Cord Cutting 101: Buy an antenna and dump cable TODAY!

There are two ways to find the antenna that will get you FREE local HD reception. The easy way. Go to Best Buy and spend a few bucks on an indoor antenna and try it. If it doesn’t work take it back for another one. If you have only two or three TV’s, buy one antenna for each to find out what channels you receive. Let’s say you get all the channels you want but also need a DVR. Simple, jump down to the section in this blog entry called “Can’t Live Without a DVR!”.

The second way to install an antenna, is doing some homework and fine tuning your TV reception with the best antenna for your location; which may cost the same as the easy way method. These are usually installed in your attic or outside.

But first, go to and fill out a form with only two pieces of information. You will then find out what the signal strength is at your location for Over the Air (OTA) TV. The results come back using green, yellow and red codes (see below). Click on one of the sponsored antenna suppliers and click on the color you want (number of stations).

You will be directed to a specific antenna you can buy. HOWEVER, click on the specifications tab and print it out.

Antenna Selection


With the specifications you got, you can find any number of manufacturers who meet the same specification. Yes, it takes time and effort, but don’t forget, you will save a couple hundred bucks a month!

Can’t Live Without a DVR!

No problem. Go to and buy a DVR that hooks up to your antenna and uses WIFI and Roku boxes to distribute your recorded shows to all your TV’s. You will need one Roku box for each TV. The Tablo box cost $200. The cost of one month of cable.

Final Note

If you buy a whole house antenna using method 2, you will have to install it in your attic or outside. The connection to your cable wires in the house will be at the cable company box. There may be an additional connection in your attic. Check before you go buy all this stuff so you know what to do when it gets to your home.

Happy cord cutting.


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HMG’s Hardware picks for a Playon TV server – All you need to dump cable!

Playon ( makes a great product. It works all the time. The updates are automatic and seamless. The channel selection rivals cable TV. Oh, It’s also priced right (click on link at bottom of my blog). They also give you plenty of information under their support heading to let you know if your PC or laptop can run their software. Be sure you get the processor specs from windows and then go to like they say on the site. When you match up your processor with the list they have, you will immediately know if you equipment is up to running the Playon software.

I am not a big advocate of repurposing older PC’s and laptops when it comes to video. That is why my friend Jim built me media PC from scratch so I could easily meet Playon’s requirements along with other software I run on my media server.

Listed below are some of the small form factor PC’s you could buy new today that meet the hardware requirements for Playon and other video/media tools for your media server.

  1. ASUS VivoPC VC60 Intel Core i5-3210M   3,803 ( A good review can be found at The Asus VC60 sells for around $518.00.
  2. A Chinese company Eglobal sells a fanless mini pc (|4245773825) for $389.46 which includes 4GB RAM, 16G SSD, 1TB HDD, 300M WIFI. Not a bad deal if you buy a lot online.

You wonder why I have not included many of the US brands you are used to seeing. First, I am looking for affordable devices. Second, many of the other brands use and Atom or Intel chip not listed by Passmark ( ). So take your time and look around.

What do you get for your $500-$600 PC purchase? Like the title says, you get Playon on a media server. So add up your monthly cable bill, and see how fast you get payback.

With Playon you get pretty much all your cable programming, and Hulu FREE, along with being able to send programs from your media server browser. And if you had a Roku box you can cast/mirror content from your tablet or smartphone.


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International Programming & Hulu “FREE” on your TV with no computer!

I have tried a number of apps and hardware solutions to get my free HULU content on my TV. For those of you who don’t know. There is a free version of HULU out there. The problem is that unless you have a computer, Amazon Fire (HDMI connection to your TV), or, you are out of luck when it comes to getting the free HULU content on to your TV. That is until Roku recently added their mirroring feature on the Roku 3 box for FREE! I love those guys.

It is so easy it’s hard.

  1. Just download the Roku app (IOS & Android) to your smartphone or tablet. Make sure the mirroring feature is turned on in your Roku box (under settings) and BAM! You are ready.
  2. Next use your smartphone or tablet to go to the website and pick the shows you saved when you signed up and selected the shows that interested you. Click on the show to start and then click on the share button. You will see the Roku device listed and then select it.

That’s it. It works.

For international programming, I downloaded a small app called HOLA ( This app gives you VPN capability to your smartphone or tablet. You can select certain apps to VPN from different countries, thus eliminating geo-locking of certain foreign content. I have a couple of browsers loaded on my tablet and one of them is set with HOLA to run from France. I use this browser to mirror my French content to my Roku box.

I can’t write anymore because that’s all there is to it. Enjoy.

By the way. I have a boost mobile smartphone I use as a remote and mirroring/casting device. I bought it on craigslist for $20 and leave it on the coffee table so I can use my regular smartphone or tablet for other things.


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