Hopefully this recommendation will change as better solutions are found.
Get a antenna. Depending on the area (I say this because when I moved into a foothill area I lost many channels) an antenna will get you Fox, CBS, NBC, ABC, The CW and PBS (Along with some others) I heard something like 94 of 100 hit shows are on OTA channels.(Im trying to verify but all I can find is a top 10 from Neilson) So if you are cutting the cord and have a desire for local news and network shows (Grey’s, Blacklist….) this is the best option and also the cheapest thing. It might be a wise thing to go to TV Fool (My Post) and see the expected channels you would get with an Antenna, also the more height and also the location of your antenna can play a big role. I have some sort of mental block putting an antenna on the roof (mental and aesthetic reasons) so If possible I would recommend a attic antenna, to run the wiring look on YouTube and possibly seek the help of someone that has run cable before. (Its not as though its hard, rather time consuming and possibly dirty/itchy. For those that have it you can use some of the cable snakes that Ethernet uses and also some of the cable pathways) If you are out to save money maybe a cable package with only the broadcast channels would be a better way to go.
Purchase 1: Antenna
This varies from person to person.
Part A: I was guilty of becoming addicted to a DVR. When it comes to a DVR (I really don’t have experience with TiVo products) I like the Tablo. To play it on a TV it has to use a channel on a streaming device. So in addition to the DVR you need a streaming device and you also need a hard drive that can be plugged into the device via USB. To use the Tablo and any streaming services you need to get a streaming device. For other DVR’s SimpleTV is out of business and sucks, Channelmaster+ and TiVo devices only work on one device. The Tablo will support Amazon Fire devices, Android TV, AppleTV (Which uses Airplay from an Ipad), Roku, or Chromecast Device. I’m having issues getting information on which Roku devices this works on. DVR’s
Part B: I would recommend a middle of the line Roku 2, Roku 3 if you plan on mounting the device in a location that would eliminate the remotes ability to have a direct line of sight with the streaming device. (Roku 4 if you plan on a 4k tv.) When you get this device there are some things to think about. Like is is it going to be connected to your network via WiFi. I feel like the interface on the Amazon Device leaves something to be desired. (Although for those a little more adventurous you can sideload Kodi, but unless you are going to do that Amazon devices lack) Android relies on Kodi but some Android devices can be great some can be pathetic and there are many in the market. Apple devices are proprietary and seem to lack support for things. Chromecast devices require another device for wired internet (otherwise they can have shaky WiFi) also Chromecast devices must be controlled by cell phones, which many times automatically lock. Although I’ve heard good things about Nexus devices I’ve also heard bad things, so I would recommend staying away unless someone provides better reasons than “I Say” I also had issues finding support for Amazon Video. When it comes to NVidia devices, they seem very good, (when it comes to gaming they win hands down) but I was shopping for a streaming not gaming device, so I would hold out, I also can’t find anywhere that they support Amazon Video. The WD Device supports more video formats than all the other devices but it seems that you must use your smartphone for control and it seems to lack support for Amazon and Netflix. Streaming Devices
Purchase 2: Part A: Tablo, USB hard drive Part B: Roku 2 (Roku Stick if wireless/travel device, Roku 3 for remote needing lack of line of sights, Roku 4 if 4k)
Im going through and listing all services….but that content will come after I get more time using them. Services
Netflix: This is probably the most popular pay service. Netflix is also making its own TV shows, but I wonder how well its going to compete against Amazon in a couple years.
Amazon video/prime: This service is also making its own TV shows. Nice thing is that people sign up for Prime and they get Amazon’s video service.
Hulu: This is popular because it is known as the service that gets almost everything on TV the next day.
Plex: I was hesitant to add this but…. I find myself using it so much that I feel it needed to be done. My story…I had a old laptop that was in a closet just collecting dust, but it was extremely old and under powered so I was nervous about it having enough power to do anything. I installed a command line linux on it (I kinda think maybe command line was a difficult way to go and I should have done a Graphical interface) anyways I set it up so that over the network I could share files and it would automatically check what was shared and import those files into Plex (old DVD’s, YouTube videos I’ve downloaded) as space has been needed I’ve purchased some extremely cheap external USB harddrives. So although at first it may have seemed hard, Linux that is, Plex was extremely easy and converts videos on the fly to the format your streaming device uses. It also has “Channels” such as Discovery or Tablo to get content, and with a little know how you can add unofficial (Still legal) channels (Discovery Canada, etc) so that it is more convenient.
Playon: Although I use Playon, I have heard both good and bad things about it. It has a server aspect that only runs on Windows. I decided to get it on a whim (Ok, Sale) and maybe spent an hour on it. I set it up and have not been watching to much on it….but because I got the full version of Playon I do go to the various channels and see what full episodes are offered and make recordings of them. I feel from my limited time on it that it is a very good product and there are many scripts that you can get to expand its functionality. Because I have spent so little time on it I would not say its good or bad, but functions. (I have noticed some issues where channel icons do not match up with channel names, also it seems as though many times the channel will not work the first time I try to access it but will work fine the second time) Because of my limited time on it I wouldn’t recommend that you do or do not get it, but as a supplement to Plex when you are building a library of recordings it is awesome.
Note: If going to make a purchase of a streaming device, please go to the menu and choose that device also look at the requirements of the device before purchase also any streaming services or DVR devices you want to use with it. A recommendation is one thing, but a video showing it in action is great, and helped greatly on my journey.