Tag Archives: Channel Master

Indoor or Outdoor Antenna?

2 Steps to Buying the Right Type of Antenna for your Household
OTA TV Broadcast Tower

If you’re just getting started as a cord cutter, or you’re thinking about becoming one, you are probably wondering about the type of equipment you need. For the most part, picking out a streaming box is a relatively simple task; but deciding which antenna to buy is a bit more difficult. The one question I hear most from my readers is: “Should I buy an indoor or outdoor antenna?”

It’s a difficult question for some, and for many more it stops them dead in their tracks. But with a little foreknowledge, picking out the right OTA antenna can be a lot easier than you may think; and today I’ll show you how.

Let’s get started!


First we’re going to briefly examine the differences between indoor and outdoor antennas.

INDOOR ANTENNAS

Indoor antennas are typically smaller and less powerful than their outdoor cousins; with a range of about 30-50 miles. Companies like Mohu and Channel Master have been able to transform the design of the old rabbit ears of yesteryear, into sleek and inexpensive devices that resemble paper thin pieces of plastic more than a traditional antenna.

Typically an indoor antenna costs somewhere between $30 and $60. To see a list of some of the more popular indoor antennas, read “ANTENNAS, SPLITTERS, AMPLIFIERS & DVRs“. As for placement, many people hang these antennas on their walls or put them in a windowsill. 

OUTDOOR ANTENNAS

On the flip side, Outdoor Antennas are usually placed on top of roofs or garages, and are much larger and more powerful than the indoor antennas. They also cost more; usually priced somewhere north of $100. Outdoor antennas typically have a range between 60 and 100 miles; depending on the surrounding area. 

At this point, you’re probably wondering why anyone would not just go with an outdoor antenna, since it’s the most powerful right(?) Well, the problem is that for many, their home is not best suited for an outdoor antenna or it is simply not needed due to close proximity to a local TV tower. 

Deciding on an Indoor or Outdoor Antenna

  1. The first thing you need to do is evaluate your living situation. If you’re in an apartment building or have a Home Owners Association with strict rules, then odds are an indoor antenna is your only option. 
  2. The next thing you need to do is figure out how close you live to a broadcast tower.  TVFool.com and AntennaWeb both offer a free TV Signal Analysis where you can enter your address and see what direction your OTA signals are coming from, and how far away they are. If you’re less than 30 miles away from a broadcast tower, then an indoor antenna could be all you need.
    • Now if you live out in rural area, or you’re just too far from an OTA broadcast tower (30+ miles), then an outdoor antenna is your best bet.When looking up your address you may notice that that you’re getting signals from multiple directions; and if this is the case you should consider buying an omni-directional antenna

*** Like with Indoor Antennas, we have a page dedicated to the more popular Outdoor Antenna models with brief descriptions of each. Click here to learn more. 

Buying an OTA Antenna

Deciding on an OTA Antenna is easy, as long as you know what to look for. Just make sure you are aware of your living restrictions, and your proximity to a broadcast station. If you keep those two things in mind, picking the right antenna will be a breeze.

Are you having trouble picking out an OTA antenna? Sound off in the comments below, send me a tweet or e-mail and I’ll be able to help you out!

Share : Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on GooglePlusShare on PinterestShare on Linkedin

Let’s Take a Look at Channel Master DVR+

DVR-EPG

A DVR with free Over the Air TV Listings

Although cutting the cord gives you greater freedom and is far less expensive than cable you also lose the comfort of certain services and devices; like the channel guide and DVR.

Even the fiercest of cord cutters have to admit that being able to record live TV is pretty darn convenience. But what most cord cutters are not aware of is that there are a ton of third party DVRs and channel guides on the market that don’t require a cable television subscription.

One of the more interesting DVRs on the market is the DVR+ made by Channel Master. Unlike other DVRs on the market, the DVR+ requires no monthly subscription fee. All content is saved to an internal hard drive instead of cloud storage; which means you won’t be cut off from your content should your internet connection fail.

