Why Did My Broadcast TV Channels Disappear?

No signal on TV screen

A very common question I get on DisableMyCable.com is “why did some of my broadcast TV channels disappear?” Usually, people think something is wrong with their antenna, but in fact TV antennas are pretty simple devices, just a piece of metal basically (unless it is amplified). Here is a rundown of some possible reasons you lost TV channels. Your Antenna Moved From my testing, I’ve found that even a small change in antenna position or angle can have a big impact on your reception. Try moving your antenna around to → Read More

My Personal TV Antenna Setup

My home with TV and antenna

I wanted to share with you the details of my personal living room antenna setup. Over the years, I’ve tried many different indoor antennas, amplifiers, splitters, and configurations to squeeze out as many free TV channels as possible. I’ve finally gotten it to where I’m picking up all of the broadcast stations that are available in my area. Oddly enough, in spite of all of the gadgets I’ve tried, my optimal antenna setup turned out to be very simple! There was no magic except for lots of experimentation with antenna → Read More

The Best Indoor TV Antenna – The Great Antenna Shootout

Indoor TV antennas

I started using indoor TV antennas since 2010 when I first canceled my cable service in Providence, RI. Since then, I’ve moved to Los Angeles and have continued to use and recommend two indoor antennas, the Mohu Leaf and the Cable Cutter Aerowave. But, I’ve also amassed a collection of different types of indoor antennas. I figured it was time to re-test my collection of TV antennas to make sure I’m still recommending the best ones. After all, what worked well in Providence might not work well in Los Angeles → Read More

My Top 10 Holiday / Christmas Gift Ideas for Cable Cutters

Christmas lights

This is my third annual holiday gift guide for all of you Cable Disablers out there. These are gift ideas for those who have already dumped cable, or who want to. Compared to having cable, these gifts can save thousands of dollars over the years. What could be better than that? There should be something for every gift-giving price level. 1. Roku This year, my number one gift idea for cable-cutters is again, the Roku. The big deal for me was that they added voice search – much easier to use than → Read More

The Number One Mistake to Avoid When Purchasing a New TV

TVs for sale

I’ve been telling my readers that since 2006, the Federal government has mandated that all TVs include a digital tuner to allow you to receive free broadcast TV using a cheap antenna. This is one of the main ways that I promote on DisableMyCable.com to save money! But recently, I’ve been getting messages from readers who claimed that their TVs did not come with a built-in tuner! So, I looked up the specs of one of these: the Vizio E55u-D2 SmartCast E-Series 55″ Class Ultra HD Home Theater Display. Sure enough → Read More

Parental Controls on Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, and Chromecast

Amazon Fire, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast

A reader recently asked me what type of parental controls the major set-top boxes have. So I decided to do some research and write an article about it. The bottom line is that all of the major set-top streaming boxes have some degree of parental controls, but some are better than others. What do I mean by “parental controls”? I’m talking about limits that a parent can place on the usage of the set-top boxes by their children. These limits may take place within the set-top box operating system or → Read More

Tips for Better TV Reception with Your Indoor Antenna

Mohu Leaf antenna in window

Getting the ideal reception using your indoor digital TV antenna can be a challenging task. It can be like playing “whack-a-mole”: when you have the antenna in one position, you get certain channels; move it to another position and different channels come in and the original ones you had are now gone. The best location for your antenna is outside as high up as possible, such as on your roof, but many people are not able to put an antenna on their roofs. Here are my hints and tips to → Read More

Google Chromecast: Stream Video from Your Computer Browser to Your TV


Google Chromecast allows you to wirelessly watch almost anything that you can bring up on your computer’s Chrome browser on your TV. It doesn’t work for showing Power Point presentations or watching video stored on your laptop’s hard drive on your TV though. With phones and tablets, Chromecast works with certain compatible apps like the YouTube player. Chromecast is significantly cheaper than Roku or Apple TV, at only $35!  That’s because it uses your existing laptop to do much of the work.  Chromecast is only concerned with mirroring what is in → Read More

Tablo – The Best DVR When You Have More Than One TV


Many people have asked me how to record and play back broadcast TV shows when they have multiple TVs. The Channel Master DVR+ works great with one TV, but if you want to watch your recordings on a different TV, you have to unplug it and physically hook it up to that TV. Not really feasible. So, I purchased Tablo, a “whole-home” solution to record and play back broadcast TV on multiple TVs and device. After testing it for a while, I must say, I am now a huge fan → Read More

How to Transfer Your Videotapes to Your Computer


Do you have a pile of VHS videotapes taking up space in your home? Or, do you want to archive your VHS/Beta videos for posterity or easier viewing on a computer or tablet? There are many reasons why you might want to convert your video tapes to a digital format. Here’s how to do it. What You’ll Need First of all, you’ll need a VCR (VHS or Beta, depending on what kind of tapes you want to convert). You’ll also need a computer. I used a Windows PC, but you → Read More

