Introduction: Cancel Your Cable! Over the Air HD DVR

If you have a computer in another room and want to free yourself from cable and don't want or can't have a computer in your living room this tutorial might be for you.  
  • Use your iPhone or iPod touch as remote
  • Stream HULU, Netflix, Youtube, Pandora to your living room 
  • Record your favorite shows in HD one at time or whole seasons
  • download tv guide info
  • Keep your pc out of sight

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Materials:
  1. Antenna *Bowtie, RadioShack- $ 3.99-? (*depending on your location you will have different needs for antennae see: www.antennaweb.org to get an idea)
  2. 300ohm to 75ohm transformer (gold tipped), RadioShack- $4.99
  3. 100ft cat6 550mhz utp cable, MonoPrice- $11.44
  4. RJ-45 Network cable crimper, MonoPrice- $5.36
  5. HDMI over Cat5e/ Cat6 extender wall plate, MonoPrice- $19.06
  6. RJ-45 Modular plugs 100pack, MonoPrice- $8.77
  7. 2- HDMI 1.3a 28AWG 1.5ft cable, MonoPrice- $6.02
  8. KWorld ATSC USB 2.0 Tv Stick, NewEgg- $29.99
  9. Ati Radeon Sapphire 4650 pci-e 2.0 x16 512mb, NewEgg- $54.99 (you can really use any graphics card that will output audio and video over hdmi)
  10. PC with Core 2 Duo or better and pci-e 2.0 x16 graphics capabilites ~$350-$?
  11. iPhone or iPod touch, Apple- $99
  12. Hipporemote, Appstore- $4.99
  13. HDTV with HDMI inputs- $350-$
 

Step 2: Pick the Right Antenna and Mounting Location

First type in your address to  www.antennaweb.org and find the type of antenna that will suit your needs. Most will find that they get a good signal with just a bowtie antenna. It's cheap enough to test out with a bowtie before you purchase an expensive antenna. 
Now you have your antenna let's find a home for it. Ok first figure out where the cable is coming in to the house. Mine was on the side of the house and entered in the attic where the signal was split four ways (living room, 2 bedrooms, and office). I disconnected the cable coming in my house from outside in the attic and attached my 300ohm to 75ohm transformer and antenna.  So now we have antenna signal to all rooms in house. You may need signal amplifier for more rooms/ longer cable runs. 

Step 3: Run the Wires

Luckily I have an attic with some headroom. I used the holes that were drilled for the power wiring to feed the cat6 cable to my living room just behind my tv and in my office next to the computer. Crimp the ends of the cat6 cable www.ertyu.org/steven_nikkel/ethernetcables.html. Plug in to hdmi wall plate and install. Plug in all the cables and turn everything on. Make sure your sound is configured for hdmi output. If your are only using one graphics card you will probably have to use low res vga for your computer monitor. 

Step 4: Setup Computer

The way I did this was with Windows 7 Media Center. I don't know if this works with XP MC Ed. Add your kworld usb tv stick and any graphics card that will output audio over hdmi. Connect coax cable to tv stick. Boot up computer and add hardware drivers. Download and install hipporemote vnc. 

Step 5: Install HippoRemote on Your Apple Device

HippoRemote isn't the only remote app out there but it was perfect for what I needed. If  

Step 6: Test Signal Strength and Channel Availability

Let's head to the living room. That's where my HDTV is plugged in to hdmi cable. We'll go in to the settings menu and run an antenna digital channel scan and see what we're are working with. I came up with many but the only ones I'm interested in are : ABC, CBS, CW, Fox, NBC.  I delete the crap channels and create a new favorites menu. You are now set to record shows or entire seasons through windows media center. Add on Netflix and Hulu to fill the gaps. You won't look back! 

Comments

author
Computothought (author)2010-09-16

I have been doing the same thing with my antenna. https://www.instructables.com/id/Yet-another-dtv-antenna. Although I do not show it in the instructable I also use mythtv the same way. We get over 30 channels.

author

nice antenna you made there. I was going to go the mythtv route myself until I acquired a copy of win7.

author

We have been Microsoft free for over 4 years. Best thing we ever did to no longer use MS. I have installed licensed w7 for friends who thought they needed it. To each his own.

author
pmn9393 (author)Computothought2012-01-26

What sucks is that you have to have win7 to use a cablecard tuner and replace your set top box with a pc.

author
Computothought (author)pmn93932012-01-27

That is not completely true any more from what I understand. Besides if you live near a metropolitan area, there are more and more ota stations popping up. Even some of the big cable shows are migrating back to free tv slowly but surely.OTA is giving cable tv fits as people cancel their contracts. I first was able to get only about 30 stations. Now we get about 60. A chance to learn lots of new languages.

author
ry25920 (author)2010-09-16

Nice job on the instructions, definitely saving this to my hdd. Try to go into a little bit detail on the hippo remote and installation. Maybe some extra details on the WMC installation. +3.5 stars

About This Instructable

44,690views

64favorites

License:

More by mixamillion:Cancel your cable! Over the air HD DVR
Add instructable to: