A bunch of different technological options to help you eliminate cable — from Apple TV and the XBOX 360 to just hooking a computer to your flat screen. [CNET]


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  1. unobservant says:

    What’s not so cool? The fact that Netflix isn’t available in Canada. Why, Netflix? WHY?

  2. JulesNoctambule says:

    Too bad I don’t own a flat-screen tv and don’t get the best picture on my laptop.

  3. PirateCaptain_GitEmSteveDave says:

    I took a surplus computer(Dell Optiplex G270) I got from the trash of the High School across the street from me, invested in RAM, a video card, a wireless card, and a Logitech wireless keyboard/mouse combo, and attached it to my circa mid-90’s 42″ TV. I still use XP on it, but can surf the web, use it to host the webcam for my living room, and watch movies from my shared drive upstairs. I also installed VNC on it, so I can control it from my living room laptop, or any computer in the house.

    • coren says:

      @PirateCaptain_GitEmSteveDave: VNC ftw. I didn’t know a highschool, or any educational institution, could just toss a computer though

      • PirateCaptain_GitEmSteveDave says:

        @coren: Well, they technically didn’t. They had them(as well as old AppleII’s, monitors,keyboards, etc…) next to their 2 30yard dumpsters stacked on pallets. I figured that they weren’t allowed to re-sell them, as they may have been purchased with a Grant(federal/state/county) or other kind of money.

        After they were drenched by storms twice, I figured they were destined for recyclers, which is why they weren’t in the regular dumpster and exposed to the elements, and opened a system or two. Almost all had the RAM and anything like a DVD burner/graphics card taken out. Still, I figured that since they were waterlogged, they would never be used for parts, as what company would re-sell water exposed computer components, especially hard drives. So I, along with many others(they had half a pallet of laptops which disappeared in less than 1/2 a day, so I never got one), started scavenging the piles. My neighbors kid talked to one of the systems guy doing the stripping, and he told him as long as he “didn’t make a mess”, he could take what he wanted, as they were “trash”. So I saved a few systems, dried them out, checked for any hidden water, and reused them for myself and/or friends/family who needed a computer. I didn’t re-sell any of them, and put money into them to get new RAM, etc., So, I made no profit, nor took any money, except for the RAM.

  4. tekkierich says:

    I am a news junky. What I am looking for is a way to stream:


    I can stream the cspans, and CNN I think, live. The others however, not so much from what i have found. I would be willing to pay $10 a month or so for this. News streaming + Netflix would get it for me.

  5. mac-phisto says:

    yay! a classic cnet self-aggrandized review of cnet reviews! i haven’t read one of these since i stopped reading cnet like a year ago.

    drive-by reviews at best. lies & misinformation at worst. never enough depth from the editors to make a rational buying decision.

    • shepd says:

      MythTV. ’nuff said. Although you’ll probably still keep cable. But it’s like TiVO, just better.@mac-phisto:

      I stopped caring about CNET since Penn Jillete stopped writing for a computer magazine. Yes, I am so cool CNET sucked years before they bought ZD.

  6. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    Scary to get attached to ideas like this considering the previous posts about bandwith caps and such things. I bet this is why the cable companies think the caps are a great idea.. They want you to keep relying on cable tv.. so if you start using the internet and cancelling your tv service they have more reason to institue the caps!

  7. Ivan Kowalenko says:

    I wish this was viable, but it’s not. The problem is bandwidth caps. I just read in my RSS reader that a Time Warner subscriber in Texas went over his allowance of 20 GB by using Hulu and NetFlix. Granted, ComCast has a more generous cap of 250 GB, that doesn’t mean that we’ll all have that cap. Time Warner can get away with their 20 GB cap because their subscribers can’t switch to ComCast. ComCast could almost do the same thing, if FiOS wasn’t eating their coverage map.

