I’m not a cord cutter, but I play one with my TV

The Problem: Here’s the scenario. We have DirecTV with five boxes that includes DVR services. But only three boxes can be active at the same time. The fourth and fifth boxes can remain in the cold while three TV’s are occupied. And only so much recording can happen at one time with similar limitations.

We have a household with three adults and a 10 year old. The 10 year old believes the best way for something to happen is repeated random button smashing, because a half second delay is too much delay. He never lived in the days where dad’s used kids as remotes. “Go change it to channel 3”.

So, what’s that mean? It means that sometimes, I’m unable to watch or record what I want due to the competition of resources or the errors of button smashing that arbitrarily records or deletes things.

Continue reading “I’m not a cord cutter, but I play one with my TV”

HD Digital TV Without Cable

[Cue Deep Dramatic Narrator Voice] “In a world where there is no cable TV….”

[Cue dramatic apocalyptic background music] 
Yeh, well, it happens.
You’re just going about living your life and something happens. Whether it’s because of some major event from mother nature, a traffic accident that takes a local box or the outcome of some “hey bubba, watch this” event, sooner or later we all have a cable outage. 
So what do we do about it? Well, I’m certainly not inclined to miss a game if I can help it. Nor do I want to be left in the dark if our area is hit with some emergency. 
Do like I did. Make a really cheap antenna in advance. File it away and pull it out when you need it. 
Some people might go “What?! TV without cable? Is that legal?” Yes. It’s legal. People have been doing it since TV’s were invented. The FCC says it’s okay. 
First, I’ll give you the link to the instructions, then I’ll share how I did it differently and how well it worked out. 
The link is to build a DIY Flexible Fractal TV Antenna. Following this example, it comes out very nice looking because it’s mounted on clear plastic. 
How did I do it differently? I followed the majority of the instructions and found all the parts I needed in a local odd lots place that had them all very cheap. To make it extra simple, I simply glued the aluminum fractal pattern directly on a 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of card stock cut from a file folder. I also used a piece of paint stirring stick as a backing piece to provide a firm means of screw mounting the balun to the fractal pattern. I had no intention of putting mine somewhere appearances might actually matter. But to make it weather proof, I slipped it into a plastic sleeve like you use for notebooks to insert pages. 
How does it work? Great considering it’s less than $6 for materials with most things you probably have already around. How do I mount mine? With thumbtacks. Cheap easy and simple to locate. I mounted one on the roof fascia of our shed, left it in place for several months during Florida rainy season and received excellent reception with a tiny little 6 inch TV. It’s been through several severe downpours and weathered fine. 
Now that we’re in a cable outage, I simply climbed a ladder to access the attic area, thumb tacked it in place on a rafter and ran the cable to the TV across the floor. We cover the cable with rugs and it’s fine for a temporary situation. At least until the cable is restored. Several channels are available at full HD. 
How’s the reception? You really have to experiment to find the best spot. I discovered that in the attic where it is currently, the garage door should be closed for the best reception. Higher and obstruction free especially from metals and electrical is best. 
Considering the cost, it’s ease of mounting there is no reason a person can’t make one and then just keep it in their bag of tricks for when the right time comes. 
So if you want HD TV during a cable outage, check out DIY Flexible Fractal TV Antenna .