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5Feb/100

Boxee: Finally a Computer that replaces the TV

Last summer, I began experimenting with the idea of using a computer to run our home television. Being too cheap and indifferent to traditional television programming to pay for cable, I sought out a way to use ESPN's 360 website to watch college football games for free. (They stream all their live football games via the web now). And wishing to preserve my VHS collection without buying more shelf space, I looked for a computer that would allow me to hold electronic copies of my movies.

A little research, a little experimentation, and a bit of searching for a good deal on ebay, and I had a home theater PC: a computer designed like a large DVD player, complete with wireless keyboard, mouse, and remote control. I also had free software to catalog my music, pictures, and videos.

Since then, Stacy and I have watched countless movies, football games, and television episodes on our 32'' computer monitor via the web. Although we occasionally still tune into a local program using our antenna, we are happy to get programming differently. Very happy.

If you are looking for a change, a cheaper entertainment solution, or a way to preserve your precious VHS collection, I suggest looking into Boxee's Home Theater PC application. It's free and easy to download and install (only registration required because it works off your profile via their website), and it works great. It will allow you to see how a computer will soon replace the television, and it will allow you to consider a future transition away from cable TV by purchasing a PC or a Boxee box for your home television.

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www.boxee.tv

 

Let me add a few important disclaimers to this post:

Please keep in mind as you read this, that I am a bit of a computer guru. If you are not computer saavy, remember the MythBusters disclaimer: don’t try this at home. (Find a tech saavy friend to help)

Home Theater PC's are not mainstream and difficult to find. If you are looking to make a leap to a home theater PC, I do suggest searching for an HP machine (the only time you'll see me suggest an HP computer), because they are the only ones I have found that come with Blu-Ray, TV Tuner cards, and a remote. Try searching tigerdirect.com or newegg.com

VHS tapes are not easy to convert into electronic copies. I didn't do the conversions myself in most cases, but rather collected the movies I own from others, being careful to keep proof of my VHS purchases and only obtain copies of movies that I own.

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