Why I Don’t Use “Free” Illegal TV Streaming Services

Do you use Popcorn Time or other streaming service that allows you to get newly-released movies or TV shows for free? If you’re using a streaming service on your computer, Kodi-based set-top box, tablet, or other Internet-connected device that seems too good to be true, it’s probably illegal. I just read that a major studio is about to sue Popcorn Time and force them to disclose the IP addresses of everyone who uses their service. They could then sue folks who use the service. I thought, maybe this is a → Read More

Drastically Improve Your TV Reception with a Small Patio Antenna

Channel Master Stealth antenna

People ask me all of the time how they can improve their indoor antenna reception. The first thing I do is refer them to my Tips for Better TV Reception with Your Indoor Antenna. But, there are cases when even after following these tips, an indoor antenna just can’t pick up the weak signals in the area. One solution may be to use a rooftop or attic antenna. But, this is a non-starter if you live in an apartment (unless your landlord agrees) or just don’t want the hassle and expense → Read More

How to Estimate TV Reception in Your Area

Chicago TV signal map

The most common questions readers ask me are “how many channels will I be able to receive?”, and “what kind of antenna should I get?” These are not easy questions to answer. I wanted to take a moment to explain some of the factors affecting your TV reception so you can make some better estimates of how many channels you’ll be able to get with an antenna, and how you can improve your reception. How TV Signals Propagate In an ideal flat world, TV signals would radiate in a perfect → Read More

How to Watch Live Sports Without Cable TV

Dodgers Game

If you love watching sports but don’t want to pay the exorbitant cost of cable TV, there are some great solutions now for watching ESPN, major league baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, and other sports for much less than the cost of cable! Scaled-down TV subscription services like Sling TV give you a few channels for a fraction of the cost of full cable TV and with much less hassle! So, here’s the rundown of how to watch sports without spending an arm and a leg for full-blown cable TV! Watch Local → Read More

The Channel Master DVR+: The Best Recorder for Broadcast TV with No Subscription Fees

Channel Master DVR+

Over the years, many cable-disablers have asked me to recommend a DVR (digital video recorder) that can be used to record free broadcast TV from an antenna. For a long time, the best option was TiVo, but it has a monthly fee ($14.99 at the time of this writing) which is a show-stopper for me. The whole point of getting the antenna was to dump the monthly cable fee, and now we have to start paying again? Not gonna do it. After seeing some good reviews online, I purchased the Channel → Read More

Do I Need a Separate Antenna For Each TV?

One antenna to multiple TVs

I get a lot of questions from folks who want to get free broadcast TV using an antenna, but who have multiple TVs. There are several ways I know of to get an antenna signal to all of the TVs in your home.  I cover them below. Method #1: A Separate Antenna for Each TV The easiest thing to do is to just have a separate indoor antenna (like the Mohu Leaf) for each TV. The problem with this is that some of your TVs might be on the side of the → Read More

What to do When You Can’t Get Free Broadcast TV


There are still a lot of people who live too far from the TV transmitters to get free broadcast TV using an antenna. If you are one of them, here are some ideas. The Totally Free Options The options below are completely free.  Some require high-speed Internet access and a device (phone, tablet, or computer) to view them on. 1. The Network Websites I often watch “The Big Bang Theory” for free on the CBS.com website the day after it airs on broadcast TV.  The major networks have lots of → Read More

How to Get Shows You’ll Enjoy on YouTube!


YouTube is probably best known for cheesy amateur content (videos of people’s cats, stupid human tricks, etc). If you’ve ever tried to search for the latest commercial movies and TV shows on YouTube, you were probably disappointed. However, you can actually find certain types of really good mainstream commercial content on YouTube if you know what to look for.  I’m talking professional, full-length, unedited, and free from commercial interruptions. As a bonus, there is a YouTube app for all of the major set-top boxes (Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast), → Read More

Why I Love the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick

Amazon Fire TV

I recently purchased the Amazon Fire ($99) to see for myself if we need yet another set-top box to compete with Roku, Apple TV, and Chromecast. After playing with it for a while, I’m impressed! What You Get The Amazon Fire TV comes in the now-standard Apple-esque elegant packaging, complete with plastic films that you peel off to reveal virgin surfaces untouched by human hands. The unit is slightly bigger than an Apple TV and has sharp corners, rather than rounded, reminding me of the monolith in “2001: A Space → Read More

High-Performance Flat Antennas As Good as the Mohu Leaf

HD Frequency Cable Cutter Antennas

If you are looking for an indoor antenna, or if your existing antenna is not pulling in all of the channels that you want, check out the  HD Frequency Cable Cutter antennas. I recently got a chance to test out the HD Frequency Cable Cutter and Cable Cutter Mini antennas (in full disclosure I received these evaluation samples for free). These are flat metal antennas that have performance on par with the Mohu Leaf (and in some cases, better), but can be used indoors or outdoors to get even better → Read More

