Watch Television on Your Computer
What's the best way to watch TV on my computer? I know some websites have selected shows, but I've also heard that you can buy a gadget that will pretty much turn your computer into a television set. What are my options for watching TV on the PC?
How to Watch Television on Your Computer
The Internet has taken over the entertainment industry to such a degree that now in order to survive even television networks have to have an online presence. This is good news for anyone with a computer and an Internet connection, as now you can watch television on your computer. Whether you are interested in playing your favorite episodes from a specific series or watching live feeds from your favorite television channel, it is now all made possible by relatively simple to use technology.
Tuning in Over-the-Air Television Broadcasts
There are several different ways in which you can tune in to your favorite shows on your computer. The first method is to install a TV tuner adapter on your computer. This will effectively turn your computer into a television set and personal video recorder. This can be done using a TV tuner card that plugs into an internal PCI slot, or with an external USB based TV tuner adapter. To install the external TV tuner, generally all you have to do is plug it into an open USB port and install the software that came with it.
The installation of an internal TV tuner card is a little more complicated. First, you'll need to shutdown and disconnect your computer from its power source. Then you will need to open up the system unit case. This will give you access to your PCI slots on the motherboard. Find a PCI slot that is unused and slide the TV tuner card into the slot, then secure the card by screwing it into place. Now close up the case, reconnect the power and boot up your computer. Install the software that came with your internal TV tuner card.
The final step after installing your TV tuner adapter (either internal or external) is to connect your television antenna, cable, or satellite feed into the coaxial cable port on your TV tuner card. Now you can fire up the software, tune in live television broadcasts, and watch them on your computer screen. The TV tuner software will allow you to change the channel or record a show on your hard drive. Some even allow you to pause the show and come back to it later.
Watching "Canned" Shows on Free Online TV Sites
Another way you can watch television on your computer is to log onto one of the many free online TV sites and click on a show that you want to watch. Generally these sites will offer free memberships, however, you don't always have to sign up for an account to view the shows hosted by the site. In order to play the television shows on your computer you will need to have a current version of Adobe Flash Player, usually Adobe Flash Player 9 or newer. A couple of the sites that offer free television shows online are Joost and Hulu.
Network TV WebsitesIn addition to websites that offer a collection of television episodes that you can watch online, most of the larger television networks also have websites that offer you viewing opportunities. These include live streaming feeds for news, network programming and "canned" shows from selected series that are shown on the network. For example, the TBS websites offers canned episodes from Seinfeld and My Boys that you can watch anytime you want.
In order to watch a canned episode or a live episode you will generally need to download the software for the video player used by the site. ABC's website, for example, uses a special video player that you will need to download, while TBS and NBC use a Flash Player that doesn't usually require you to download software. Once your computer has the right player installed all you have to do is click on the program you want to watch and it will load. Many players allow you to play, stop, pause, rewind and fast forward, just like a DVD player.
Beware the Free Satellite TV Scam
Oh, and I should also warn you about the "Satellite TV on PC" scam... Don't fall for those pitches that you see which promise thousands of satellite TV stations on your PC for $49. It's a scam and a lie. Read Satellite TV on PC for the whole story.
Do you watch TV on your computer? Tell us about it by posting a comment below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 11 Dec 2008
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Watch Television on Your Computer (Posted: 11 Dec 2008)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved