Aereo is no more. Help me create my own Mac-based replacement.
July 15, 2014 7:25 PM   Subscribe

I do not own a TV and I don't have a cable subscription. I don't want to get either one of those things. I do, though, occasionally like to watch broadcast TV (or recordings of broadcast TV) on my MacBook Pro or iPad. Aereo was a great solution. Now that Aereo is gone how can I create an approximate replacement for use in my home?

This has gotta be possible, right?

I don't want to buy a TV. I'm perfectly happy watching on my MacBook screen or iPad.

I don't want to pay for Cable. Call me dumb, but I'd just really rather not pay for Cable.

I want to be able to watch live broadcast TV on my MacBook Pro. Bonus points if I can watch live broadcast TV on my iPad. Bonus points if I can record live broadcast TV to watch later (presumably by playing an MP4 file or something on my MacBook Pro or iPad). Bonus points if I can schedule recording in advance.

I can use my MacBook Pro as the central brains of this setup, or an old MacBook Air or Mac Mini. I'm happy to buy a Roku Box or Apple TV or Sling Box or something similar. My impression is that all of those things are designed to plug into TVs and I don't have or want a TV, but maybe my impression is wrong. I would rather not buy a Windows computers to make all this happen, but I guess I'd consider it if that's really the way to go.

In my naiveté I feel like I should be able to do the following:

  • Buy a digital TV tuner that plugs into my Mac's USB port.

  • Buy a digital TV antenna that plugs into the digital TV tuner.

  • Get some free or paid software that lets me suck the signal off the USB tuner and either save it in an MP4 file or watch it in a window.

  • Maybe even stream that video onto my iPad.

  • This is 2014. Please tell me that I'm not smoking crack and this is possible, even straightforward and inexpensive to do.
    posted by alms to Technology (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
    You may find this Lifehacker post helpful.
    posted by invisible ink at 7:35 PM on July 15, 2014

    Best answer: Possible? Absolutely. Straightforward? Not really. Inexpensive? Sorta.

    On the software side, Elgato EyeTV will let you watch on your Mac and stream to your iPad. It's a nice all-in-one solution, but one caveat is that it won't work with any ol' tuner. The ones that plug into USB and work with North American TV signals are all extremely expensive since they've been discontinued. Fortunately one that does work is the HDHomeRun which connects to your network. So, those together along with a suitable antenna would solve your problem.

    Another option is which is another twist on the above solution in that the tuner box handles recording for you by itself (you plug a USB hard drive into it). It works with iOS, but I'm not sure if it can handle streaming to a Mac. There's also the Tablo which I see in the Lifehacker post invisible ink posted above, but I don't know anything about that.

    As for antennas, going by your profile location you shouldn't have much problem even with rabbit ears, but a Mohu Leaf might be a little better.
    posted by zsazsa at 8:53 PM on July 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

    I have found that the Hauppauge WinTV 950Q Tuner ($70, US), which I bought for a Windows machine, is compatible with EyeTV 3 on a Macbook.
    posted by pjenks at 4:44 AM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

    A recent ask suggests the Tivo Roamio (not plus) is the best solution, but expensive. has weak reviews at best.
    posted by blob at 5:29 AM on July 16, 2014

    Best answer: 2nding the HDHomerun. It hooks up to your network so you can watch/record broadcast TV on your computer.
    posted by flod logic at 5:52 AM on July 16, 2014

    Response by poster: It looks like the HDHomerun is the way to go, thanks! Somehow that didn't come up in any of my previous searches.
    posted by alms at 7:30 AM on July 17, 2014

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