DIY Friday: Build Your Own HDTV on the Cheap

Last November we told you how to make your own HDTV antenna for next to nothing, but once you get your antenna on the roof you going to need an HD display to get the picture, right?


Well, not so much. As we also said in November, the monitors necessary to see the sneaker scuffs on on the boards of your favorite team’s NCAA tournament game (which will no longer includemy alma mater — thank you very much, Villanova) are usually the expensive part of the HDTV conversion, but if you have a spare (decent) PC/Mac lying around you could just make it your required monitor. What we didn’t share with you in November was the number of tuners (super tiny ones at that) that can help you grab the signal coming from your antenna even when your on your laptop.

While the ATI TV Wonder 650 might be considered old faithful, it is, after all, a card designed to be inserted into your PC meaning you’re pretty much stuck watching television on your desktop. If you’re looking for a more mobile experience (and don’t mind watching TV in your hotel room while holding an aerial), you should check out the crazy small Fuji PLUS FD-USB728 USB 2.0 Interface USB HDTV ATSC/NTSC TV Tuner For PC&Notebook (right). Designed specifically for your laptop, the Fuji PLUS seems to be the for anyone looking to see television the way it was meant to be watched from anywhere in the country.

Oh and what if you’re a mac user, like yours truly? Well, have no fear, the four-and-a-half Macworld mouse-rated Miglia TVMini HD is here for your viewing pleasure, complete with Elgato Systems‘ award winning EyeTV 2 software (although if you’re interested in this feature, buy it as fast as you can, because Elgato seems to have just yanked Miglia’s distribution liscense for the software), which lets you schedule recordings and turn your saved shows into DVD and Video iPod-compatible formats.