A week and a half ago, I received what seemed to be an unremarkable marketing email from a company pushing its product. I say unremarkable, because I receive a couple dozen of these every week. Every company claims to have the best product and typically these emails go to 1,000 people in hopes that a few dozen will write about the product. However, this one was kind of different. Rather than suggest I write about the product, the representative asked if there some way to pass the message along. Is short, they put the ball in my court.
I suggested that they give me one to try and one to give away to readers. The product is the Mohu Leaf Indoor HDTV Antenna. It effectively does the job of the old rabbit ears, grabbing over the air signals bringing you free television.
Cutting Cable Television
I’ve been writing about getting rid of cable television since February of 2007. I have had a follow-up article more recently: Cutting the Cable TV (Part 2). I also have reduced my cable bill and looked into buying a cable box.
Though I write a big game, I haven’t been able to follow it up with action. There have always been a couple stumbling blocks. I like football and baseball on ESPN. My wife likes the Travel channel on the weekends. However, watching these cable channels amount to just 1% of our television watching time. It seems terrible inefficient to pay $60 a month for 10 hours of television of a month.
Another piece of the puzzle is getting reception for free television. I bought an HDTV antenna in 2007 to see what channels I could get. Turns out we didn’t get much… just one of the major networks. I ended up returning the antenna and getting my money back. The experiment was a failure.
Enter the Mohu Leaf
The Mohu Leaf arrived in the mail yesterday. It might be the least breath taking piece of electronics I have ever come across. It looks a little like a laminated sheet of 8×11 paper with an cord coming from it. If it wasn’t for the cord, I would have thought it was kind of insert to protect the instruction booklet. I took it to the upstairs bedroom and plugged in it. The cord is just a standard coaxial cable. I simply unplugged my Comcast and plugged this in instead. I then taped it up wall, set the television to “air mode” and did a channel scan. Three minutes later the scan was done and I had ironically
I was floored by the number of stations available. The HDTV signals were gorgeous – easily as good as the cable television version.
Matt, a reader who read this article, bought a Mohu Leaf had this to say:
“I bought a Mohu Leaf after reading this article. I bought it even though I already had an HDTV antenna….we cut our cable last year. We live about 15-20 miles from the bulk of the broadcasting stations and my previous antenna (bought at Best Buy for a pretty penny) only picked up about half of the channels. I’m happy to say that after installing the Mohu Leaf, we now get about 40% more channels….almost every channel available OTA. I think this is a great product, and I’m not easy to please.”
I can’t say whether that’s a typical result, but we are two satisfied owners.
Cutting the Cable Television (Take 2)
With a working HDTV antenna in place, we are significantly closer to cutting the cable. Streaming Netflix and Hulu as well as MLB.TV (which we need to pay to see the out of town Red Sox anyway), with over the air major networks fulfill just about everything we need. That includes ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars (on Hulu), which my wife got me addicted to.
There are still a couple of gotchas. Just because you can cut the cable, doesn’t mean you should. For my wife, having the option to watch cable is valuable. Just knowing that the Travel channel is there means something. She said she is not quite ready to move away from cable, but that maybe a trial wouldn’t be a bad thing.
The other gotcha is the use of our DVR. It seems like years since I’ve seen a commercial other than the truck and beer ones during sporting events. I’ve hooked up a computer to our television, but I’d need to investigate a replacement – possibly something from Hauppauge. That and it would be nice to not have a keyboard and mouse on the coffee table. Perhaps I need something like the Boxee remote.
So it’s still a work in progress, but at least one with great potential to save money.
Win a Mohu Leaf (or just get a discount)
Let’s get to the fun stuff. As much as I’d like to keep the second Mohu Leaf for our other television, I promised I’d give it away. So here’s how it’s going to work. Leave a comment between now and Sunday evening (March 20th) at 11:59PM PT if you are interested. Make sure you use a real email address, so I can contact you if you win. Those who give an interesting story on why they want a Mohu, impress me with their set up to cut the cable, or anything else interesting and related to getting free television legally, may get additional entries over the person who responds with, “I’d like to enter.”
For those of you aren’t feeling lucky Mohu has set you up with a $4 promotional code to use on buying on. On Amazon, buy the Mohu Leaf Indoor HDTV Antenna with the promomotional code “lazyman1” for the discount.
