Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ready for some football -- Internet TV style

A while back, I cut the cable and went to Internet TV.

I'm using a Roku device for most of the content: Hulu Plus ($7.99/month) and Netflix streaming ($7.99/month) make up most of it. I've gone from around $60/month to around $16/month, kept most of my content, and picked up some more.

I'm also able to get some content from Amazon Instant Video. Yes, it adds to the cost, but the overall cost is still way less than cable.

Then, there's the Apple TV device that lets me watch iTunes content. Also, that increases the cost because of either rental of purchase of shows or movies, but still way less than cable.

And, there's the Windows Media Center device, a Dell ZINO HD that allows me to watch over-the-air TV (I added USB TV tuners to accomplish that). Since Windows Media Center also works as a DVR, I was able to replace my TiVo.

And, since it's a Windows 7 device, it runs Hulu Desktop, which lets me get the standard (free) Hulu content on my TV. Normally, you can only watch standard content (that is, content that's not part of Hulu Plus) in a browser. But, Hulu officially supports the Hulu Desktop client. And, since the Windows Media Center device is hooked to my TV, I'm able to watch all Hulu content on the TV.

That setup gets me just almost everything I was watching on cable, plus some other content. The things I'm missing, though, include ESPN.

There is one device that officially supports ESPN content on your TV: an Xbox 360. Now, I really don't give a rat's ass about playing games on an Xbox. To me, a game console is like having a cement block: I can say I got one, but I'm not going to do anything with it but let it sit there and take up space.

But, the ESPN3 channel that's part of Xbox Live Gold gets me the ESPN that I need for watching college football this fall.

So, I bought an Xbox 360. And I configured my TV remote to work it, so I don't have to use the game controller for anything.

Yes, that means my Internet TV setup now consists of: Roku, Apple TV, Windows Media Center, and Xbox 360 all running on my TV. And, yes, that's a lot of stuff. But running it all on one remote helps keep things simple.

I think I'm going to need some more time in the day just so I can watch all that TV. Starting with college football.

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