Category Archives: Hardware

Home Automation Reviews Galore

Universal Devices ISY994i

After deciding the basic SmartHome Insteon Hub wasn’t going to cut it for my home hacking experiments, I decided to bring in the big guns. Universal Devices’ ISY994i is an incredible piece of home automation machinery, and worth every penny.

Everything you need, it does out of the box: Static IPs, remote capabilities, upgradability, complex scripting, and more. If you want to take it to extremes, you can add a Z-Wave dongle, ELK interface, and more. Plus, it has a wonderful REST API so you can easily write your own software and apps for it. It’d be nice if you could have it return JSON instead of XML, but hey, that’s a minor complaint.

First Alert OneLink SCO501CN-3ST + Insteon Smoke Bridge

This is the sort of stuff I look for in home automation. I don’t care about controlling my lights and fans, and other cheesy stuff; I mainly want to collect data, keep the house efficient, and alert me immediately if something has gone wrong. Imagine if your house was on fire or had a carbon monoxide leak, and you were able to receive an alert even when you were away from your house? Wouldn’t that easily be worth a few hundred dollars?

First Alert’s OneLink system doesn’t do this out of the box, but once you add SmartHome’s Insteon Smoke Bridge, you can do just that. Via scripts, you can send emails or texts explaining the scenario (fire or CO), that way you can check your cameras, call 911, etc.. It could save lives, and save your house.

Even without the Smoke Bridge, the OneLink system is a pretty advanced smoke detector system. Maybe not as advanced as the Nest Protect, but it doesn’t need to be either. It will warn you with voice when it detects an issue, and will broadcast it to every smoke detector in your home. That way, if your kitchen catches fire while you’re upstairs in bed, you are guaranteed to hear it and find out about it early, making evacuation much safer.

Why this solution and not the Nest Protect? I wanted something that would work with my Insteon network, and would look less like a big ugly box on my ceiling. This entire system also cost less than a single Nest Protect (minus the Insteon hub).

Insteon Leak Sensor

When I first moved into my house, disaster struck two weeks in. My tankless water heater suddenly decided to fail, and by fail I mean it burst a pipe and spilled water into the kitchen downstairs. A lot of water. Luckily I was there to shut off the main, otherwise it would have caused thousands of dollars in damage. Since then, I have lived in fear of the same thing happening again. But not anymore.

This leak sensor came with the Insteon starter kit I got, and I couldn’t be happier with the way it works. The second it detects water on the floor, it sends a notice to your Insteon controller, allowing you to take necessary action. For me, this means an email and text, but if I were inclined to do so, I could add an electronic valve to the main to allow my Insteon controller to shut off water to the house. Cool, right? Next, I want to buy a second one of these to put in the laundry room, where most of the water accidents tend to happen these days.

Every home should have two of these.

Morning Industry QF Series Deadbolt + SmartHome MorningLinc

This was my favorite of all purchases so far. This deadbolt allows you to electronically unlock your door in 3 ways: traditional key, keypad, and RF keyfob. The keyfob doesn’t work from more than 15 feet, but the keypad works great. I’m sure the regular keys work, but I don’t think I’ll ever need them.

Adding in the MorningLinc bridge to an outlet in the next room, I was able to easily link my Insteon home automation network to the deadbolt, so that I can set a schedule to automatically lock/unlock the door, lock it from the app I made, etc.. Really, this is the best part about the whole setup.

My only gripe with this setup is I’m unable to have Insteon query the device to see if it is currently locked or unlocked, and I have no way of auditing the system to see who has entered and left the house (you can set up to 10 unique codes). Also, if you try to make Insteon lock the door and it has been manually unlocked with the deadbolt (or vice versa), it will not trigger correctly. However, I was able to work around this by having my Insteon scripts run both commands at the same time, ending with the one I want. This forces the unit to synchronize, even if it occasionally has to run both commands one after another.

I love this thing, and I can’t imagine life without it. I only wish it had Bluetooth Smart or NFC support.


I finally got around to installing my new wifi doorbell, which is a Skybell. It is one of those Kickstarter-y projects that came out of the gate with lots of bugs, but as of this writing, the firmware updates seem to have ironed out whatever it was people were complaining about. Mine had some problems out of the box, but once I got it going, it has proven fairly stable.

