4 DIY Ways To Get Your Home Entertainment On The Cheap

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by Mike Garowee

As we’re sure you’re aware, we do love us some DIY projects. What we love even more is when throwing together random crap can save us a few bucks. And since so much of our budget is devoted to our consumption of media in its various forms, it’s kind of cool to know that you can ...


Get Free Wi-Fi With A Homemade Cantenna

Wi-Fi has come a long way in the last decade. While it used to seem like a struggle just to get your signal to reach from the living room to your porch, the number of reachable networks on your phone right now is probably somewhere in the neighborhood of “all of them.”

And while most of those are secured, many cities have free Wi-Fi spots for public use like in libraries or parks, and sometimes straight up open Wi-Fi in downtown areas. Not to mention, virtually any business that wants you to sit around and consume their products until the end of time, like restaurants and coffee shops, have it available, too.

“That's nice,” you may be thinking, “but I don’t live downtown.” That’s OK, because YouTuber Kipkay can show you how to build your very own Wi-Fi cantenna which will allow you to snag a signal from several thousand feet away.


All you need is an old satellite dish and about $10 in parts. If you don’t have an old dish lying around, you can always pick one up for cheap on eBay, or maybe ask your neighbors if you can have theirs since it’s just sitting there supporting a nest of starlings now anyway.

Build A Digital TV Antenna With Wood And Hangers

“Cutting the cord” has been a popular movement lately, with more and more people weaning themselves away from traditional cable and dish packages and the exorbitant price that comes with them. The average customer spends around $100 a month just for the privilege of having the 17 channels you do want plus the couple hundred that you don’t.

Depending on where you live, a lot of your TV needs can probably be fulfilled with a DTV antenna. Because of the way modern digital TV works, many stations broadcast two, three, and even five channels simultaneously, giving you a larger viewing choice. Some areas have upwards of 50 channels from over-the-air transmissions alone, which is sure to give you a few options that aren’t completely terrible.

Oh, and you can totally build your own digital TV antenna for about $10 in just a few hours.



If you have the skills and the tools and the … OK it’s not terribly difficult, actually.

As it turns out, TV antennas have those weird shapes because that’s what allows them to pull the signal out of the air, for reasons we’re sure science has the answer to. But for this project, all you really need to know is that if you cut up some wire coat hangers to precise lengths, attach them to a wooden board with some screws, and connect it all to a transformer, voila! Reruns of Friends until your eyes bleed.

Turn An Old Computer Into A DVR

DVR service is awesome, but you have to pay a monthly fee for the technology and it doesn’t work if you just have over the air service. Which sucks, because ... well, DVR service is awesome.

If you have an old desktop computer sitting around, you can easily turn it into a DVR using a reasonably cheap TV tuner and some software that’s probably already on your computer. It’s also a great use for that dusty machine sitting in your garage or attic that hasn’t been able to run Steam for years.


And if the software isn’t on your computer, there’s free stuff out there.

The real beauty of this set-up is that if you want more storage, you can just buy a bigger hard drive and install it yourself. Or an additional hard drive. Or both!

And if you’re not the type of person who hoards old tech, you probably know someone is, or at least someone who doesn’t know what to do with their old crap box once they get a shiny new one.

Get Free Satellite TV

OK, don’t get too excited -- you’re not going to get free HBO.

Still, there are quite a few free-to-air satellite channels out there, and they come in from all over the world. And while it’s true that a lot of what you’d receive would likely be in a language you don’t understand, it’s not unlike a traditional cable package anyway, where you get hundreds of channels but only watch a few. And hey, at least this is free.



Allowing you to save money for your next arm wrestling tournament.

You’ll need to do a little research beforehand to figure out which satellites you can point to and which ones carry the programming you want. But after that, you can hop on eBay and buy everything you need for under $150.

Again, you’re not getting Cinemax or Food Network, but you might be able to tune into Retro Television Network or NASA TV, so that’s pretty cool.

Like this article? Check out “Awesome Stuff You Can Make Out Of Random Household Junk” and “How To Turn Your Home Into A Badass Rogue Lair”.

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