Friday, January 1, 2016

How to watch local TV

This is how I watch local TV channels over the air (OTA) for free:


On the top is an amplified antenna bought from RadioShack several years ago. This corner is the best spot in my house, so I put the antenna there. The output is connected to a USB tuner which is then plugged into a netbook (an old Acer 722).


On the netbook, I installed NextPVR as a TV server, then I can watch TV via Kodi on all my devices - computers, tablets, phones and TV sets (through Fire TV). This way, I can check EPG (program schedules) and record shows manually or automatically, and have closed caption (subtitle) on all my devices.

Digital TV is tolerant on reflection and saturation, therefore an amplified indoor antenna often beats outdoor. All you need is to find the best spot in your house and adjust the angles. For example, my house is 40 miles away from the TV stations, but I can receive all the 5 stations and their 13 channels.

BTW, this netbook is also my home router/server for flexible Internet connections (xfinitiwify, hotspot, etc.), NAS (file storage) and etc.

If you experience stuttering while watching 1080p content, you need to enable PVR buffer in advancedsettings.xml. This is how my this file looks like:

<advancedsettings>
  <network>
    <buffermode>1</buffermode>
  </network>
  <pvr>
    <minvideocachelevel>15</minvideocachelevel>
    <minaudiocachelevel>15</minaudiocachelevel>
  </pvr>
</advancedsettings>

You may adjust "15" to fit your situation.

Related articles:

Watch TV the right way

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