How to cut off cable/satellite TV and still get all the shows you love – Chapter 2

Yesterday you read the article on hardware and ran out to purchase everything you need to cut the cord. Now you’re sitting there with buyer’s remorse wondering how
it’s all going to fit together! Don’t fret, because it’s actually
easier and cheaper than you could ever imagine.

With this article we’re going to explore exactly HOW you get your TV shows on your new multi-media PC system. We’ll show you which software to use for
free access and which software to use if you want to spend a little
money.

Before we really begin, let me throw out a little disclaimer. These articles are not meant to be all inclusive as to every single way you can watch TV over the internet. Sure, you can buy
AppleTV or wait for GoogleTV and there’s a ton of other TV appliances
and ways to connect out there that I’m not going to touch on. These
articles are meant solely for the purpose of getting TV to your
flatscreen TV the most economical way possible. My driving force is to
SAVE MONEY without sacrificing my “Pawn Stars” fix.

Lets start with the air waves:

  • Believe it or not, the airwaves are now ripe with digital TV, some if it in HD too. Just go to http://www.titantv.com/ stick in your zip code, and you will see a complete listing of all the channels and shows you should get free across the airwaves if you had a
    digital antenna attached to your system.

Speaking of your digital antenna; you can configure it in two different configurations. First you can connect your antenna’s coaxial cable
directly to your TV and let it search for all the channels and handle
the signal. This is fine except that you can’t record your shows, and
you have to change your input source every time you want to watch live
TV. The other way is to attach the coaxial cable to the USB tuner I
talked about in yesterday’s article. This allows the media center PC to
see the live TV signal as just another input and you can record shows,
play them back or watch TV live.

Lets talk software:

  • There are a number of software packages out there that let you watch TV on your PC for free. Most notable is http://www.hulu.com/ Hulu is a huge repository of older movies and recent TV shows. They are also experimenting with a standalone PC application called Hulu
    desktop ( http://www.hulu.com/labs/hulu-desktop ) which allows more control over the streaming content.

On Hulu (web or desktop) you can watch many of the most recently shown TV shows like: Glee, Fringe, The Office, Desperate Housewives, Modern
Family, 30-Rock, House…etc. Or just go here and check out their
lineup: http://www.hulu.com/browse/popular/tv

  • Another free and very robust program can be downloaded from http://www.boxee.tv/ . From here you can view a lot of TV shows, both old and new, Movies and link to your Netflix, MLB or Pandora accounts. It’s easy to set up,
    navigate and even searches your home network for photos, music and
    other content to view on your TV.
  • Built into every Windows 7 Home Premium operating system is Windows Media Center. This too is a rich environment for watching TV (live, internet and recorded),
    connecting to your Netflix account, listening to music and looking at
    family photos. You can also connect to your Xbox for even more
    functionality.

But what if, after loading and using all this software you still can’t find your favorite show? Answer: Go directly to the source. Almost every single network has their own website where
they stream full episodes of their shows:

http://abc.go.com/watch

http://www.cbs.com/video/

http://www.nbc.com/video/library/

http://www.hgtv.com/full-episodes/package/index.html

http://www.history.com/shows

http://tlc.discovery.com/videos/

http://military.discovery.com/videos/

…and many more

It seems that just about the only network that doesn’t rebroadcast full episodes is ESPN.

Besides the inclusive services like AppleTV and GoogleTV, there are not many “Pay for TV” services that are growing. It’s true that through AppleTV
you can download a movie for about $4 and any TV show for $.99, but why
would you do that when your local redbox will rent movies for a buck and
just about any TV show can be found on the internet? These newer
services are trying to package everything together, making it easier for
users. Well, if you’re reading this article and you’re like me, you
want to spend LESS, not more.

On the other hand….there is one service out there that seems like a really good deal. Netflix. http://www.neflix.com/ For $8.99/month you get unlimited downloads of both recent movies and TV shows, physical DVD’s to your mailbox, great quality and good
customer service. Netflix is also integrated into some of the software
packages listed above, making it extremely easy to use.

OK, so I’ve given you all the hardware you need and all the software. But how do you make it all work? Who wants to sit down in front of a screen
and go to 4 different programs and 18 different websites to watch TV?
Tomorrow’s last episode will walk you through configuring your computer
for 1 (or 2) click access to your favorite programming.

This article is a reprint from my corporate Facebook page. Feel free to “like” my page to continue receiving up to date computer tips and tricks. http://www.facebook.com/gartlandtechnologies

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