We cancelled tv back in september & have no social box. Id love to save money by wining this giveaway & getting some stations at the same time!
Paul Williams says
This would be perfect for my wife and me! We cut our satellite dish about a year ago because we only watched a few channels and didn’t like the time we wasted channel surfing. So I hooked up an old desktop computer to our TV via a video converter and we get shows through Hulu and directly from the networks. But there are times it’d be nice to have an antenna for over-the-air stations. It just hasn’t been a priority, so I haven’t sprung for an antenna yet. But you’d make me a hero with my wife if I win this! She misses The Today Show. :)
Pat Sonnek says
Well, who wouldn’t want one of these. I did cut the cable and now the only TV I get is from Itunes or Hulu. I tried a HD antenna, but it seems we are too far away from any transmitters. If this would work that would out of this world fantastic. Time to check out the technical specs.
I currently pay $35 a month for basic network channels plus HD DVR, plus an additional $35 a month for internet. With Mohu, I would eliminate the cable portion and use the savings to pull the trigger on a basic Roku box and Netflix streaming subscription. I figure that would be a good trade off for getting rid of the DVR. Thanks for letting us know about this product!
Kyle Weaver says
Cut the cord a while ago. Use a combination of XBox (Netflix, ESPN, Connect to PlayOn server), My bluray player (amazon VoD, Hulu +, and bluray). Had a computer set up to stream NFL sunday ticket internet streaming (who we bought from a real subscriber) and also for sunday night football.
The only headache seems to be ESPN… I’d love to use this antenna to bring me within one step of never dealing with a cable company again.
This looks really cool. My wife and I our buying our first home in June, and out of an apartment where cable is included. Since we haven’t paid for our cable in 5 years, we didn’t realize how much it is. When we get into our new home we are not getting cable. I know I can get a lot of shows off the internet, but not all. My wife and I are wondering if we could give up Monday Night Football (yes my wife enjoys this as much as I do) and Big Bang Theory, with something like this we won’t have too. We have tried antenna in the past just to see what kinda of picture we got (which was none), and I were worried no antenna would work inside, but from what you are saying about this one it might work for us and not be an eyesore.
I’m trying to save up for my wedding in May of next year. In the past I usually only had cable during college football season and then I would cancel it for the next 6 months. My fiance likes to watch some shows that I’m not really into, so she doesn’t want to cut the cord. If we got this, we would be able to save a huge chunk of change for the wedding. Thanks!
I used to watch WAY TOO MUCH television. We moved to our dream home a year and a half ago and haven’t ever set-up cable. Since we had to gut and redo the entire house, it wasn’t really an issue that we didn’t have TV (the to-do list was way too long.) But now that we’ve completed the house (HUGE pat on our own backs!) we’ve thought about getting TV (in the boonies, so satellite in the only option.) We started with signing up for Netflix and have been steaming that via Xbox 360 for a few months (but the internet here is disappointing) so we’re still thinking about TV. I would LOVE to try something like this and see if we can get away with not paying for satellite, we don’t need it! I just want to be able to veg every now and then, we deserve it! =)
I’m about to jump the fence into the “no cable/dish” world. I built a HTPC about 4 months ago, and have been forcing myself to use Netflix and Hulu for the majority of my tv watching – I found that even with Dish, I hardly ever watched anything live besides sports. Right now I’ve only got bunny ear antennas, so that’s the last missing link before I cut the cord for good.
So I haven’t cut the cable cord…I wish I could…but I can’t.
However, I do have some TV’s where I just can’t justify the cost of another cable box. A box in my area is ~10 a month. That add’s up fast when you have a lot of tv’s. To save money, I have only “leased” (what a rip off) boxes for 3 of my TV’s. For the other two TV’s, I generally have to pull out my old bunny ears to watch anything on them. It looks ridiculous (I almost took a picture to send to you), but it does work. I have not heard of this company before, but clearly I can appreciate their product….maybe they can start making cable boxes too (that I don’t have to lease!)
Interesting, need to read more up on this. Probably give one to my parents who’s always trying to negotiate their cable TV bill. They only watch 5 channels anyways. Anyone knows if one of those channels is msnbc?