So the problems. First of all, when they say you need a 1.5mb upload capability on your ISP, they are serious. Unfortunately, my bargain Comcast account is 1mb upload, so it can sometimes choke on a connection. This will be made worse if you can’t get your wifi strong enough, which becomes a huge task when you have a brick house like I do, and the room the router is in is surrounded by brick walls on four sides (because it used to be a garage). My old repeater wasn’t doing the trick, so I upgraded to a Netgear EX6200 AC1200 High Power 700Mw Dual Band Range Extender, which is so amazing I should write a separate review about it. Seriously, this thing carries several houses away and barrels through brick.

Anyway, the Skybell. Syncing didn’t always work the first time, and often it would fail so many times it would get stuck in reset mode, which required me to unhook a wire from the low voltage transformer on my doorbell to hard reset it. Not a big deal, but kind of annoying. Once it syncs, you never have to do it again.

Now for the good: the doorbell notification works every time, immediately. Calling the camera to view it works most of the time even on my lousy internet connection. Listening and talking works. The quality of all three are generally not spectacular, but considering how small it is, it works pretty decent. Motion detection works, but all it does is trigger a doorbell notification, and that wasn’t really the way I wanted it to work, so I turned it off. What it ends up doing is it rings the bell automatically if someone sits there, and I was ending up with a few false positives since it sees cars driving past my house.

Overall, I like it, but what I’d really like is an open API. Not only would I love to be able to access it from third party software or a web browser, but I’d love to be able to access it directly without the use of their cloud. Mostly because, if Skybell went out of business, all I’d have left is a big ugly doorbell with no extended functionality.

Upcycle Your Old Smartphones and Tablets

I’m not normally much of a hippie or a Martha Stewart type, but I somehow got to thinking about the technology graveyard in my closet. Everyone has one. You know, the one with your clickwheel iPod, the Kyocera phone with an LCD screen, or the 2 megapixel Sony camera. The stuff your phone replaced, and then two more phones replaced that before they themselves ended up in the graveyard.

So what’s in my tech graveyard? Lots of stuff I thought was amazing back in the day. A Casio Databank calculator watch, a 40gb Flashtrax, a 128mb MP3 player, a GP32, a Nokia N-Gage, and the list goes on. Also, two old iPods (1st Gen, 4th Gen) and an iPhone 3G. I got to thinking, you know, these iPods could live a new life as a tiny photo frame, or clock, or kitchen computer, or…

…maybe an IP camera? Is that even possible?

It is, actually.

In my attempt to turn these old iOS devices into IP cameras, I found a couple of apps that did the trick. The first one I tried was IP Cam Pro by Senstic. This one was all right, but I ended up going with ipCam by SKJM, which was a more compatible solution, and cheaper. Don’t let the reviews scare you, those people obviously don’t understand what an IP camera actually does. ipCam runs all the way down to iOS 4, which meant I could use the old iPhone 3G and iPod 4th Gen, but not the first gen Touch, so that one went back to the graveyard. However, once attached to a solution such as a Belkin video dock, you now have a working IP camera from something that was collecting dust. Be sure to set a static IP on the device and you’re all set.

I also attempted this with my old Android 2.3 phone, and it was even easier. I used IP Webcam by Pavel Khlebovich, which is an excellent piece of software, and free for what I needed it for. Of course, with Android you have true multitasking, which allows this program to hide in the background and start on bootup. This additionally allows you to give the old phone a secondary use while it sits in a dock, so I figured a photo frame / clock would be a great option. The app I chose was Photo Slides by Softick, which was also free and worked beautifully. As a bonus, you can set it to automatically start itself when connected to a charger, and close when disengaged, making it able to start on bootup and close itself if you want to remove it from the dock and use it as a surfing device. So from a cold bootup, it works 100% without having to configure or launch anything.

The Android solution of installing IP Webcam + Photo Slides ended up being an incredibly useful way to reuse a graveyard-bound smartphone. The iOS devices, on the other hand, can’t do anything but show the camera feed or show a blank screen, and neither of those keep it from being an eyesore. I wrote an email to the developer of ipCam to see if something could be done about that, but we’ll see. Knowing Apple, probably not.

