Jeff is amazed by the uncompressed quality of HDTV you can get with a TV antenna. Leo says that's because the signal is sent over the airwaves uncompressed. You don't get that with cable or streaming. But is there a DVR for over-the-air recording? Leo says yes, there are a few. TIVO makes one. ChannelMaster is very popular. And then there's the SiliconDust HDHomeRun. Leo likes the HDHomeRun the best. One box can feed multiple TV and mobile devices around the entire house. But it's just a box.
over the air
Patrick wants to cut the cable. How can he cancel cable and stream live TV? Leo says if he has straight access to a line of sight to the tower, then an antenna is the best option out there. What about a DVR? Leo says that there are two OTA DVRs. One is ChannelMaster, and the other is the Silicon Dust HD Home Run. Both will work with an antenna and home network, so he can stream to any TV in the house. Is there a monthly charge? Leo says just for the channel guide, though only for the HD Home Run. Channel Master doesn't charge.
A tip from "droplets" in the chatroom. Local channels have been moving and changing frequencies for over-the-air television. If you are missing a channel on your TV, hit "rescan" to find it again! Chances are, the channel didn't disappear into thin air, just scooted over elsewhere! If you have a neat tech tip you want to share, hop into our chatroom at irc.twit.tv while watching The Tech Guy!
Jerry has a Dish DVR which can receive over the air signals. He saves the channels and gets no information on programming. Leo says that's because the DVR isn't getting a channel guide in the over the air signal. Channels used to include that data on side ban channels, but they may have stopped doing that and as a result, his DVR can't get the channel guide data. That's why TIVO charges a monthly fee, for a channel guide.
John has cut the cord and he's having trouble streaming live sports with an over-the-air antenna. He says that the antenna plugged into the TV is ideal, but the HDHomeRun and Tablo have issues. That points to the culprit, then. Leo says LCDs have issues with live movement and a higher refresh rate will smooth that out. John should look for a higher frame rate in his TV's settings.
Bill cut the cable and is now using an antenna again. He'd like a DVR for it, and is wondering about the Tablo 2-Tuner DVR?
If Bill couldn't get over the air television, streaming would be his only real option if he's cutting the cord. But if he's within line of site of stations, Leo says the Silicon Dust HD HomeRun and the Channel Master are his best bets. Leo doesn't know much about the Tablo, and he recommends ChannelMaster, but the Tablo looks OK.
Jill watches TV using an antenna over the roof. Leo says that's the best quality HDTV because it isn't compressed. Suddenly, however, channel 2 (2.1) is missing on her TVs, while her mom still has them. Leo says that Jill is likely on an edge area where it can work, but may not work at other times. She should check out TVFool.com and it will tell her what channels are available in her area. One TV may have a more sensitive tuner than the other, or it could be that less cable is also used, minimizing attenuation.
Jay is going to "cut the cable" from his HD provider but he wants to still do DVR recordings over the air. Leo says it can be done. Check out ChannelMaster.com. TIVO may do it as well, but it requires a monthly fee.