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BY JIM KARPEN

ANDY Was a happy camper. He’d bought a 42-inch high-definition TV with digital tuner and had put an antenna on his roof to pull in the digital signals. Remarkably, in Fairfield, Iowa, where over-the-air signals have always been sparse, he was getting 32 channels on a good night. Most of them were the major networks, but there were three Public TV channels and several others.

Then the weather changed, or his antenna moved, or something—he doesn’t know. But things went back to the dearth to which he was accustomed back in the analog days: Fox, Public TV, and on a good night, ABC.

He wasn’t willing to spring for a cable or satellite package, so he tried a different solution: he bought a used computer, connected it to his TV, and checked out the online offerings from the major networks. In fact, some of his favorite programs were available via streaming. Plus, he could stream movies from Netflix and Hulu. Andy was happy again, and wouldn’t have to miss any episodes of Numbers. (Typically, the network TV programs aren’t available for streaming until the day after they first air.)

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