Browse Tag: Hulu

OTA Tuner Finally Installed

So one thing we’ve been missing since cutting the cable is news. I’m ok with using Justin.tv via Boxee to watch CNN but local news was lacking. I thought about writing a plugin to grab the videos from local news sites but it wasn’t live, and they don’t offer a live feed of weather.

So we decided to purchase tv tuners for the HTPC. Now I’m using a AMD Phenom II triple core with 8gb of ram in an Antec Sonata III so resources or space were not a concern for me. My biggest concern was cost as it is with most people. I was really set on grabbing a refurbed HDHomeRun but Newegg was out of stock for so long that I decided to skip it.

I had ordered two 2.5″ USB drive enclosures from a new to me website called meritline.com (great deal on them btw!). I decided to check their site for HD OTA tuners and found a nice small USB tuner for 24.99 or two for 44.99. Decided to pick up two of these since I figured we wouldn’t be using them more then that. Side note, thanks for putting these on sale an hour after I purchased them.

So a week later I was finishing up putting christmas lights on the house and the postman stopped by with my early present. Since the wife and kid were gone doing whatever they do when I’m not around, I decided to drop what I was doing and get these installed before they came back.

The installation went pretty quick once I decided to not read the description and just use the included CD for my Windows 7 x64 HTPC. Plugged them both in, ran the installer, scanned for new tuners in MCE and scanned for channels. Found every channel I should have been able to receive but of course as reviewers noted, the included antennas are junk. So off to Amazon to buy a new antenna Picked up a nice refurbed internal/external Phillips MANT940 for $23. Mounted it in the closet above the HTPC and fixed the quality issues I was having with ABC and PBS.

So with this setup we’ve finally rounded out our HTPC and our quest to forget about cable tv. We’re so happy with the extra $80 a month we’re saving. Even happier now that both Netflix and Hulu have dropped the price on their monthly fees.

Hulu Plus and Hulu Desktop

A huge part of our content is from Hulu. A smooth fast interface that is very 10ft friendly is what all HTPC apps should strive for and Hulu Desktop is just that. I finally got my invite for Hulu Plus on friday and while I’ve been on the fence about paying to participate in a beta program, they sealed the deal the night before I got the invite.

I had seen rumors that Plus wouldn’t work with their Desktop app. This made me hesitant but after reading a forum post by a Hulu employee, they finally integrated the two. This was huge for me as it further fills the coffer of content we have on demand. Now along with back seasons of most of the shows we are watching (close to 70 subscribed shows) we can get most of them in 720p from Hulu.

I’m really glad companies are finally making it easy for consumers to access the content legally and for free or cheap. I have a problem with paying iTunes $0.99 per episode when a movie isn’t much more. I can tolerate that much for a song that I’ll listen to over and over but I don’t care to keep TV shows to watch more then once.

Now if the NFL and NCAA would quit being stall worts and give us the same access the NHL and MLB have offered life would be grand. Sites like Justing.tv can help fill the void but it’s comparable to watching a 10yr old VHS tape. Oh and local news, the finger is pointed at you too.

Update: It seems as though DirecTV is now offering the Sunday Ticket for $350 (source) via broadband. I doubt they’ll be giving any discounts for this like they usually do with current subscribers. Mighty steep price if you ask me, much more then the MLB/NHL offerings. But then again the NFL has a reputation for being very very proud of their brand, more so then any other sport.


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