Another Antenna Option
If you don’t want to hang an antenna in your home, or repurpose the cables used for satellite or cable TV, you do have another option.
There are several devices available that contain QAM tuners (needed to decode the digital video signal) AND have hard drives to record your shows. These devices also can stream this content to other receiving devices in your home, wirelessly. This eliminates the need to locate an antenna near each TV – you just need to locate the device (called a NVR or Network Video Recorder) near the antenna location!
One of the most popular of these is the Amazon Fire Recast, available for around $225-$300 from Amazon (price depends on the model and capabilities). The Recast will hold recorded content and play back live or recorded content to any TV in your home that has an Amazon Fire Stick or Amazon Fire TV associated with it. It works pretty well, but it does lock you into the Amazon ecosystem, so your streaming sources are somewhat limited. See our later entries where we discuss these limitations.
Each Amazon Fire Stick will cost between $30 and $100 depending on capabilities, but some versions will stream 4K content. You do need a robust, high speed network in your home with ideally 7 Megabits Per Second (MBS) or more to eliminate possible buffering. The Fire Recast does have a network plug in the back, but it can also connect wirelessly to your network since most homes won’t have network plugs available where you need them. To increase bandwidth, you can always purchase a HOMEPLUG internet over powerline device for about $100, which will deliver a wired signal over your electrical system. This can increase your speed if you have a slower wireless network.
If you don’t know what wireless speeds you have now, go to FAST.COM and do a speed test. Note that it does not matter what speed you have coming into your home – it just matters what speed you get at the various device locations.
There are several other systems that will do what the Recast does, but they are difficult to set up and manage. The Recast is easy and simple to set up, as long as you have the antenna location and a solid network.
In our next part, we’ll talk about other ways to get local channels into your home WITHOUT using an antenna.
If you have any questions about Cord Cutting, or any other Home Automation advance, feel free to give us a call at 303-665-2238.