Cut the Cord, Ditch the Dish, and Take Back Control of Your TV


This book is no longer available for sale.

Cut the Cord, Ditch the Dish, and Take Back Control of Your TV

Fun, Tried-and-Tested, and Absolutely Legit Ways to Customize, Control and Change How You Watch TV

About the Book

This guidebook is full of ideas, knowledge and projects that can open up more choices in the way you watch TV. It leverages changes in technology; new products and trends. New technologies like streaming, smart TVs, broadcast to air TV advances, personal and portable devices, higher display resolutions and home networks, all offer new and more customizable options for TV viewing.

Based on feedback from our readers, we will no longer be updating Cut the Cord, Ditch the Dish and Take Back Control of Your TV and instead have written a new book, designed to be more useful and less of an encyclopedia. The new book (The Budgeteers' Guide to 21st Century TV) is hopefully easier to read, a little more more fun, a little less technical -- and yet it still has lots of new TV technology and projects to try.

About the Author


We are two people who have worked in engineering, product marketing, marketing, sales, PR and management in the tech industry for over 25 years. We continue to review and follow latest tech trends and still geek out over new and cool ideas.Our education backgrounds are in electrical engineering, data communications, English and business administration.

In 2008, the "great recession” made our monthly satellite subscription (that jumped from the introductory rate of $39.99 to over $150) very unappealing. Our solution was a $300 e-machines computer (we named her Emmie) running Windows 7 Media Center, a Hauppauge USB dongle for broadcast TV, a small antenna in the attic, and a streaming subscription to After this initial investment had paid for itself within a matter of months, we just kept exploring…

Reader Testimonials

Dennis Sellers, AppleWorld.Today
Dennis Sellers, AppleWorld.Today

This ebook is a valuable guide to help you cut the cable/satellite TV cord.

"Prospective cord-cutters like myself can easily get frustrated with trying to make the move as there are a plethora of options and new technologies out there. There’s lots of info available, but it can take hours to dig through it all. Cut the Cord, Ditch the Dish and Take Back Control of Your TV is the best single source of info info I’ve found on the topic." Full review at

 The Gadgeteer
The Gadgeteer

Linux Journal
Linux Journal

June 2017 print edition

For the full review please see our web site at

Table of Contents


Value and Content


What does this book do?

Who are the authors?

Where can I buy this book?

Navigating the journey ahead

Before proceeding...

What skills do you need?

Choosing how to proceed

Chapter 1: Introductions

1.1 Calculating Costs

1.2 Specs and stuff

Resolution, size and aspect ratio

High Dynamic Range (HDR) and color gamut

Frames per second (fps)

1.3 Digitally Broadcast Antenna TV

Introduction to digital antenna TV

What is an antenna?

Introduction to TV tuners

Networked TV tuners

Multiple TVs and devices

1.4 Smart TVs

Introduction to Smart TVs.

1.5 Digital Video Recorders

Introduction to DVRs

Networked DVRs

1.6 Streaming Gadgets

Introduction to streaming gadgets

Introduction to Roku

Introduction to AppleTV, Amazon Fire

Other streaming gadgets

Mixing things up - using multiple gadgets

1.7 Chromecast and AndroidTV

Introduction to Chromecast and Android TV

Chromecast dongles


Android consoles and boxes

1.8 Personal Computers and TV

Why attach a computer to our TV?

Introduction to the Intel NUC

Introduction to the Mac Mini

Stick computers

Remote input - keyboards, trackpads, etc

Introduction to media players

1.9 Media Centers

Introduction to Media Centers

Chapter 2: Getting content

2.1 Antennas

Installing a TV antenna

Networked Tuners

Multiple antenna

What is Trans-coding?

2.2 Streaming

Internet streaming

Some streaming sources

2.3 Optical Disks

Optical disk formats

When to use an optical disk?

2.4 4K

So what is 4K?

Getting 4K and above content

Chapter 3: Moving Content

3.1 Networks

Our Home's network

Streaming on our home network

Our Router

Network Connections - Wires and Radios

Network Connections - DLNA

Our Internet Service Provider

Finding and fixing network problems

Dedicated WiFi Bands

Keep it all working

3.2 Wires


Multimedia cables

HDMI-CEC and one remote control


Chapter 4: Watching content

4.1 The TV and big screens

How big? Resolution, screen size and pixel density

Smart TVs

Watching live broadcast TV

4.2 Networked Tuners

Installing a HDHomeRun Connect Tuner

How to watch TV using the HDHomeRun

Access a HDHomeRun with DLNA from a TV

Maintaining and troubleshooting our HDHomeRun Tuner

4.3 Streaming Gadgets

Streaming - Overview

TV consoles, boxes and sticks

Google Casting

How does casting work?