Now my house seems to be covered in cameras, and my concerns start, since I don’t want to creep out visitors. However, I think the Android solution at least is a bit more elegant and discreet. People don’t get that big brother feeling in their stomach while staring at a smartphone, like they do staring at an IP camera hanging from the ceiling. And obviously, there are some places where the cameras should never be. In my house, for instance, the 2nd floor (all bedrooms) is a camera-free zone, and the computer rooms as well.

Anyway. I also had an iPad 3rd Gen laying around that only gets used when I’m developing stuff. Although I could go the ipCam route with it, I decided I always wanted a refrigerator with a tablet built in, but didn’t want to spend $4k for it.

The solution? I purchased a tablet refrigerator mount and a 10ft charger cable on eBay. Then I ran the cable around the fridge with neodymium magnets. Easy as that, and now my $400 fridge is a $4k fridge. It got me thinking, I’d like to make a “FridgeOS” app for it. Something with recipes, inventory, shopping list, and other goodies. Perhaps I’ll develop this another day. Perhaps one day I won’t be busy.

Wi-Fi Thermostats are Awesome

There comes a time when a man is unsupervised for 2 weeks, and random household projects take place. Gutter cleaning, hedge trimming, pump re-piping, mysterious projects involving an angle grinder, and on top of all this, the start of what will become numerous home automation experiments.

Anyway, I made the purchase of a Wi-Fi thermostat. It is a Filtrete 3M-50, and it rocks. The same thermostat is also labeled as a Radio Thermostat CT50 and other models. I found mine as an open box model on eBay, figuring some poor guy bought it and couldn’t figure out the wiring. Judging by the few missing wire labels but otherwise perfect condition, I figured right.

Hardware installation was surprisingly easy. Thermostat wiring is somewhat standardized, although my Trane unit threw a curveball at me as far as the “C” wire, which happens to be the most important wire to get a modern thermostat working. On a Trane, it turns out this wire is labeled “B”, and it took some research to figure this out (even Nest’s website couldn’t determine my setup). Anyway, I put the 6 or so wires in their place, fired it up, and it has worked ever since.

The Wi-Fi setup is slightly weird, and maybe it doesn’t look as sexy as a Nest, but it works well, doesn’t need a battery, has a touchscreen, a scheduler, and an app to adjust temperature and scheduling settings. But the thing that sold me on it… get this, it has a well-documented JSON-based REST API. *drools uncontrollably*

Why did I buy this passé, beige, how-you-say… uninspired box when I could have bought a Nest? I guess this would be why…

1) Nest had no open API. The only info I could find was reverse-engineered. It looked nice though.
2) Nest requires the cloud. As far as I could tell, you can’t address it on your network directly.
3) I wasn’t sold on the automatic scheduling. It has to see you for that to work, and my thermostat is in a room with no real traffic.
4) Their website suggested it was incompatible with my wiring. This turned out to be untrue.
5) There are a lot of scary Amazon reviews out there. Either you love it, or it destroys your life (and freezes your pipes). Not much in-between.
6) It uses a lithium ion battery. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to replace the batteries on a thermostat every 3 years.
7) There was apparently a (forced) software update bug that bricked a lot of people’s thermostats in the middle of winter.
8) I don’t care what the hardware interface looks like… if it’s doing its job I shouldn’t have to look at it or touch it.

I’m not a Nest Labs hater or anything though. I like their Nest Protect product, even though it has a few problems of its own, and I may end up purchasing one or two of them. Heck, does anyone else make a Wi-Fi smoke detector?

So, I managed to write an extremely basic class in PHP that allows me to get and set the temperature, and I’ll be releasing it on GitHub soon as part of a big project I’m working on. A project which is getting closer and closer to release. 🙂

Take Care of Your Phone

Image of MyTouch 4G

It plays Angry Birds. That’s all that was important in 2010.

This phone is three years old. Don’t believe me? Let me tell you about this phone.
I got it in Christmas 2010. I had decided not to buy a smartphone until 4G rolled out, and this turned out to be an excellent decision. This phone was the absolute top of the line back then– Android 2.2 (later upgraded to 2.3.4), 1 Ghz single core, MyTouch 4G (made by HTC). It is starting to show its age, hardware and software wise, but physically it looks brand new.