How to Lower Your Cable or Satellite TV Bill

DisableMyCable.com is mainly devoted to alternatives to cable TV and satellite.  However, even I have to admit that for some people, cable and satellite are the only options.  You might live far from TV transmitters.  Or, you might be a sports fan who wants to see teams other than the home teams broadcast on your local stations.  In these cases, you probably need cable or satellite. But, all is not lost.  You can still negotiate to lower your monthly cable/satellite/Internet/phone bill, sometimes with no decrease in channels or services! 1. → Read More

30 Amazing Things to Do Instead of Watching TV

At DisableMyCable.com, I try to provide lots of alternative sources of free and cheap TV, so that you are not forced to pay the high cost of cable and satellite TV. But in this article, I’m going to talk about some free and cheap activities to do instead of watching TV altogether. You see, once I got rid of cable TV, I watched less TV overall, and I don’t regret that at all. Americans watch an average of over four hours of TV per day. When you look back on your life, → Read More

A Beginner’s Guide to Getting Free Broadcast TV (Video)

How to Get Free TV

I did it! I finally put together a video for beginners explaining how to get free broadcast TV.  Check it out and forward it to your friends who don’t know about free broadcast digital TV. Let me know what you think! – Brian

I’ve Got an Old Tube TV: What Are My Options Besides Cable?

Tube TV

While most people have modern flat-screen LCD or LED TVs these days, I still get a large number of questions from people who own older tube-type TV’s like the one pictured here. If you are one of those people, I’ll describe your options for free and cheap TV in this article.  Some of these options will require some money up front, but it’s usually less than the cost of one month of cable TV. 1. Broadcast TV The most common question I get is “how can I watch broadcast TV → Read More

Opinion: The Hidden Benefit of Dropping Cable TV


When we think about dropping cable or satellite TV, it’s usually because of the cost.  After all, many people spend $700 to $1000 or even more per year on cable TV.  But after two years without cable, I’ve noticed another benefit which is perhaps even more valuable than the money: I watch less TV. You might think, that just proves that cable had better programs!!  Yes, cable did have some channels that I miss such as the History Channel and Discovery Channel.  But actually, I can get a whole season of → Read More

Should You Use an Amplified TV Antenna?

Mohu Leaf and Leaf Plus

The idea of amplifying a TV signal seems to make perfect sense: if your TV signals are weak, the amplifier will increase the signal levels so you can get more channels more reliably. A no-brainer, right? I’ve tested a few amplifiers and indoor amplified antennas. My conclusion is that they can help in many situations, but there are some cases where they can actually harm your reception.  Here are a few scenarios to help you decide whether you should use an amplified antenna or not. Scenario 1: Strong and Weak Signals in Providence RI → Read More

Ten Apps for Getting Free TV and Movies on iPad

iPad screenshot with video apps

More and more people are finding movies and TV shows to watch on their iPads. Of course there are pay sites like iTunes, Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant Video, but I’m a cheapskate; I like the apps with totally FREE shows and movies.  So, I compiled a list of m favorite iPad apps for getting totally free TV and movies on the iPad (most of these work on iPhone as well).  Are you ready? PBS for iPad The PBS app is outstanding, with a good selection of quality full → Read More

Amazon Instant Video: Better than iTunes?

For those who are not entrenched with iTunes, Amazon Instant Video offers a way to rent or purchase movies and TV shows to watch on your computer, or on your TV using Roku.  Here are some of the issues I encountered while attempting to download and watch Amazon Instant Video shows on a variety of platforms. Buyer Beware: SD vs. HD Finding and purchasing the videos was the easy part.  I wanted to get season one of “The Big Bang Theory”, so I simply typed that into the search bar → Read More

How to Mirror Your iPad’s Display to Your TV Using Apple TV

iPad AirPlay mirroring

One of the coolest features of the Apple TV is the ability to “mirror” the display from your iPad or iPhone onto your TV screen.  This enables you to watch almost anything that you can watch on your iPad/iPhone on your TV. Why is this useful?  Well, the Apple TV doesn’t have as many “apps” as Roku has.  However, iOS devices DO have tons of apps.  You can use the CBS.com iPad app to watch shows on your iPad, then use your Apple TV to “project” a show to your TV → Read More

You Might Already Own What You Need for Free TV

Rabbit-ear antenna with TV

What if I were to say that you might already have everything you need to get free and cheap TV in your home, condo, or apartment? Why buy anything when you might have what you need? Take this inventory and find out! Your Current TV If you have a modern Hi-Def television, you can probably plug an antenna right into it and start getting free broadcast TV.  Most modern TV’s can take either cable TV or broadcast TV input.  They both plug into the same coax jack.  No external box → Read More