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Super Bowl Prep 2012: HDTV tuner and antenna

The NFL Super Bowl is this Sunday. A few lucky fans will be at the stadium, many will be at a local sports bar, but most of you (like us) will probably be watching the game at home. Today, there are many more ways to enjoy the big game beside just watching it on TV. There are live blogs and commentaries of the ads via the web, NFL play-by-play on the iPad, and your own instant replay on the computer if you are recording it with a digital tuner. We have put together a few gadgets to help you get the most out of Game Day. Of course, all of these suggestions are still applicable should you be more of a Downton Abbey than a football fan…and even better if you happen to be both!

Many readers have purchased a new large-screen TV the past few years, and probably get their TV signal from satellite or cable service providers. Maybe that is because they do not known that there is a free (and often higher quality) TV signal which can be pulled right out of the air. We have talked about this a few times in the past, but we feel obligated to mention it again ahead of the Super Bowl, especially with some talk that a certain service provider may not be carrying the game due to a contract dispute. It won’t affect us here at RainyDayMagazine as we dumped our service provider years ago. Pairing what we can get on the internet (NetFlix, Hulu, etc…) with what we can get off-the-air, we do not feel we have missed anything significant…except for the expensive monthly bills.

Whether you are looking for a higher quality signal or to eliminate your cable-TV bill, getting a good indoor HDTV antenna is the easiest way to do it. We prefer indoor antennas because they are easy to set up and may be repositioned as necessary. The two we can recommend are ClearStream’s Micron/Micron-R and MOHU Leaf. We had looked at the Micron before, and the Micron-R is the same but with the addition of a reflector to enhance the signal-grabbing ability of the antenna.

Another cool indoor antenna is the Mohu Leaf. The Leaf comes in two versions: regularand USB-amplified. Both antennas are paper thin and are compatible with all HDTVs. The Leaf is two colors (blackwhite). Just flip the antenna when you want the other color. Another great thing about the Leaf is that it is so thin it can be mountedattached, or placed out of sight.

Those wishing to be able to do their own instant replay in parallel with the live broadcast would need something like an EyeTV tuner and a computer. We showed how to set up the EyeTV last September. It was pretty much plug-n-play. The only thing to check is that there is sufficient disk space available for storing the data. About 10GB of free space should be sufficient.

There are just a few more days before the big game. We suggest you get the gear set up early and do a few dry runs to make sure you know how to work everything…you don’t want to spend time fiddling with the hardware or software during game time!!! The RainyDaySports prediction? New England Patriots by ten.

Feb 6 Update: A well-deserved 21-17 win by the Giants. Can’t argue that they did not beat the Patriots fair and square in a well-contested game! Most enjoyable. This is shaping up to be an awesome rivalry. Can’t wait until the Fall!!!

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