. John Malkovich is outstanding as the villain in this YouTube trailer.

NBC_Rosemarys_Baby_miniseries_posterIn addition,  Zoe Saldana stars in NBC’s two part miniseries Rosemary’s Baby (May 11). In a new twist on Ira Levin’s 1967 thriller, Zoe Saldana and her husband Guy (Patrick J. Adams) leave New York City for a new life in Paris. At first, their arrival in Paris seems surrounded by good fortune. But when Rosemary becomes pregnant, she starts to believe that things are not what they seem and their new neighbors may have dark motives for her baby. Agnieszka Holland (Europa Europa, The Wire, Treme) directs this two-part psychological thriller. Click here to see the trailer on YouTube.

These shows and other great content are available free, over the air with a Mohu Leaf, Curve or Sky antenna. Broadcasters are producing great content for every night of the week and there’s no need to spend $70-$100 a month for cable. Join the growing numbers of cord-cutters and ditch your cable!







Cord Cutters Should Have an Antenna



wralweather1Cord cutters who rely solely on streaming content should strongly consider adding an HDTV antenna to their homes. The recent outbreak of severe weather across the Midwest and Southeast United States led to flooding, tornadoes and the deaths of more than 30 people. Fortunately, improved radar systems and early warnings allow people enough time to find shelter. The early warnings are often broadcast over local networks’ news channels and without a TV antenna such as a Leaf or Curve, viewers may not get the warnings about nearby storms.

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 8.59.13 AM

Storm clouds near Mohu

Fortunately, the severe weather mostly bypassed Raleigh (the home of Mohu) but for two days our local stations broadcast the locations of heavy rain, hail, thunderstorms, flooding and  tornadoes. We were definitely aware of what was going on, and had a tornado or flood come, we would have had time to prepare. Two nights ago, while watching OTA TV, the screen had a ticker running along the bottom updating viewers of where the storms were and their severity. Other stations broadcast the weather alerts directly from the National Weather Service.

The bottom line is streaming content is a great way to cut the cord. But Netflix, Hulu+, Amazon Prime and the rest cannot replace broadcast TV especially in times of emergencies and bad weather. It’s also possible to get warnings on a smart phone, but they are often not as detailed as a real-time weather forecast.

On a happier note, an antenna is great to watch TV content in real time, especially broadcasts like the Super Bowl, the Oscars, and season finales (coming soon in May) and not have to wait to stream it from the network’s website or another streaming provider.







Industry Updates–Streaming Content Gets Big



Lots of changes took place in the TV/streaming content industry in the past few weeks. Let’s pause and look at what has happened.

Supreme CourtABC vs. Aereo–the Supreme Court heard this case on April 22 and the public can expect a ruling in June. Mohu covered it in an earlier blog. Two issues are at the core of the case. The first is does Aereo’s “re-transmission” of OTA content constitute a public or private showing? If it is a public showing, does Aereo owe retransmission fees to the broadcasters? The second issue is murkier and relates to storing items in the cloud. The Supreme Court Justices are more concerned with items in the cloud and the impact their ruling will have on other cloud-based content–anything from iTunes to DropBox.

Netflix is Moving to Cable–Netflix has long lived on computers and streaming devices and, along with an HDTV antenna, is cord-cutting staple. However, according to the Washington Post, Netflix signed a deal with three small cable companies (RCN, Atlantic Broadband and Grande Communications) and will become a cable channel on their TiVo DVR boxes. Viewers will need a separate Netflix subscription to watch Netflix content. However, this is the first time Netflix has explicitly put its content on a cable box.

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Am I a Cord-Cutter?



Cord-cutting is a growing trend as cable bills continue to rise. Many consumers don’t know if they are good candidates for cord-cutting and Mohu is here to help sort that out.

shutterstock_cord_cutting1. Can you get good over-the-air (OTA) reception at your home?

Use our TV for Free tool to determine what stations you can get with a Mohu antenna. Keep in mind that metal can block signals so make sure you aren’t surrounded by skyscrapers, aluminum siding, or even the metal mesh that holds stucco together.

2. Does your TV have a digital tuner?

Most TVs made after 2009 have one. If you aren’t sure, check the manual. If you have an older TV, you can buy a digital converter at Best Buy or another electronics store. It will cost about $60-$80 but will convert your OTA digital signal to an analog signal so the TV can get reception.

money3. Do you feel like you are paying too much for cable?

It’s sort of an obvious question because we all feel like cable costs too much, it’s just that we’ve gotten used to paying for it and thinking of  it as a “necessity.” Well, time for a shift in thinking because cable is not a necessity. Consider how many channels you REALLY watch and whether you can get them OTA or their content via a streaming service such as Netflix or Hulu+. The average American only watches 8 channels and over 90% of the top rated TV shows are OTA. So the chances of you getting what you want to watch via a combination of OTA and a streaming service is pretty good.
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