Cutting the cable

Here’s the guide to how we’re getting TV now without cable.

So I wanted a few things. A media centre to run as a PVR while also giving me a NAS box with RAID for backups. For the non technical this is a TV box which will play music and also act as a backup for my computers and run some small server things for me. RAID means it has 2 hard drives that are mirrors of each other so if one dies I don’t lose all my backups.

I started off at Tablo TV where it tells me what channels are available over the air. There are lots available in Pasadena, I can see lots of antennas on the San Gabriel mountains close by. These can be picked up with rabbit ears.

For the main computer I used a Windows 10 Kangaroo. They’re available on NewEgg here. It’s small, cheap and only uses about 12W of power, so perfect for this.

I needed rabbit ears and something to connect those to the computer. I used an Amazon Basics antenna, which looks like a sheet of card with a wire hanging out. This sits in the window. This connects to a Kword USB ATSC Tuner ($45 on Amazon). That’s it.

Install Kodi and NextPVR¬†and get them set up. There’s a guide here and also lots on Youtube. It’s all pretty simple.

You then set up a remote control on your phone (check the Play or Apple store for Kodi remote, they’re free) and that’s it. You can watch TV, pause, record and then fast forward through the ads. It works pretty well and uses very little power.

Things to also do;

  • Add a micro SD card to the Kangaroo as it doesn’t have a lot of hard drive space. A 64GB card can be got for less than $20.
  • Do all the Windows updates to the Kangaroo and then disable all updates. Also set your wifi to be a metered connection as this disables more updates. The updates tend to slow down the computer too much.
  • I will also be adding a RAID external drive dock that I can turn on when I need storage and NAS.

Overall it’s really easy to do and works well. When you’re not watching TV you can also sign up for Netflix and Hulu. The money you save on the cable bill will pay for the streaming services and leave you some money over for dinner and a movie.


Update January 11th.

I had some trouble with Kodi freezing when fast forwarding or rewinding. I uninstalled 15.2 and installed 15 and it seems to work much better.

Still having trouble recording NBC. Not sure why.

Hulu and Netflix aren’t fantastic in a browser but I installed the free apps from the Windows store and they’re fine there.



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