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

over the air tv



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.







Broadcast Networks Sub-Channels: More Free OTA TV



This week, the International Bluegrass Music Association’s annual World of Bluegrass is taking over Raleigh, NC. That means tons of amazing musicians are taking the numerous stages while thousands of bluegrass fans head to the city to take it all in. Here at Mohu, we’re huge fans of great music, so we’re excited to have this event right here in our backyard.

 

What’s even more exciting though is that our friends at WNCN, the Triangle’s NBC affiliate, are broadcasting tonight’s 25th Annual IBMA Awards Show LIVE for folks in the area to tune in and enjoy if they can’t make the festivities in person.  The awards show will air at 7:30 p.m. tonight on WNCN channel 17-2. If you’re thinking that channel looks funky because of the “-2,” that’s because it’s the WNCN digital sub-channel.

 

Like tonight’s IBMA Awards Show, digital sub-channels offer a lot of entertaining, unique content that you can enjoy in addition to the main broadcasts. The catch? Well, if you’re a satellite subscriber, unfortunately you won’t be able to watch these sub-channels. Since satellite providers are limited to how many local stations they can carry, they focus on the primary channels for as many local networks as they can. And if you’re a cable subscriber, chances are the sub-channels are buried deep in your channel guide and hard to find.

 

Fortunately, it’s incredibly easy to pick up your local broadcast networks sub-channels with an HDTV antenna, so even if you aren’t a cord-cutter, you can still take advantage of these free, over-the-air broadcasts using an antenna in addition to your cable or satellite subscription. The antenna can also serve as a back-up in case you experience blackouts or satellite signal disruptions.

 

Curious what kind of sub-channels you can get in your area? Check out this listing to find your local broadcast market. You’ll be able to see the OTA channels available, and you can click each to see if and what sub-channels are also available through that network.

 

 







DirecTV and Raycom Media Dispute: How to Avoid Blackouts



In light of the DirecTV and Raycom Media dispute that caused thousands of DirecTV’s paying customers to miss the NFL season opener last night, we thought we’d share just how simple (and affordable) it is to make sure you aren’t left in the dark due to any cable/satellite blackouts.

 

Image Credit: USA Today

Image Credit: USA Today

How to Avoid Blackouts

 

For starters, a huge chunk of all of the NFL games are being broadcast on network stations, including last night’s Seahawks vs. Packers opening game. We’ve already shared where and how you can catch that and the rest of this week’s games for free with an over-the-air HDTV antenna. You can continue to enjoy pure 1080 high definition broadcasts of many of the games this season (in addition to almost all of the top 100 shows on TV, and fall TV premieres are right around the corner).

 

All you have to do is plug in your zip code to see about how many channels you could receive for free over-the-air, and then pick out the HDTV antenna that best suits your needs based on your location without the hassle of monthly subscriptions or potential blackouts like this one so many were dealt this week.







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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New Over-the-Air (OTA) Content Premiering this Weekend



ResurrectionThree new interesting over-the-air (OTA) shows are premiering this weekend.  The broadcast networks often tweak their line-up in March–think of it as OTA “spring cleaning.” Of course all shows will be available free to anyone with a Mohu Leaf, Mohu Curve or Mohu Sky antenna.  A lot of new content is coming out in March, so get ready for some great viewing.

Two shows coming out belong to a science-fiction/supernatural genre though so far there don’t seem to be any aliens, zombies, space travel or vampires, but you never know. The third show is a “sequel” to Carl Sagan’s Cosmos that aired  in 1980.

Resurrection premieres on Sunday, March 9 on ABC at 9 pm ET. ABC has saturated prime time with trailers for it, but in case you missed it, Resurrection is about a small town in Missouri whose deceased residents start to return. The tag line is “What if someone you lost…returned?” The first person to return to his family is a young boy named Jacob who died 32 years ago and wakes up in rural China in the present. Based on the trailers, his family, doctors and clergy struggle to make sense of his sudden reappearance.

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Why OTA+Streaming Content+Web = "A Cord-Cutter's Dream"



The TV and cable industry are undergoing a lot of disruptions and the only thing consumers can be sure of is that more disruptions are on the way.  Aereo will be appearing before the Supreme Court in April. Comcast, the nation’s largest cable provider, is about to gobble up Time Warner Cable. The combined company will be in a race to the bottom in customer  service while it provides broadband to 40% of US households.  And Netflix inked a deal with Comcast in which Netflix will pay Comcast for faster and more reliable access to Comcast’s subscribers. It’s enough to make a consumer’s head spin.

