Using a low cost HDTV antenna to gain access to lots of free over the air digital TV channels

I talked previously about how I saved a bunch of money by ditching cable. When I first disconnected my cable, my HDTV’s built-in scanner was only able to pick up two two stations. While this was better than nothing, I figured given the size of our city there had to be more content available. So I started doing some research, and came across the Leaf Indoor HDTV antenna. The reviews were pretty solid, and a number of people claimed that they went from no channels to dozens of channels. I had to give this a try for myself.

My order from Amazon arrived within a week. The antenna is paper thin, and one side of the antenna is white and the other is black. This allows you to blend in the antenna if you mount it to a white wall, or attach it to the back of a black TV (why are all TVs black?). The Leaf comes with a coax connecter that you can plug into your TV. Once I mounted my Leaf (connector down) and attached it to my TV, I was blown away when the scan picked up over two dozen stations. See for yourself:

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I was blown away, and the quality of the HDTV content is exceptional. Gotta love some free tv!

Making the most of your Netflix account by streaming video

Roku streaming media applianceI have been a long time Netflix user, and love the fact that I can rent movies through the mail and return them on my own schedule. Netflix now allows you to stream a number of movies to your desktop, though the streaming service requires that you are able to run Microsoft silverlight. This is pretty awesome, though I wanted a way to be able to watch movies on my high definition tv without having to involve a PC. After a bit of searching, I came across the Roku digital video player. These nifty little devices provide native integration with Netflix, and provide a remote control that allows you to find movies, start movies and pause movies all from the comfort of your favorite chair.

Now, I was extremely skeptical about these devices at first, but the glowing reviews on Amazon set me at ease and I decided to pick on up Here are the other reasons I purchased mine:

1. Each Roku comes with an HDMI port that can be hooked up to your receiver or digital tv

2. Roku devices support wireless (802.11G) as well as wired Ethernet connectivity

3. The Roku remote allows you to browse, start and pause movies from a distance

4. All of the available Netflix streaming movies are one click away (you have to pay for Netflix though)

5. The Roku is CRAZY easy to get up an operational

This review wouldn’t be complete without listing the downsides, which I have only found one. I have spent WAY TOO MANY HOURS watching documentaries and educational videos, which have precluded me from blogging about technology. The break has actually been kinda nice, and has allowed me learn about all kinds of stuff (history of American presidents, Rome, The Dark ages, various painters, finance related topics, etc.). If you don’t already have a device with native Netflix integration, then the Roku may be for you!