I pledge that, if I am chosen as the winner, the money used to pay my monthly cable bill will instead be placed into my retirement fund. Plus my wife will think that I am brilliant.
I have been using indoor HDTV for a while and it works well for me. The thing is it doesn’t look sharp so it would be nice to have a sleek design one like Mohu leaf. To compensate the cable channels I lost, I set up a slingbox at my cousine’s house so I can pick up CNN, BBC and FoodNetwork etc… Slingbox usually do a good job but when the image is not as brilliant as free HD channels over the air. Another good thing to cut cable is you spend less time to switch channels. We are happy with four major networks and PBS. Moreover, PBS’s kid channel seems more educational and less commercial than Disney. So kids ask less for those toys they on commerical. Generally, I am very happy with my choice.
Would love to win this!
Kishor Rao says
My parents would like this. I’ll be honest, i would like it too, but it would be more valuable for them.
thanks for giving me the opportunity to win this.
I’ve gone with OTA for almost 10 months. Initially it was tough to cut back to only the local channes, but not having to pay that $75 a month is worth it. I’m using an antenna that came with the house, but it is not getting all the channels so I’d like to try a new antenna. Also, I’m using a Hauppauge 2250 TV tuner card in an PC as my DVR. No cable bill, no DVR fee, and I can still watch one show and record another.
i would like to win one for my son and his wife. they married recently and about a week after closing on their new condo she lost her job and my son’s work is not steady. they are really scrimping in order to make the mortgage payment and here in the san diego area, if you don’t have cable or satellite, your tv reception ranges from poor to none. they have neither and really can’t afford either and i am disabled and on a fixed income and not in a position to help them.
My wife and I have been trying to spend our money more responsibly. We don’t watch a ton of TV, and even now, we only have the very basic cable package with about 10 channels. However, it stinks giving your money to a cable company that provides you with a mediocre product and consistently poor service, and we feel like an antenna would be an excellent way to fix this.
I purchased a digital antenna a while back and it did a lousy job of pulling in stations so I pay the cable company for basic cable that includes about 10 channels (3 religious, ugg!). (note: I live in the Bible belt.) I’ve been thinking lately about getting expanded cable but keep resisting the urge. I’d love to try this product to see if it would work for me so I could drop cable entirely. Even if I don’t win, I appreciate you informing your readers about this product.
I should win this because of the further testing I plan to conduct.
1) Would this work at a tailgate to watch College Football games for free?
2) Would this work in an RV (will have to borrow one to find out).
3) Would this work as a mini heating pad? I kid, I kid.
2 out of 3 ain’t bad. I am very interested in trying this puppy out.
Is it me or did their Amazon price jump from $34 to $44 one day after your post?
While this doesn’t remove the keyboard and mouse from the coffee table, it is a nice keyboard for a media center.
My mother in law got me one for Christmas and it’s great. It’s thin enough to slide under the couch, looks nice enough to leave out and with the mouse trackball right on the keyboard it’s a lot easier to use.
Lazy Man says
Good plans. I’m sure it will work for tailgating and RVing. The only issue that could potentially be a problem is that it works best away from metal… and you are surrounding in metal in most of those cases. Also with RVing, you might in areas that aren’t well served by the television signals in general.
Michael, that looks interesting. It got me researching a little more and I found something that I like a little better: http://www.amazon.com/2-4GHz-Wireless-Mini-Keyboard-Touchpad/dp/B003I1GVRY/ref=sr_1_8?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1300548791&sr=1-8. The reviews are all over the board though. I’d like to find the de facto standard version that everyone loves.
I appreciate both your experience with the Mohu Leaf Antenna and the opportunity to win one. I have been using rabbit ears but the frustration with having to move my antenna for every channel and still lose reception as each vehicle goes has me considering a rooftop antenna. If winning a Mohu Leaf Antenna is a way to bypass that option, I would gladly take it.
I haven’t had cable or satellite tv for 14 years. I’d love to see if this antenna perfdorms as well as you say it can.
I have nothing intelligent to add other than I’d love an opportunity to try this service out!
Wow discovered this in the nick of time! Would love this because we have been without cable or any kind of channels since we got married last year. We get a few things that we want to watch on Netflix but it is hard to follow shows that are not available on there.