How much does Channel Master DVR+ cost?

Continue reading Let’s Take a Look at Channel Master DVR+

Share : Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on GooglePlusShare on PinterestShare on Linkedin

Is TiVo Roamio OTA a True Cable TV Alternative?

An In-Depth Look at the TiVo Roamio OTA

TiVo’s newest offering is targeted directly at Cord Cutters

Tivo Roamio OTAThe TiVo Roamio OTA is the company’s first device engineered specifically to be used as a cable television alternative. Lacking a cable card, the Roamio OTA is designed to allow for a less costly way to record and watch your favorite OTA programming, all while taking advantage of the famous TiVo interface.

So how does the device stack up against its TiVo DVR brethren? Let’s take a look!


Tivo AlternativeLooking for a Tivo Alternative? Check out the Channel Master +,  Tablo, or (simply) learn how to BUILD YOUR OWN OTA DVR.

The TiVo Roamio OTA features a surprisingly complete set of features to enjoy.

The Roamio OTA is complete with a 500GB hard drive, and  a built-in Wi-Fi adapter. Combine that with 1080p recording capability and popular video service integration like Netflix and Amazon, and you will begin to see that the Roamio OTA’s features stack up well compared to other popular TiVo models such as the TiVo Premiere.

With so many features, you’ll be surprised at just how affordable the actual Roamio unit is priced.

Focusing on the DVR’s initial cost only, the Roamio OTA knocks it out of the park! For about $50, you’ll get the sleek device along with a remote control. The TiVo Premiere, for comparison, costs about $140 when purchased new. Both sport multiple tuners (4 for the Roamio OTA and 2 for the Premiere) which allow for plenty of recording opportunities. Both feature an internal hard drive with capacity for at least 45 hours of HD programming (about 75 hours for the Roamio OTA). So what’s the catch? Continue reading Is TiVo Roamio OTA a True Cable TV Alternative?

Share : Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on GooglePlusShare on PinterestShare on Linkedin

Recording Over-the-Air Channels with a Set-top Box

Over the Air DVR Options

Your options are plentiful, but the interfaces and functions can vary widely between models.

over the air channels

Making the Leap. You have either just discovered the power of accessing over the air channels for free, or your a long time cordcutter who is now looking to supercharge your viewing experience. Either way, you are heading down a very fruitful path. Deciding upon a manufacturer and model can be difficult. Initial cost, tuner features, difficulty of setup and subscription fees can all play a part when choosing the right one for you. If you want to KilltheCableBill without losing the functions and features you enjoy the most, this is a good place to start your search! Though there are plenty of options out there, the following are some of the best DVR (or PVR) devices around based on user satisfaction and included features. Depending upon your computer’s operating system and functionality preferences, one of these could be the choice for you!

over the air channels

Continue reading Recording Over-the-Air Channels with a Set-top Box

Share : Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on GooglePlusShare on PinterestShare on Linkedin

How to Connect Multiple TVs to your OTA Antenna

FIVE STEPS TO CONNECTING YOUR ANTENNA TO MULTIPLE TVs

Connect Multiple TVs to One Antenna
Free HDTV on Every Screen in Your Home

First of all congratulations! If you are reading this post you are ahead of the masses, and have realized OTA (Over-the-Air) TV is an amazing alternative to Cable TV. Now you are looking for a way to push your free HD TV signal to multiple TVs in your house.

1. Install your Antenna.

For some, an Indoor Antenna will work, but for those who need to access a far away signal, an Outdoor Antenna will be necessary.

If you are new to Antenna Installation, here is a video I put together on how to install the Mohu Leaf Outdoor Antenna:

If you are not sure what channels you will get, try using AntennaWeb’s look up tool. And if you don’t know what subchannels are yet.. take a quick read.