But, Mohu to the rescue! Our Channels product, currently available via Kickstarter and shipping in June of this year, will solve your TV woes and make TV watching simpler and more enjoyable. We may be fully funded on Kickstarter, but there are still units for sale on Kickstarter. Don’t miss out! Channels combines our top-selling Mohu Leaf with a small device that hooks up to your TV’s HDMI port. Put those all together and consumers can get great over-the-air (OTA) content, streaming content and internet. No switching of devices or inputs and it’s easy enough (really) for a child to set up. Channels has a fully integrated channel guide so users can see what’s on OTA and the full QWERTY keyboard remote makes searching for content a cinch.

But don’t take our word for it. Take a look at what industry leaders have to say:
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Why We Love Broadcast (Over-The-Air) TV



indoor hdtv antenna, ota, antennaYou may not know it, but rabbit ears on your TV are cool again. And our 21st century Mohu antennas are not your father’s rabbit ears. Our HDTV antennas are slick and stylish. The Mohu Leaf can be painted to match your décor, hang quietly on a wall or hide behind a picture. And while it’s “hanging out” it is bringing you top-notch 1080p HDTV. As Wirecutter said in a recent review of several antennas, “But there was one antenna that actually looked good when it was in plain view. The one that really nailed the whole aesthetics/performance combination is the Mohu Curve 50, an amped antenna that looks like a little sail or a curved, blank picture frame.”

So that’s the antenna part of OTA TV. What about what’s on TV? According to TV Guide, 18 of the top 20 2012-2013 season were all OTA. And even more recently, the 2014 Super Bowl (Seahawks vs Broncos) was the most watched Super Bowl in history. And it was available over-the-air. Free on Fox to anyone with an antenna.
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What is Cord Shaving?



As we approach Thanksgiving, not everyone is ready to go “cold turkey” and totally cut the cord from their cable or satellite TV provider. And that is one of the great things about over the air (OTA) TV. The signals are there, free, patiently waiting for when you’re ready to give them a try. Use our TV for free tool on our website to see what channels are available in your neighborhood.

free tv, tv for free, hdtv antennaSo if you, or another member of your household, absolutely HAS to have cable, that’s ok. We don’t judge. We suggest you try an incremental strategy. Try a indoor antennas on one TV. Maybe the guest room TV. Or maybe the one in the kitchen that you only use when watching Good Morning America with your coffee.

Once your Mohu antenna is up and running and you are watching beautiful, free, HDTV on your kitchen TV, call the cable or satellite company and cancel service to that TV. Their customer service reps will use all sorts of tactics, incentives, and gimmicks to try to maintain their service on that TV. But be aware that whatever you agree to will probably involve a 12 or 24 month contract that is very expensive to get out of.

Wait a month or two. Enjoy your free TV and the savings in your cable bill. Look around your home and see if there are other TVs (and other viewers) that could survive and thrive without cable or satellite. Consider how much money you would save by reducing your cable or satellite service even more.

Want to see what you can watch Over the Air? Go to our TV For Free Tool and see whats available in your area.

And that, current and future Mohuligans, is cord shaving. Contact us at support@gomohu.com for more information or click here to learn about our latest antenna, the Curve.







Top three questions people have about OTA



Wonkavision

Is OTA TV still around?

Yes. It never went away. If anything, there are more channels today with better quality than you remember. This is because in 2009 the U.S. switched over to a digital form of broadcast. Digital means that all of the picture and sound of TV gets broken down into little 1s and 0s that computers understand, then beamed over-the-air to your TV, which then turns those 1s and 0s back into pictures and sounds. Neat, isn’t it? It makes me think of the scene with Wonkavision from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. More →







TV Blog Writer Cuts Cord



If the intersection of television and technology is among your interests, you might be familiar with general TV blogs like TVtechnology, The Tech Beat, and the oh-so originally named Television + Technology Blog.

One television blog out of Colorado, however, is doing its reporting on the local level in America.

TV Tech News is written by Andrew Dodson, technology editor for NewsCheckMedia. As you can tell by my pithy summaries below of recent topics covered, the content offered is highly attuned:

• A Springfield, Missouri TV-affiliate’s use of Single-Frequency Networks
• Netflix gains a better tool for video transcoding
• A Denver, Colorado’s TV-affiliate’s use of GoPro cameras for live broadcast
• A Montana TV-affiliate gets a High-Definition news set
• Young Broadcasting Co.’s new user-friendly production system

What first brought TTN to our attention is Dodson’s recent post about cutting the cord on his satellite TV service, and the financial analysis that led him to that decision. Some of his reasons for doing so— “tired of paying a high bill,” “HD looks better over-the-air,” and “never watch a majority of the digital channels,”—sounded a lot like many of our customers. More →







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