It's one of those seemingly simple questions that we get all the time. And we don't blame anyone for asking it. Because back in the bad old days, you most certainly could get a cable signal and your internet through the same coax line. (Ain't splitters wonderful.) But when it comes to running coax from an outdoor, over-the-air antenna and your cable internet into a single line into your home — well, you just can't do it.
We don't really worry about why this is, because it doesn't really change anything. (But it has to do with frequencies and other sort of dark magic.)
The question, then is what's the best way to go about things?
Everyone's home situation is going to be different. You'll have a different layout for your cable drop — that is from the street (or underground box) to your home. You'll have different requirements as to the number of TVs you want to get an OTA signal to. And your home network may come into play as well.
Here are a few things to consider:
Run a new coax line from your antenna
There's nothing inherently magical about coax cable. It's pretty thick and pretty robust, and as far as home improvement projects go, running a new line isn't all that difficult. The hardest part usually is getting it inside your home. And all that really takes is the right tool for the right job. (And taking a few minutes to make sure that you're not going to drill through a pipe or — worse — electrical wire.) Or maybe you can sneak things through an attic instead, avoiding breaching an external wall. Again, everyone's home is going to be different.
All you'll have to do is run a rough length of coax, get it inside your home, and then use fasteners to keep everything in place.
If you want, you can user splitters and amplifiers to get a single antenna signal to multiple televisions. But this is 2018, and I think there are sexier ways to go about this.
If you're at all concerned about breaking something, call a professional. It's a relatively quick and easy job if you're willing to spend a few bucks for the peace of mind.
Run a single line from your antenna to an OTA streaming box
This is my current favorite method to do things. You'll still have to get an over-the-air antenna line into your house. But instead of running it directly into a single television, you'll run it into a set-top box like HDHomerun, Tablo or AirTV. Those boxes connect to your home network and then allow you to watch the OTA signal through an app, on multiple devices.
Tablo is the easiest box when it comes to just making things work, as it can connect to your network via Wifi. (It's also our pick if you need DVR for your OTA antenna.) HDHomerun is great if you just want to watch live TV — but it requires an ethernet connection to your router. And given that your router probably is in the same room as your modem — and your modem probably has a cable line with internet running into it, which is want prompted all this talk in the first place — well, things can get a little complicated.
(My setup actually is kind of fun, and I used the existing cox runs from when I had cable TV. I've got my OTA antenna running into a bedroom and into an HDHomerun box, which then uses an ethernet passthrough to connect to my router in an adjoining room. Two rooms, two coax lines, zero problems. But it required the ethernet passthrough to be installed in the connecting wall.)
OK, that's it in a nutshell. You can't really run coax from an antenna and your internet drop into a splitter, and then both into one line in your home. Just ... no.
But you do have options, and it's easier than ever to have free over-the-air TV once you've cut the cord.
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