Casting with a Chromecast Dongle

Casting - Setup a receiver

Casting - Setup a sender

Casting from iOS

Casting problems

DIY streaming - Sling Box

DIY streaming - WiFi display connection


Personal devices - small screens

4.4 Optical Disks

Watching optical disks

4.5 Personal Computers

Sticks, NUCs and Macs

Streaming to a PC's web browser

Media Player - VLC

Streaming to a media player

Casting to the TV from a PC

Watching Broadcast TV

4.6 DVRs

Networked DVRs

Networked DVR - TabloTV

Setup a TabloTV

Using a TabloTV

PC based DVRs - MythTV, NextPVR

4.7 Media Centers

Plex - Media Center

Watching TV with Plex and a NextPVR DVR

Kodi - Media Center

Watching Live TV with Kodi and a HDHomeRun tuner

4.8 4K

How can we watch 4K video?

Cables and connectors for 4K

Ultra HD Blu-ray disks

Experimenting with high frame rates

4.9 Privacy

Privacy: who is watching the watcher?

Chapter 5: Putting it together

Overview of the Projects

5.1 SmartTV and an antenna

Setting up for antenna TV

TV Guide service

5.2 Internet Only

Is this the right way for us?

How to make it work in our home

Often the "answer" is a blend of solutions

5.3 Roku and a networked DVR

The DVR as a Roku channel

5.4 Devices and live TV - No big screen

The HDHomeRun View app

5.5 Chromecast and a networked DVR

Casting a TabloTV DVR to the big screen

5.6 AndroidTV

NVIDIA Shield AndroidTV console

Installing apps on AndroidTV

Accessing a networked DVR or tuner from apps

Casting to AndroidTV

HDMI-CEC and AndroidTV

Trouble shooting AndroidTV

5.7 An orchard of Apples 

A Mac Mini computer with Tablo TV 

A Mac Mini computer with a HDHomeRun tuner 

AppleTV and a TabloTV

5.8 PC and a networked DVR

Keyboards, mouse and network

Connect to the TabloTV device

5.9 PC as a DVR on Windows - NextPVR

Installing NextPVR

Schedules Direct EPG Guide

Watching TV

Trouble-shooting NextPVR

5.10 PC as a DVR on Linux - Mythbuntu

Installing Mythbuntu

Connections, updates and tuners

Configuration - MythTV backend

Configuration - MythTV frontend

Using MythTV and Mythbuntu

Streaming on Mythbuntu

Fixes, maintenance and troubleshooting

5.11 PC as a MediaCenter - Kodi

Installing Kodi and the MythTV PVR addon

Configure and enable the MythTV add-on in Kodi

Enable TV in Kodi

5.12 PC as 4K player

Streaming 4K in the Chrome Browser

4K streaming with a "helper" - partial hardware acceleration.

Watching high resolution "home movies"

Fullly hardware accelerated video on Mythbuntu in VLC

5.13 Money Savers

Using less internet

Little or no internet

Chapter 6: Creating a computer for the living room

6.1 Building a PC for the living room

Parts needed to assemble a NUC computer

Building a NUC

6.2 Buying a computer

Chapter 7: Other projects

Accessing a TabloTV away from home

Connecting a SiliconDust tuner with WiFi

DLNA streaming with VLC

Live TV on Linux PC

DVI cables

Thank you..

The Leanpub 60 Day 100% Happiness Guarantee

Within 60 days of purchase you can get a 100% refund on any Leanpub purchase, in two clicks.

Now, this is technically risky for us, since you'll have the book or course files either way. But we're so confident in our products and services, and in our authors and readers, that we're happy to offer a full money back guarantee for everything we sell.

You can only find out how good something is by trying it, and because of our 100% money back guarantee there's literally no risk to do so!

So, there's no reason not to click the Add to Cart button, is there?

See full terms...

80% Royalties. Earn $16 on a $20 book.

We pay 80% royalties. That's not a typo: you earn $16 on a $20 sale. If we sell 5000 non-refunded copies of your book or course for $20, you'll earn $80,000.

(Yes, some authors have already earned much more than that on Leanpub.)

In fact, authors have earnedover $13 millionwriting, publishing and selling on Leanpub.

Learn more about writing on Leanpub

Free Updates. DRM Free.

If you buy a Leanpub book, you get free updates for as long as the author updates the book! Many authors use Leanpub to publish their books in-progress, while they are writing them. All readers get free updates, regardless of when they bought the book or how much they paid (including free).

Most Leanpub books are available in PDF (for computers) and EPUB (for phones, tablets and Kindle). The formats that a book includes are shown at the top right corner of this page.

Finally, Leanpub books don't have any DRM copy-protection nonsense, so you can easily read them on any supported device.

Learn more about Leanpub's ebook formats and where to read them

Write and Publish on Leanpub

You can use Leanpub to easily write, publish and sell in-progress and completed ebooks and online courses!

Leanpub is a powerful platform for serious authors, combining a simple, elegant writing and publishing workflow with a store focused on selling in-progress ebooks.

Leanpub is a magical typewriter for authors: just write in plain text, and to publish your ebook, just click a button. (Or, if you are producing your ebook your own way, you can even upload your own PDF and/or EPUB files and then publish with one click!) It really is that easy.

Learn more about writing on Leanpub