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The Tired Donkey

Cocktails, Apple conundrums, taxes and other assorted stuff

Tired Donkey

The Tired Donkey

Sitting Donkey
The Tired Donkey blogs about cocktails, ways to get the most out of your Mac at home, work, college . . . wherever. He used to write about the unending abuse suffered by the 51% of Americans who actually pay the federal income tax. But this became too depressing, and, frankly, no one wanted to read it.

Nevertheless, if you came here looking for the Tired Donkey's brilliant analysis of our dim-witted tax system, you can still find his earlier posts. Just check the archives or the
Site Map.

Note: The Tired Donkey is not advertiser supported, and he gets no benefit from any product mentioned on his site.

The Tired Donkey

Archives

OTA Broadcasts

Cutting the Cable: Ongoing Frustrations



frustration
This is the sixth post in a series about abandoning cable/satellite television in favor of HD broadcast TV combined with a web-connected computer acting as a media server. To start with the introduction, click here; links to the rest of the series are at the bottom of the post.

Okay, let’s get this series of posts put to bed. I cancelled my cable a year ago and just got to the break-even point on the up-front money I used to get my OTA + Mac Mini system established. So am I happy? Very. Are there still some frustrations? Yes. Here they are in no particular order:
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Cutting the Cable: Getting Media Content



Family-watching-TV11
This is the fifth post in a series about abandoning cable/satellite television in favor of HD broadcast TV combined with a web-connected computer acting as a media server. To start with the introduction, click here; links to the rest of the series are at the bottom of the post.

First, an overview. After you have dropped cable, added an antenna to get over-the-air (OTA) broadcasts and hooked up a computer to your television, you have an incredible array of options for content, and I’ll cover them all here. I’ll also cover what you can’t get at all or in real-time.
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Cutting the Cable: Software and Remotes



7371020
This is the fourth post in a series about abandoning cable/satellite television in favor of HD broadcast TV combined with a web-connected computer acting as a media server. To start with the introduction, click here; links to the rest of the series are at the bottom of the post.

By this time you know how to choose an antenna, figure out the best option for getting broadband to your television and various other information you need to connect a fully-functional, web-connected Mac Mini to your home entertainment system. Now it is time to talk about what you need to make all this gear usable for your family.
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Cutting the Cable: Network and Hardware



tv-mac-mini-3
This is the third post in a series about abandoning cable/satellite television in favor of HD broadcast TV combined with a web-connected computer acting as a media server. To start with the introduction, click here; links to the rest of the series are at the bottom of the post.

The minimum requirements to set up your home television to receive OTA broadcasts and combine that with a computer acting as a media server are simple in theory: (1) an antenna connected to your television; (2) a computer connected to your television; and (3) a broadband connection to the computer.

In practice, of course, this may be a little more difficult than it sounds because . . .
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Cutting the Cable: Preliminary Considerations



comcast-doesnt-care-protest
This is the second post in a series about abandoning cable/satellite television in favor of HD broadcast TV combined with a web-connected computer acting as a media server. To start with the introduction, click here; links to the rest of the series are at the bottom of the post.

I started this process with a fully-featured Comcast package that included HBO and some other movie channels as well as some sports packages to make sure we got The Tennis Channel. We had a
Comcast HD DVR and a Roku box to access NetFlix instant play content; our television was (and remains) a 2006-era Panasonic 42” plasma. I wanted to duplicate the content we watched as closely as possible but get rid of the Comcast cable service because we were paying so much for content we never watched.

This evaluation involves asking three questions: can you get network television over-the-air (OTA), can you get missing cable content on the web and can you get enough bandwidth to your television to deliver the web-based content. I’ll address each of these questions in turn.
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OTA Broadcasts + Mac Mini as Media Server: Unplugging from Cable



antenna_graphic
This is the first post in a series about abandoning cable/satellite television in favor of HD broadcast TV combined with a web-connected computer acting as a media server. Links to the rest of the series are at the bottom of the post.

If you’re reading this page it’s because you’re interested in getting rid of your cable or satellite company and making the switch to over-the-air (OTA) broadcasts combined with a Mac or Windows-based media server connected to your television to get maximum access to content. You might be headed in this direction because you’re sick of the size of your bill. Or the cable company’s customer service may have made you angry one too many times. Whatever it is, this series of posts will detail my experience with this process over the last year: how I make sure I miss (almost) no content I want, what my new set-up cost me, what it costs to operate, the techniques I used to set up the system so my wife and children can actually use it and the problems I faced or continue to face. The series is geared toward Mac users, but all of the advice applies equally to Windows-based systems, and most of the process has nothing to do with the computer anyway. Read More . . .
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The Tired Donkey

Sitting Donkey
The Tired Donkey blogs about cocktails, ways to get the most out of your Mac at home, work, college . . . wherever. He used to write about the unending abuse suffered by the 51% of Americans who actually pay the federal income tax. But this became too depressing, and, frankly, no one wanted to read it.

Nevertheless, if you came here looking for the Tired Donkey's brilliant analysis of our dim-witted tax system, you can still find his earlier posts. Just check the archives or the
Site Map.

Note: The Tired Donkey is not advertiser supported, and he gets no benefit from any product mentioned on his site.

The Tired Donkey

Archives