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@functor

Don't make things difficult for yourself.
TV's are cheap.
Buy yourself a nice flat-screen with a built-in ATSC tuner.
The "boxes" you are talking about are called digital-analog converter boxes.
They take the digital HD signals received from your antenna, and change them to analog so older TV's can be used.
Buy yourself a new TV!!!
 

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I personally believe a DVR tuner solution is the best way to go. Pausing and rewinding live TV, especially sports, is great. Refer to the thread referenced by MajorTom above. Also check out the Channel Master DVR thread if this interests you. Other DVR threads include Tivo, Tablo networked DVR and the "God" box thread which compares DVR options.

Make sure that whatever tuner you go with, the necessary output is provided. For example, if your tv lacks HDMI, you will need a tuner with an alternative output.
 

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As far as cost being an issue...consider what you were paying for a year of TV before you cut the cord. Probably close to $1000? Now look at what you could purchase for the equivalent of one year of cable. An appropriate outdoor antenna setup, a new flat screen TV plus a TiVo with lifetime guide with money left over.

And speaking of the guide...in my opinion that is the most important component when you are cutting the cord because no matter how you get your content, even if you only get one channel, you still want to know what is available on each of the channels you get. I'm a big fan of TiVo because I can see what is on every channel for the next 2 weeks and I can set it to record any of them with only 2 clicks.
 

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I would add a tuner to the HTPC. Free software such as NextPVR can turn it into a DVR/PVR. The recordings can be streamed to the nVidia Shield and just about any media player, phone, tablet, smart TV or PC. For versatility and low entry cost, it can't be beat.

There are several ways to add a tuner to the HTPC. I use a HDHomerun tuner. Its advantage is that it can be placed anywhere since it uses TCP/IP (including wifi) to stream signals to devices. It is supported by NextPVR.

PCIe cards can be a good choice as long as the extra coax cabling is not an issue. USB tuners are also available. Hauppauge tuners are a good bet. See TV Tuner Cards For HTPC Discussion. The thread is a bit dated but not a lot has changed with PC TV tuners the last few years. The main thing being improved tuner chips and the disappearance of some products.
 

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I have the Channel Master DVR+. It advertises a lot of features, but basically the only good points that work good are:

-OTA Tuner is decent - picks up the channels in my area
-Guide layout (uses PSIP, or if you connect to the internet gives you 2+ weeks of "Rovi" guide data)
-DVR functions OK - if you buy an external drive as your storage, the choices are limited
-no fees

All the other features are flaky in Canada, or non-existent (such as Sling/Vudu). The only other non-OTA feature that works consistently for me is YouTube. The "CMTV" OTT channels are all garbage now - unless you like Religion, Home Shopping, or numerous RT channels.
 

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I pay US$25/yr for guide data for NextPVR. There is a way to get free guide data but it's a lot more work and less reliable. Silicon Dust, the company that makes HDHomeRun, has a DVR application that includes guide data but it's more expensive. It may be necessary to set up a media server on the HTPC to stream recorded programs to small devices.
 

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Hope I'm not off topic...for guide data, I download zap2it to my smartphone. I can customize it for only the channels I receive, I always have my smartphone by my side, I can use it while watching another show on screen, and I can quickly scroll through channels and see what's on like when using a paper guide. And it's free.
 

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Zap2It has been around for as long as I can remember using PCs to receive TV (about 15 years.) There was some software available that scrapes Zap2It web pages and turns it into an XML file. That can then be loaded into HTPC software or maybe an OTA receiver. Be warned that online guide providers do not like this practice and it probably contravenes Zap2It terms of use.
 

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I have been using the zap2it scraper for years, to populate my mythtv backend.
I don't really do any recording though, so now that all of the OTA TV stations I watch broadcast their own guide info it's no longer a factor for me.
 

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Recommendations on OTA Tuner?

Hello,

I've owned the Homeworx OTA tuner since Jan 2018. I rarely used it, usually Saturday night hockey games once or twice a month, that's about it. When I first received it, I was surprised how light and cheap it felt, as if it was very fragile. But it worked, and the fact that it seemed delicate didn't bother me as it seemed to reliably get a signal. I live in Ottawa, the signal from Camp Fortune was very strong. Unfortunately the Homeworx will no longer turn on, it looks like it has given up the ghost.

I've read a number of reviews for replacement OTA boxes, having difficulty deciding. The HomeRun seems to be recommended fairly regularly, how are people's experience with it? I only need it as a tuner, nothing else. Any other features will just go to waste. I have not recorded anything either OTA or broadcast since the 90's, so I don't need any PVR features. If they come with it, fine, but that was one of the reasons for going with the Homeworx, it was the cheapest out there with minimal features. Whatever I get will be hooked up to a 65-in 4K Vizio.

Thanks,
DD.
 

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Hello, dare978devil

Doesn't your 65-in Visio have a tuner or is it only a display and not a TV?

You can always replace the Homeworx with a new Mediasonic HW150PVR or iView 3500STBII, but I like the Channel Master 7004; it has a sensitive tuner.

The SiliconDust HDHR tuner is for a network connection so that you can use it with a router for TV via WiFi. It's not user-friendly for non-tech users.
 

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I think the mediasonic boxes you refer to ARE homeworx.
eg - Mediasonic Homeworx hw-150 and Mediasonic Homeworx hw-180
Agree I wouldn't even buy a TV unless it had an ATSC tuner built in.
 

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