My latest move in the on-going battle to keep my cable bill down was to ditch the set-top box on my second TV. Now, I’m using an inexpensive antenna and over-the-air DVR. The picture quality is actually amazing. It turns out the over-the-air standard is 19.39 mbps, while cable companies allegedly compress the video down to the 8-13 mbps range.
I’d post a full-resolution screen shot, but I don’t want to get sued. Take my word for it: it looks better than cable.
If you’re in range of broadcast HDTV (you can determine what channels you’ll get here), I highly recommend grabbing an HD antenna (like this one) and trying it out. I’ve also been using this over-the-air DVR with a USB hard drive. It’s got a clunky interface, but works just fine.
The new equipment will pay for itself in a couple months. Plus, the video content I record is completely DRM-free, which means I can watch it on any device without any subscriptions.