HDHomerun Quatro

When something stops working unexpectedly, you don't throw it away. You don't immediately order a new one. Instead, you look for exposed screws. And the three that piece together the HDHomerun Quatro give very little resistance. So when mine started to act up (likely because of a short in the power cable, a replacement for which which I've since ordered), I grabbed a screwdriver.

What is HDHomerun? It's a TV tuner that shares your free over-the-air channels across your home network, allowing you to watch on any number of devices. The most basic version lets you watch on up to two things at once — this HDHomerun Quatro lets you watch on as many as four devices simultaneously. And we're talking anything from Android to iOS to Amazon Fire TV, Linux, Mac and Windows. Basically, anything save for Roku, because of the way the stream is encoded. HDHomerun also allows for digital recording through things like Plex. While DVR costs a little extra, HDHomerun's basic guide service doesn't, which is nice. (Other services often have a monthly fee attached.)

I didn't expect this to be a particularly intricate device on the inside, and that proved to be the case. If you've ever built a PC or pored over the guts of a smartphone, you'll be largely nonplussed here. The only exposed ports are for coax, Ethernet and the power supply. (The latter is what I wanted to make sure was still soldered to the PCB.) There's obviously more going on inside the tuner itself, but that'll have to save for a deeper diagnosis some other time.

In addition to handling over-the-air TV, there's also HDHomerun Premium, which puts a few dozen network channels alongside your OTA offerings for just $35 a month.

By the way, now's a perfect time to mention that HDHomerun is on sale through Dec. 24, with this HDHomerun Quato model going for just $119.

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The best over-the-air antennas

Who doesn't like free TV, right? And it turns out that in 2018 there's still plenty to watch — free and legal — if you've got a decent enough over-the-air antenna. For the cost of a decent meal at the Sizzler you can get an antenna that pulls in stations from dozens of miles away, piping free 1080i content straight into your TV.

All you have to do is pick the right one for you.

The best OTA antennas

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