What’s my secret? First off, let me tell you what I didn’t do. I have never once used a screen protector on this phone. I have never used a bumper case of any kind. I’ve carried this phone in my pocket every single day for 3 years, and there’s barely a scratch on it, and the screen is perfect. All I did was follow common-sense notions of how to treat a smartphone, basically. Stuff like, I dunno… don’t put it in the same pocket as your keys; don’t put it in your back pocket; hold onto it firmly at all times; keep out of reach of pets and children. Do these things, and you will not need any extra crap tacked on to your stock phone. Treat it for what it is, a $500+ fragile box of awesome, and it will treat you well in return.

All that said, I really need to upgrade to something new. At this point in time I’m considering a Moto X, a Galaxy S4, a Galaxy Note, or an iPhone 5C. But if I wait until the holidays, I could probably Get a Galaxy S5 by then (64 bit, I bet). Basically I want something with a massive screen, newest Android, and excellent processing power.

So I was kidding about the iPhone, of course.

Data Recovery Tips and Tricks

Recovering lost data has become one of those great-to-have survival skills in the 21st century, and I’ve had to do it so much I’ve gotten kinda used to it. One thing I’ve noticed is most people aren’t aware of their options when faced with a drive crash. The result is many have just gotten used to losing data and have accepted their fate. Folks, don’t be like those people. You might be surprised to learn that many of your crashes could have been recoverable, or preventable.

My first drive crash happened when I was 14 years old, and I learned a tough lesson from it. My entire 1.5GB (woah, huge) Western Digital Caviar HDD decided to clonk out and take all my art, source code, etc. out with it. It was a pretty sad day, and to this day I wish I had at least kept the drive now that I know what I do about recovery. Oh well. Since then, if I ever have a drive that has trouble booting, makes noises, freezes, fails a SMART test, or corrupts my file system, I immediately send it to the retirement pile… once they become flaky, they just aren’t worth the risk.

All that said, I have had more successes than failures in data recovery, thanks to great software and improved stability of drives. However, just because we live in a world of SSDs doesn’t mean crashes don’t happen. Don’t buy into the lies about SSDs “failing gracefully”. Flash media does fail, and the results can often be nastier than an HDD. I’ve had flash drives decide to wipe my files on a couple of occasions, and they do an amazingly good job at it, I might add. When trying to recover from a flash media failure, it’s not uncommon to see zeroed out hex where your file used to be. “Failing gracefully”, my foot. A virus couldn’t have done a more thorough job of file destruction.

As for HDDs, the best tip I can give you, is keep trying. Sometimes the drives will take 10 tries or so before they finally boot. Sometimes they only stay alive for 5-10 minutes. But either way, that’s more than enough of a window to retrieve your files. Obviously, if it’s in an enclosure, take it out… more often than not it’s overheating, or the controller board is fried. As a last resort, sometimes you can wake it up with a kick or a drop, or give it a few minutes in the freezer. You’d be surprised that this does occasionally work. Most of the time, though, if the drive at least attempts to boot, you’ve just got yourself a corrupt file system. These are unbelievably easy to recover from. My favorite software for this is Ontrack Easy Recovery (worth the price tag, BTW), but there are also a few free options out there that may work well enough. The first thing to do is attempt to read the file system with the recovery software. Ontrack can do this without even scanning the drive, which can save days worth of time. If you’re lucky, you’ll see your files and will have the ability to copy them to another drive. Sometimes, though, the file tables are borked and you’ll have to do an advanced or raw recovery. These methods suck, but they will be able to get your files back, even if they lack folder structure. It will also take a day or more to complete the scan, but it will be worth the effort to have your files back. Finally, check your cables to make sure they’re not crimped or loose, or just plain not working. This was a big problem in the IDE days, but no so much for SATA, although I’m sure it can still happen.

Recovering from optical media introduces other unique challenges. Instead of worrying about a mechanical arm or PCB going bad, you simply have to get the laser beams to bounce correctly. You know those cheesy disc buffering devices? They actually do work. Follow the instructions and buff out the disc, and you should get a more reliable read. If the disc is cracked, you can still recover most of the data, even though there will obviously be some file integrity damage. What you do for a cracked CD is add a label to the front to help keep it in place, then set your drive on the lowest speed setting. If the drive spins too fast, it will likely explode and ruin your drive (oh yes, it will). At any rate, your OS will probably pitch a fit trying to copy files, so there’s a special recovery tool I recommend, called Unstoppable Copier. This tool can take days (or weeks!) to use, but the end result is it can copy any file, even if the CRC doesn’t check out (AKA some bytes have been damaged). You might also want to check the drive itself by trying another disc, as more often than not the whole drive has just gone bad.