    This won’t be viable until some kind of equitable system is in place for bandwidth caps. Cable companies know we can do this, and they’re terrified. They know we can use a VoIP solution other than their own, they know we can get our media over the Internet, and they want to subtly discourage us from doing this by introducing caps and providing cap exemptions for their services (like their VoIP solutions and their PPV VoD services doesn’t eat your bandwidth)).

    And this doesn’t really work in places outside the US. Many parts of Europe have bandwidth caps, and the caps in Australia are practically criminal (5 GB shared for up/down in some cases!).

    I dunno, it makes a lot of sense, but only to a degree.

  8. Anonymous says:

    They left out the Wii. The Wii has an option to purchase an internet channel, it’s a one-time fee of $5, I think. Then you can watch free online content using their opera-based brower, navigable with the WiiMote on your television.

    Also, I’m interested in knowing if their is a website out there that points a person in the right direction for links to online television content. From trying Hulu, Fancast, to the individual network websites sometimes I end up coming up short in looking for a latest episode. I’m wondering if their is a website similar to Watch Movies Links that does the same for television?

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @HunterDafoe: THERE.

    • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

      @HunterDafoe: I have a wii with the internet program. It does allow you to watch youtube but things like hulu don’t work. Flash is needed to play hulu and apparently the wii is unsupported by flash. Bummer. I just tried it because of your comment and got my hopes up and everything : (

  9. EE2000 says:

    They need to add Popcorn Hour with the Play-On software, so you can stream Hulu and netflix to your TV.

  10. stellarceltic says:

    I’d love to ditch cable, but I have two concerns. 1. – Bandwith capping and 2 – Live sports.

    Until those get resolved…. I’m stuck.

  11. 11hawkinst says:

    I already use hulu and other sites to catch up on shows I like… but here’s why cable TV will never leave me house:


    I have yet to find any online service that provides cheap, LIVE sports. I suppose you could watch the replays and what not, but I like to see the World Champion Phillies destroying the Mets on live TV.

  12. raptorrapture says:

    Until I can cheaply stream my NY Giants football games, this is a no-go.

  13. bohemian says:

    @ tekkierich
    Add me to the list of people who can’t live without live TV news streams. If I find a way to get MSNBC and at least one other major cable news outlet without cable I am so there.
    We have a PC hooked up to the TV on top of our cable. It is great when you have the 900 channels of nothing syndrome. The picture from the PC is great.

  14. Dennis says:

    I think it’s important to remember that many of these solutions (and I use that term loosely) are in their infancy. I definitely think that more and more people are going to be finding ways to stream media onto their televisions, especially with the increasing cost and decreasing satisfaction of dealing with the cable cos. I was just having this conversation with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law who were fed up with their ever increasing satellite tv bill and looking for an alternative.

    Maybe someday we’ll have a la carte programing for the shows we can’t stream and Boxee for the rest… But alas I know I’m a dreamer.

  15. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    The only problem I have with stuff like this is.. what do you do when nothing is on?! I was going to go antenna only but that leaves me with 6 channels. And unless its Monday, Wednesday, or Friday at 9pm, there’s nothing on.
    I watch BBC America, too and I can’t get that without the $50 a month cable bill.

  16. strayxray says:

    We made the switch from cable to an OTA antenna. The major networks come in perfect (albeit compressed) HD while our PBS stations appear to be uncompressed HD. We get a handful of other channels in standard definition. The rest of our “consumption” is taken care of by a $49 upconverting DVD player, Netflix 3-disc plan and upgraded DSL (7 Mbps, no bandwidth caps yet) for streaming on the computer.

    The only thing we miss is the diversity of programming and the ability to choose from a variety of programs instead of planning out what to watch 48 hours ahead of time. I miss neither the hassle of Comcast, nor do I miss paying Comcast another penny.

  17. HogwartsAlum says:

    Don’t wanna lose the DTV just yet, but I’ve given some thought to buying a little tiny laptop and hooking it up to the big screen so I can stream stuff.

    I watched a movie the other night on my laptop throught Netflix. It worked just fine. If I had a cable I could have watched it on the TV.