Apple TV on a Budget

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Buy a TV Antenna

Depending on where you live, you may have access to numerous channels over-the-air. This is especially great for sports fans, as it can supplement the blacked out local games on Apple TV. There are also many new advances in TV antenna technology. Newer TV antennas often feature amplifiers which can boost reception. With the new digital broadcasting format, these channels offer a crisp, clear high-definition picture.

Before you cancel cable and buy an Apple TV and antenna, you can actually check which channels are available over-the-air. The FCC offers a website with information about DTV signal availability in your area. Simply enter your area code, pinpoint your location on the map, and you can see what’s available to you for free. Channels are grouped by signal strength. You’ll probably be amazed at what you can get for free. If you buy an amplified antenna, you may be able to access even more channels.

Not everyone will need a TV antenna. I don’t use one anymore. I have more than enough to watch on Apple TV.

Buy a Case and Strap for the Siri Remote

The Siri Remote is probably the best TV remote I have ever used. It has many of the same components found in smartphones. With its Touch surface, Bluetooth connectivity, accelerometer and two microphones, the remote is definitely not cheap. Your Apple TV comes with a Siri Remote, but it’s fragile. Since the face of the remote is constructed out of glass, dropping it can cause it to shatter. This could render the remote unusable. Buying a replacement remote costs $79.

When I first learned of the remote’s fragility, I was furious. Apple must be running some kind of scam. Perhaps they are profiting from replacing remotes? The fact is, the Touch surface has to be constructed of glass. Just like the trackpad on a MacBook or the screen on an iPhone, the Siri Remote’s glass Touch surface is a necessity. It provides smooth and accurate tracking of finger movements.

Several vendors offer cases and straps for the Siri Remote. If you are accident prone or have small children, I highly recommend protecting your remote. The fact that the remote is an excellent game controller, especially for racing games, puts the remote at even more risk for damage. A strap can prevent you from dropping the remote while playing an action-packed game. If you do drop it, the case may protect it from shattering.

I personally don’t use a case or strap for my Siri Remote. The remote fits very well in my hand, which prevents me from dropping it. I’m also not very accident-prone. I make sure to never place it on the edge of a table or in any position where it is vulnerable to falls. I stand on a rug when I play video games. That way, if I drop the remote, it will fall on a soft surface.

Simply being aware of the remote’s fragility may be enough. I used to drop my old aluminum Apple TV remote all the time. I treat my Siri Remote like an iPhone, which seems to be enough for me. I’ve never dropped and shattered an iPhone, and so far, after almost 18 months, my Siri Remote is in mint condition. (next page →)

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