Literally Crushing Cable: This TV Antenna Is Made From Recycled Set-Top Boxes

Reduce, reuse and… smash that cable box? Over-the-air TV antenna maker Mohu is getting ready to sell a new antenna that’s taking cord cutting to the next level: The Mohu ReLeaf, which is scheduled to go on sale for $50 later this month, is partially made from recycled cable and satellite TV set-top boxes.

ReLeaf uses the same kind of “flat” antenna style that Mohu is known for, with the addition of some environmentally friendly materials. Most notable: The antenna’s clamshell base is made from plastic parts salvaged from discarded pay TV set-top boxes, which have been crushed into tiny pieces and then melted into its new shape. One pound of plastic from set-top boxes can make clamshells for 40 Mohu ReLeaf antennas, the company told Variety.

Some of the discarded set-top boxes that are being used by Mohu to make its new antenna.
Photo courtesy of Mohu

Mohu has been a pioneer of flat antennas that don’t look like unwieldy rabbit ear contraptions anymore, which have been a hit with consumers looking for alternatives to traditional pay TV. In fact, some consumers seem to be shopping for these devices specifically to augment their streaming experience: Mohu said last year that sales picked up significantly after Dish released its Sling TV streaming service, which until recently didn’t offer access to any broadcast networks.

In fact, antennas have become so popular that one of the biggest retailers decided to manufacture them as well: Amazon started selling its own TV antennas as part of its Amazon Basic line of products, which look very much like Mohu’s products, and currently sell better than any TV or Blu-ray player on the company’s website.

In light of that competition, making an antenna from crushed-up cable boxes may seem like a publicity stunt, albeit one that also benefits the environment. But in a way, it’s also emblematic of some of the bigger changes within the TV industry.

Not only are consumers starting to embrace ways of watching TV that don’t require a cable box anymore, TV operators themselves have started to move away from the device as well. Just last month, Comcast announced that it will soon deliver its Xfinity TV service to Roku streamers and smart TVs, without the need for consumers to rent a cable box anymore.

And who knows — some of those discarded set-tops may ultimately get a second chance in the living room as part of a recycled TV antenna.

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