Lazy Man says
Mike won. I wrote a more verbose response here: http://www.lazymanandmoney.com/mohu-leaf-winner-announced-more-wordpress-cloud-and-links/
cynthia rafler says
I agree with you, paying $60 a month for 10 hours of viewing is ridiculous. But in this world with so much going on from the Lybian war, earthquakes, tsunami’s and nuclear meltdowns, you definitely need tv for just the news. Besides some of the local networks have great prime-time shows. I would love to win the antenna.
Thanks for the mention even though I didn’t win!
Michael Smith says
Hooked mine up yesterday. I was a little worried when the TV only picked up two channels. I thought I’d been had. I dug up a barrel “F” connector to extend the cable and mounted it in the window. Ran the search again, and got a ton of channels. And the signal is clearer than my cable channels. The best part is I don’t need the HD/DVR to see HD channels. Can you believe my cable provider wants to charge $20 per month to “rent” their HD/DVR? They can stick it.
Lazy Man says
I’m glad that it worked out for you. I have no clue what a barrel “F” connector is, but thanks for the tip. It might help others.
Robt Hicks says
Would the MOHU antenna be effective in a HEAVILY TREED area? We are surrounded by massive loblolly pines , oaks and others?
Mark at Mohu says
There is a tool on our website that allows you to enter your address to determine what channels that you might expect to receive (its the “Take the Performance Test” button on the home page, http://www.gomohu.com). These tools are fairly accurate and do take into account the terrain.
I too have seen great success with the Leaf Antenna. Living in Central CA. I am able to access major Network stations like NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX. When adding this to my existing tool set i have completed the package. Hulu + Netflix + Indoor Antenna + PS3 is my preferred method. But there are many options out there. Thanks for the great article.
Steve Peshkin says
I’m a 72 yo widower. My wife died in January of this year. I lost the benefit of her social security so I had to cut back on my expenses.
I’m very lonely and not having TV is a real impediment.
If i could have one of these antennas it would be a Godsend.
joyce eskridge says
we are in an area where no cable is available and satallite is getting out off my cost range since i am 75 and raising a granddaughter, who thinks she could not live without tv my contract is up with sat. and i plan to have it cut off it would be a blessing to win this antenna
Have not had TV since everything went digital almost 2 years ago. Refuse to pay a monthly fee every month for TV. All the people I know who have cable or satellite complain about the cost and increases. I would really like to try this antenna.
This would be perfect for me and my hubby! We are trying to cut bills and cable is one of our worst! We love the same kind of shows and some different so we got caught in a package with the cable company that is much higher than we wanted to budget. On top of that they keep raising the bill what seems like every other month. We were just talking about kicking half or more of our cable package and going with Netflicks. This could make that possible! I now have hope. =) we need to keep the wifi portion and who knows with the Mohu Leaf it may just be wifi. That alone is 60 a month. Our bill keeps rising, it is getting near the $200 mark and to us that is outrageous! if we didn’t enjoy that time together so much it wouldnt be a big deal. But we do so it is. Thanks so much for the chance to win! =)
For DVRs the Channels Master CM-7000pal 2 tuner DVR is available from Walmart’s web site for under $300. The single tuner Zinwell ZAT-980H Digital Antenna HD DVR is available from Solid Signal for $200. Also, the Silicon Dust HDHomerun has up to two tuners which can be added to your computer network so you can DVR two shows at once using Microsoft Media Center. Time to cut the cord!!!
Hello Lazy Man,
Another way to get around the gotcha of a DVR is Tivo, which has an antenna receiver. There is a $20 a month fee (less than 3 times the cost of my FORMER dish bill) but Tivo has a very good interface and once again you can pause, FF, RW and record the antenna content. A few other nice features are the season pass(record all ep of a show) online programing, Tivo Desktop(allows you to transfer shows to your laptop) access to Amazon(except Prime content), Blockbuster, Netflix, Hulu Plus and some web content. To me the above mentioned features are well worth $20 a month.
Lazy Man says
Thanks Patti. I’m not a big fan of paying for a subscription to Tivo because DVR functionality should be a one-time purchase. In fact it is included Windows Media Center. Here’s a somewhat related article: http://www.lazymanandmoney.com/how-to-end-cable-box-rental-fees-forever/