Recovering from floppy and ZIP disks (remember those?) have similar challenges to optical media. Again, Unstoppable Copier is your best friend, as it is extremely common for floppies to develop bad sectors. Not too long ago, I discovered a cache of old floppies from a source code backup I made on my 386 at age 12. This turned out to be my biggest challenge yet. The backup itself was never completed (ended up taking more than 20 floppies and I gave up), the files were PKZIP’ed into one file and spanned across the floppies, and some of the disks were corrupted. So what I did was this: 1) I copied all partial ZIP files off the floppies, using Unstoppable Copier on the ones that gave me trouble. 2) I used a file splitter/merger utility to merge all files together as if they had been split, 3) I used Ontrack’s ZIP repair tool on the merged file. Incredibly, this method actually yielded results, and I now have some old games I made from back in the day. At some point when I’m not busy, I’d love to dig through them and share some findings with everyone.

Recovering from flash drives. I don’t have much input to give to this, besides that if you can’t access the files through Ontrack, there’s probably something mechanically wrong. Open up the case and re-solder the connection between the PCB and the USB connector. Sometimes this connector breaks from extensive use and just needs to be jumped.

As far as future data loss prevention, here are my best recommendations: 1) Buy an external RAID, and set it for RAID 1 mirroring (if one drive dies, you still have the other). Keep all your documents, projects, and media on here. Make sure the external enclosure has a fan and is made of aluminum, otherwise it *will* suffer a quick death. 2) Use an SSD as your internal drive, and back it up to the external RAID often. 3) Buy a Blu-ray drive, they’re cheap these days. Use it to back up important stuff. Why back up to both Blu-ray and RAID? Because RAID isn’t really a substitute for backup, but is definitely a safer option. That and they survive the elements a little better. 4) Use a cloud backup system. Even in 2013 though, they still aren’t the best option. They take up tons of bandwidth, they often block you from backing up media, space is lacking, and they cost you money every month. If anyone knows of any good cloud systems, lemme know.

So there you have it. If you ever have a drive crash, don’t freak out, you’re probably all right, but the best way to avoid crashes is to have a backup plan. As someone who has been through nearly a dozen storage media crashes, I can’t really stress that enough.

Behold: Pac-Man

Specs: ASUS M5A97 AM3+ USB3 mobo, AMD Vishera 4.2GHz (OC) octo core, 16GB DDR3 1600, Radeon HD 7970 3GB 384-bit GDDR5, 128GB SSD, 15x Blu-ray Burner, 750w midtower, 1080p 22″ triple monitor, Windows 7 Pro 64bit

This marks my triumphant return to ASUS and AMD. Staying with my home network’s recent nomenclature (networks, servers, and devices being named after Pac-Man characters), this is the birth of Pac-Man. I have retired my old 2.7GHz i7 quad core to a certain someone, where it will be a welcome replacement for her Mac Mini. It shall henceforth be dubbed Ms. Pac-Man. I’ll let her have this new video card after it becomes unsuitable for Bitcoin mining (which should be any month now). I’m not finished with it yet, either… the next purchase will probably be an external RAID (4TB Blinky is running out of space, and Inky died awhile back). Other future purchases might include a more elaborate tower, card reader, additional USB, an additional 16GB of RAM, etc. but this is more than enough for now. After I finally got everything hooked up and troubleshooted (took me more time than I’d like to admit to find out the CPU power wasn’t plugged into the motherboard), I pretty much immediately set it out to mine for BTC with the 7970, so that maybe the card will pay for itself assuming the market doesn’t crash for another few months. The thing sounds like a jet engine when it’s mining, and the LEDs turn my room bright blue at night, but that’s the price you pay for being awesome.

What I’m glad I did:

  • Went with ASUS and AMD… the price on the 8 core was fantastic. This should last me a good many years.
  • Not maxing out the RAM quite yet. When I need it, it’ll be cheaper.
  • Splurging on the 7970. This is the first time I’ve bought a real video card, and since I don’t play games much, it was hard to justify the $400, but I’m somewhat confident I can make the money back with the high hashrate.
  • Didn’t upgrade to Windows 8.