 
Click Below to Learn More:
Indoor AntennasOutdoor AntennasOTA DVRs
Leafrsz_sky TiVo Roamio
Mohu Antennas are the #1 Selling Antennas on Amazon for a Reason!
Sling Banner 2

2. Connect the Coaxial Cable to a RF Coaxial Splitter.

Once you have your Antenna all hooked up, the next thing you need to do is connect a coaxial splitter. This is an inexpensive device that will split your OTA signal into multiple sub-signals, allowing you to push free TV broadcasting to multiple TVs.

Worth noting here is that splitting the signal can results is a 50% drop in signal strength (3.5db). Furthermore, every additional split will continue to decrease the overall signals strength. So if you have a weak or marginal signal coming from your antenna, splitting it will have a negative effect. This also means that if you only need a two-way splitter, don’t use a 4-way splitter because you’re losing more signal strength with every unused output.
Finally the more distance the signal has to travel, the weaker the signal becomes. So less feet in coaxial cable, means stronger signal, equating to better picture quality.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; you won’t even know if splitting the signal will cause problem – until you test it.
HOW TO CONNECT YOUR ANTENNA TO MULTIPLE TVs

Side Note: Be careful with 3 way splitters. Signal loss can vary substantially across the three outputs. Meaning if used, two TVs could work fine, while the third would suffer from a weaker signal. I did some research and found an example of a Splitter that addresses this issue: the Monster Standard RF Splitter.

Click here to read the reviews: “If you are looking for a 3-way splitter with equal signal loss on all 3 outputs, for $12 this is a good value.”

To learn about a DVR for Over-the-Air TV – Read: Recording Over the Air Channels With No Subscription Fees

3. Connect Your Main TV

I dont suggest connecting more than one TV at a time because if something goes wrong you wont know where the issue is. As I eluded too above, we are trying to remove as many variables as possible from the installation. If done correctly, this method will allow us to troubleshoot any hiccups, more effectively.

4. Connect the 2nd TV

Once you got the first TV working as expected, then hook up your 2nd TV.  If successful go ahead and connect three TVs. And again, test the signal. If any point during these steps you notice that you have lost signal strength, it is time look into buying an amplifier. If this is not an issue, YOU ARE DONE my friend.

5. Determining if you Need a Coaxial Amplifier

I don’t suggest starting out with an amplifier because some antennas come with built in amplifiers that can easily support multiple TVs.

The reason we want to first try installing without amplifiers first is signal overload. If the signal is strong from the tower, too much amplification can overload the tuner and cause the TV tuner not to receive the channel. Amplification should always be seen as a way to improve reception, not installed by default.” Grounded Reason

When buying an amplifier you need to understand that there are two basic types:

  • PRE Amplifiers amplifies the signal received by the antenna into the down cable. It should not be anywhere but on the original antenna cable right at the antenna.
    • Amplify Adjustable Gain PreamplifierChannel Master Amplify Adjustable Gain PreAmplifier – By design, this PreAmplifier can boost signal strength on any Indoor or Outdoor Antenna on the market. Professional grade, easy to install, TV antenna amplifier.
      Buy Direct
  • DISTRIBUTION Amplifiers allows you to redistribute that signal through multiple outputs, while maintaining the same signal strength.
    • HOW TO CONNECT YOUR ANTENNA TO MULTIPLE TVs Tip: Read the Amazon reviews on the Channel Master 3414 4 Outputs Distribution Amplifier. This thing is a beast!
If you would rather not deal with an amplifier all together, the Sky from Mohu for example, is small, powerful outdoor antenna that can provide uncompressed HD broadcast to multiple televisions in a home (also has a rang of 60 miles by the way).

Going Wireless

If you would rather go wireless, and stream your OTA signal across your entire home, to every WiFi connected device, then check out the HDHomeRun
HDHomeRun Connect diagram
If you have already connected multiple TVs to your antenna, what suggestions do you have for us. What did I miss? Cheers!
Share : Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on GooglePlusShare on PinterestShare on Linkedin