So one thing we’ve been missing since cutting the cable is news. I’m ok with using Justin.tv via Boxee to watch CNN but local news was lacking. I thought about writing a plugin to grab the videos from local news sites but it wasn’t live, and they don’t offer a live feed of weather.
So we decided to purchase tv tuners for the HTPC. Now I’m using a AMD Phenom II triple core with 8gb of ram in an Antec Sonata III so resources or space were not a concern for me. My biggest concern was cost as it is with most people. I was really set on grabbing a refurbed HDHomeRun but Newegg was out of stock for so long that I decided to skip it.
I had ordered two 2.5″ USB drive enclosures from a new to me website called meritline.com (great deal on them btw!). I decided to check their site for HD OTA tuners and found a nice small USB tuner for 24.99 or two for 44.99. Decided to pick up two of these since I figured we wouldn’t be using them more then that. Side note, thanks for putting these on sale an hour after I purchased them.
So a week later I was finishing up putting christmas lights on the house and the postman stopped by with my early present. Since the wife and kid were gone doing whatever they do when I’m not around, I decided to drop what I was doing and get these installed before they came back.
The installation went pretty quick once I decided to not read the description and just use the included CD for my Windows 7 x64 HTPC. Plugged them both in, ran the installer, scanned for new tuners in MCE and scanned for channels. Found every channel I should have been able to receive but of course as reviewers noted, the included antennas are junk. So off to Amazon to buy a new antenna Picked up a nice refurbed internal/external Phillips MANT940 for $23. Mounted it in the closet above the HTPC and fixed the quality issues I was having with ABC and PBS.
So with this setup we’ve finally rounded out our HTPC and our quest to forget about cable tv. We’re so happy with the extra $80 a month we’re saving. Even happier now that both Netflix and Hulu have dropped the price on their monthly fees.