What I would have done different next time:

  • The LED fans look cool, but they’re silly and annoying mostly.
  • I severely cheaped out on the case. Like, only paid $30 cheap. It’s a good case for the price, for sure, but it’s a bit flimsy and lacks USB 3 in the front.
  • With half the space on the SSD gone already, I’m wondering if I should have gone for a 256GB. Ah well. Once I buy an external RAID, that will take care of the big files.
  • I underestimated how difficult it is to keep a 7970 cool. Three fans doesn’t really appear to be enough. I’ll add more, and I might even have to liquid cool the card.
  • I also underestimated the power requirements; if I end up wanting to add a second 7970, I’ll have to swap out the 750W PSU with a 1100W.

It’d been three years since I’d built a computer for myself, so this was an interesting re-learning exercise.

Review: D-Link Boxee TV

After one of my roommates left a few weeks ago, the rest of us found ourselves with no television or AppleTV. While it didn’t really break my heart (I never really did like AppleTV… yeah I know, what a surprise), I missed having over the air TV so I could get my weekend MeTV fix. Well, we had an unused 27″ CRT downstairs, but of course it was too old to have digital tuner on it, so I decided I needed a modern solution to this. My needs were an OTA tuner, apps, and streaming media. I couldn’t find something that did all three, but Boxee TV did OTA and apps, so I figured I’d give it a shot. The 2 star reviews on Amazon scared me, but I took a chance anyway, and I’m glad I did.

When I received the item, I realized right away I had previously ordered the wrong adapter for the TV (I needed HDMI to RCA, not RCA to HDMI), so in the meantime I used an HDMI to DVI adaptor and plugged it into my PC monitor. This worked, but obviously I didn’t get any sound that way. I also found that the cheap HDMI cable I bought from eBay didn’t work, but luckily the one I ordered from Boxee worked great. Once the correct adapter came, I was ready to start for real.

Hooking up Boxee to the TV was easy, but of course it involved the aforementioned adapter since the TV was analog. No big deal, the mini adapter I bought ran off USB power, so I was able to power it from one of Boxee’s USB ports in the back. Problem solved. For OTA setup (I didn’t attempt ClearQAM), I used the antenna that came with the Boxee, which I was skeptical about due to its look and size. As it turns out, it worked better than the old flat antenna we were using before. After signup (which was a pain because their website kept breaking in Opera), I was up and running in 10 minutes.

First thing I loved was how it organizes OTA content as if each channel were an app. This is awesome. It even has visual icons for all the shows, which it presumably grabs from an open database somewhere. It also lets you look through upcoming shows like a tv guide, and if you live in an area where they offer it (Atlanta is on the list, most everywhere else isn’t), you can use their cloud DVR service to record an unlimited amount of shows for $10 a month. I’m not really into the DVR thing, so I didn’t try out the service). I also tried the YouTube, TED, and WSJ Live apps, and they all worked great even on this flaky cable Internet here. I did not try Netflix since I don’t have an account.

The most immediate thing I noticed, and knew to look out for, were the bugs. Oh yes, it has bugs. Lots of them. In fact many people liken it to an early beta version. Personally, I haven’t noticed too many bugs, but I have had to reset it a handful of occasions, which doesn’t inspire confidence in using it for extended periods of time. But for me, a casual TV watcher, it works just fine.

A few days ago, Boxee finally pushed their new firmware update, and it’s a good thing they did, otherwise this would have given it a lower rating. This update has made a massive difference in Boxee’s stability and featureset. Gone are many of the bugs, and added is DNLA support for streaming files from your network or mobile device. I have yet to try out the DNLA, but this was the feature I was looking for originally, and now it has been added. So really, this makes it nearly the perfect solution for my needs.

Final thoughts
The Good: Unique featureset, good solution to revitalizing an analog TV, does more with OTA than anybody else, even your own TV, peripherals work great, DNLA support, interesting cloud DVR service, easy setup.
The Bad: Probably still some bugs and freezes left (though I haven’t noticed any since the upgrade), DVR not available in most areas and costs money, lack of app quantity (pales in comparison to, say, Roku), runs extremely hot, no volume control on remote, no direct network file access.

Overall, I give it 3.5/5 stars. If it weren’t for the update, it’d have 3/5. If this device sounds like it’ll fit your unique needs like it did for me, definitely give it some thought. If you don’t care about OTA or DVR, you may want a Roku instead.