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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I have been looking into getting rid of my $105/month satellite (Bell) bill and converting to OTA with a Mac Mini as a media resource centre.

I would like to have DVR capabilities and think that the EyeTV 250 is the way to achieve this.

My current set up has a 50" HDTV in the basement, a 40" HDTV in the living room and a small on in the bedroom. I will use the DVR in the basement and will have an AppleTV hooked up to the other TVs to allow for media to be shared. We also subscribe to NetFlix.

My question is: Has anyone made the leap to OTA and if so, are you pleased with it?

Any help or information would be greatly appreciated.

I am located in the east end of Toronto right on the Lake.

Thanks,

Mike
 

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You are just an illusion
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there is really nothing much to watch OTA beside a few channels. I've setup my antenna for the HD channels, but the choices are so limited i switched back to cable tv.

Though, NetFlix should complete the selection pretty well.
 

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On a side note if you keep you Bell dish and bell satellite receiver set up you get the free preview channels every month without any service. Check bell channel 271 for the current free previews. Not that this helps in anyway it's OTH TV.
 

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OTA is the way to go!

Hello,

I have been looking into getting rid of my $105/month satellite (Bell) bill and converting to OTA with a Mac Mini as a media resource centre.

I would like to have DVR capabilities and think that the EyeTV 250 is the way to achieve this.

My current set up has a 50" HDTV in the basement, a 40" HDTV in the living room and a small on in the bedroom. I will use the DVR in the basement and will have an AppleTV hooked up to the other TVs to allow for media to be shared. We also subscribe to NetFlix.

My question is: Has anyone made the leap to OTA and if so, are you pleased with it?

Any help or information would be greatly appreciated.

I am located in the east end of Toronto right on the Lake.

Thanks,

Mike
Since moving up from the “Big City” 40 years ago, I’ve always used OTA TV, and would never consider paying ridiculous cable fees to watch what I can get for “free”.

Perhaps I’m very lucky, but I receive a good selection of channels, some I never watch, and I do not get certain channels which I would watch (eg. Discovery & History), but for the most part I get what is generally included in the basic cable package.

With a standard old fashioned antenna (no rotor) I can pick up channels:

2-1, 2-2, 2-3 (intermittent), 

3, 4, 5, 7, 9 clearly, 

17-1, 17-2, 17-3 (WNED Buffalo- sometimes blocked by severe Thunderstorms), 

19-1, (TVO) 23-1, 25-1, (Clearly)

26-1,26-2, 26-3 (never watch but it’s there), 

29-1, 41-1 and 57-1.

A few other channels appear from time to time as they sort out their Digital problems.

Our three TVs are all connected to a very old Canada Tire TV “Hub” with coax, so each can select different channels.

Recently I’ve installed an Apple TV (just one) on our larger bedroom set, connected to my computer in my Office/Den with Cat 5 cable.

I record select programs with an EyeTV 250 plus running on a late 2010 27" iMac recording OTA TV quite regularly and it works perfectly. I often record programs from the local american PBS station (buffalo) - they have an HD as well as a Standard channel - the HD channel records well, plays back nicely. I convert most of the programs to itunes to play via ATV2 on a 42" Toshiba and they look great.

My main problem now is storage space - my library of programs is growing - now about 1 1/2 TB, I will have to consider either pruning the collection or buy another HD.
 

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I don't know if your situation is exactly the same as a Mac acquaintance I was talking to last week, but I was surprised that they got rid of their dish and now they just use his iPad and an AppleTV for neatly all their TV viewing. They don't miss the dish at all.
 

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I have one of these hooked up to my Mac Mini:

Pinnacle TV Tuner at TigerDirect.ca

It actually came with an EyeTV license, I can't remember if was a special Mac version, but it looks exactly like the product in that link. I have a run of RG-6 up to my attic where I have a Channelmaster 4221HD. EyeTV is okay, but my previous Linux and MythTV setup was much more flexible, and infinitely harder to set up :)
 

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Hello,

I have been looking into getting rid of my $105/month satellite (Bell) bill and converting to OTA with a Mac Mini as a media resource centre.

I would like to have DVR capabilities and think that the EyeTV 250 is the way to achieve this.

My current set up has a 50" HDTV in the basement, a 40" HDTV in the living room and a small on in the bedroom. I will use the DVR in the basement and will have an AppleTV hooked up to the other TVs to allow for media to be shared. We also subscribe to NetFlix.

My question is: Has anyone made the leap to OTA and if so, are you pleased with it?

