View Full Version : Can I watch TV via my Mac Mini HTPC without cable or a tv antenna?
Aug 23, 2010, 10:26 PM
I'm moving into a new apartment and will bring my mac mini htpc and buy a new samsung tv. However, the room that we want to use as a livingroom (we are renting) does not have any tv cable or antenna or anything like that, and I am wondering if there is any way I can skip all that and get my tv-signal from my mac? I am clueless when it comes to things like this and am not up to date on what all the different products that are available now. For example, can I buy something from Elgato that I can just hook onto my mac mini and get tv signals? Is there any other way that will allow me to watch tv without getting things organized with a cable company?
Aug 24, 2010, 02:20 AM
first thing you'd need is the cheapest antenna you can get at radio shack, best buy, or any electronics store around. If you have a tv you should hook up the antenna and see if you get a tv signal. if not you can get the eyetv from elgato and hook up the antenna to your mac and see if you get a signal.
that's really the only option you have if you don't want cable or satellite. Hopefully you're in an area where they have over the air broadcast of the network stations...
note: let me emphasize make sure you buy the cheapest antenna there is. The cheap rabbit ears will do fine. The expensive antennas are just gimmicks.
Aug 24, 2010, 10:56 AM
hallaisen is right. With antennas you need to point them in the right direction of where the station is being broadcast. This website:
Should help you figure out which stations are in your area, how far they are from you and which direction they are in. If you can, you can aim an antenna in that direction, if not well... download shows as I suggested in the first place.
Aug 24, 2010, 12:26 PM
... For example, can I buy something from Elgato that I can just hook onto my mac mini and get tv signals? Is there any other way that will allow me to watch tv without getting things organized with a cable company?
...To be clear--if you don't have cable, then you need an antenna. Most of Elgato's product line is TV tuners for computers. These require an antenna or cable just like your TV.
The only way to get TV on your computer with neither an antenna nor cable would be to subscribe to an IPTV service. In the US, the top IPTV providers are Verizon FIOS and AT&T U-verse. These are considered advance broadband providers that provide cable, telephone, and Internet on a single very high speed connection--usually optical fiber. I am aware of no provider in the US that streams TV over DSL. However, if you live in France or Hong Kong (http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=142594&table_number=1&page_number=&site=), then you are golden.
Aug 25, 2010, 01:18 AM
thanks for the help guys, much appreciated!
Aug 25, 2010, 08:39 AM
if you have cable modem, the same cable has TV channels on it. It will have, at a minimum, the local channels on it that you can get without a box. (most likely in HD too). and chances are if you're in an apartment, the cable jack will have it if you have the modem or not, but that could be cut off at any time.
with a tv with a HD tuner, you can watch those channels, but you would have to run cable to the TV. With eyetv and the elgato tuners, you would still have to run cable to the computer.
you can also get a tuner from silicone dust (http://www.silicondust.com/products/hdhomerun/atsc/). these will stream 1 or 2 channels over your network. you can watch the live stream in VLC, or as i just saw on their site, get DVR functunality with EyeTV. these should be able to pick up the same channels your TV can.
I recommend waiting till you get the tv with an HD tuner, and seeing what's actually available, either on the cable, or over the air on an antenna, before spending any money on other tuning devices.