Any help or information would be greatly appreciated.

I am located in the east end of Toronto right on the Lake.

Thanks,

Mike
I've always had OTA TV. I made the switch to HD about 5 years ago with a 4 bay antenna and lately a Channel Master preamp. It's not perfect but I do get about 16 channels and watched the Superbowl last Sunday on NBC. Most days the signal is perfect, sometimes the PBS stations fade out depending in the weather. But I'm caught in the middle here in the west end with the antenna halfway between Toronto and Buffalo. The amp helps but I need a rotor to fine tune.
I supplement my OTA with ATV2 - jail broken which helps. I don't receive everything nor do I need it as I have limited time and an even more limited attention span. (I know how most shows are going to end and don't have the attention span to see how they're going to get there)
Being in Scarborough, as you are, if you can see the CN tower from your roof then you're in a great spot for HD OTA. You might even have a direct shot to the CN Tower and behind that Buffalo. Cat birds seat!
I bought my antenna from a place in St. Catherines (now out of business) and this place for the amp (which also sells antennas)

http://www.saveandreplay.com/OTA_Antennas_DTV.asp

Good Luck!
 

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OP, it depends on what you like to watch. I have an OTA antenna. I live in vaughan, so my channel selection isn't the greatest. I currently get 7 Channels. Cbc,ctv,citytv,tvo (i don't watch this), omni 1, omni 2, and global. I get pretty much get all the major cdn networks. I'm pretty sure you get more channels, since you live closer to the CN tower. I'm pretty satisfied with my selection of channels.

I also have a jailbroken apple tv, and netflix. Between the apple tv, netflix, and ota. I always can find something i want to watch.

I would say try out OTA. You really have nothing to lose, and you could save $100 each month. If you don't like OTA channels, then simply go back to your satellite.
 

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Hoes R US
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If you're on the lake in Toronto you have it made. There are frequent postings in OTA speciality threads of lake front homes in the GTA getting 30 channels plus. The quality of these channels @ 720p uncompressed will be superior to anything you get with Rogers, Bell, or Shaw. And it's free.

We pick up Canadian channels easily here in west end Ottawa but we're too far away and with many obstructions in between to get anything from the U.S. We subscribe to Netflix and I get a lot of foreign content by VPN into the U.K. and U.S. on the Ipad which I then stream to Apple TV.

The only thing I miss are live hockey games on RDS/TSN. And for that I can find a justin.tv feed which helps.

Recommend getting a good antenna and pointing in an optimal position for picking up channels in Rochester and Buffalo. All of your Canadian channels come from the CN tower.

I will never return to a cableco or telco until they offer a la cart pricing so that I no longer have to pay for tens and even hundreds of channels that are never viewed.

The more consumers that do this will force the duopoly to unbundle their offerings. Glad that you are considering this option.
 

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I have a splitter in my basement one goes to my cable internet, the other runs upstairs into my TV. It gives me basic cable, and sometimes DTV. I don't know what you use for high-speed provider, but here in NS I can do that with no issues what so ever. I get NBC, PBS, Global, Much, CNN, Discovery, OLN, Score, Sportsnet... (well you get the picture) That may be a viable option if your internet provider also provides cable (AKA Rogers perhaps)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well, I bit the bullet and had the antenna installed today (channel master 4221HD) and have converted all the Televisions in the house over. I must say I am extremely pleased with the outcome of this venture. I am able to pull in 29 channels with all of the major networks from Canada and the US. ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CITY, FOX, CTV, Global and a whole slew of affiliates. I cannot believe the quality difference of the OTA signal in comparison to the Bell Satellite. I cannot wait to cancel my satellite service!

I am running one tv with a 2011 Mac mini hooked up to the Eyetv 250 plus. So far the recording is excellent. I have set a few programs to record overnight. Let's see how big they get. The one issue that I am having is the the Eyetv won't let me use the TV guide that is available. It states that "this account is not authorized to download program data.". Not quite sure how to deal with this one.

I appreciate all the feed back the everyone gave me. You were all very helpful in advising me.

I will let you know how the full conversion goes after a while.

Thanks again.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So do you guys who use OTA have good recommendations of suppliers/installers to use? Would seriously considered it.

About how much did you spend for the setup?
I used Sal's TV in highland creek village (east Scarborough) and they were great to deal with. The full install including antenna, mast, amplifier and installation was 399 plus tax. Basically the equivalent of 4 months of full Bell Service. I will break even on the 5th month!
 
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