If you're like me, then you understand that a computer is useful for a whole lot more then actual work stuff, a computer is a great replacement for a television. I gave up regular television a while ago, kind of like when people started realizing that they could enjoy cd's or satellite versus radio broadcast. I stopped watching regular television, and cable television for that matter, once I realized that I could watch all of my favorite shows online, on demand (sorry Tivo), in high-def, and for free.
First you've got to start off with the right gear. For me, it's an HP laptop with built in wireless and a high-def screen and (optionally) a desktop with a 22 inch wide screen flat panel display. On my desktop, I've got a Logitech 5.1 THX surround sound system, so that the sound you get from your computer can be heard at the neighbors house, lol. Now that your audio and video are in check, you'll need to make sure you've got a broadband connection, matter of fact, if you don't have broadband, leave this page now (chump). Assuming you've got a decent connection, you can start retiring your Television, or better yet, put it up on ebay for some other fool to purchase, you won't need yours anymore.
There are several ways that you can do this, and I'll just list a few.
- Use iTunes. Subscibe to various video podcasts, and download shows of all kinds. This is probably the preferred method for those on a laptop, as your connection might not always be available.
- Do the same as number 1, but use a program like Miro. It's free and does the same thing iTunes does (except support mobile devices).
- Go directly to the broadcast networks that are already offering your same Television programs you like. NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, CNN you get the picture. All of them have video available on their websites, that you can watch when you like, not when they schedule you to. Some have already content in HD. Another nice thing about going to the website is that you might be able to subscibe to a video podcast, or just catch up on an older episode in the online archives.
- Visit sites like Hulu. Hulu is actually a collection of legal content provided by broadcast networks. If you ask me, Hulu is one of the best online video sites mainly because it puts everything together in an easy to browse fashion. They have deals with alot of the cable network providers as well, so you'll find all sorts of content on there.
- Everything I've mentioned so far, is for enjoying video totally for free, however, if you live on the internation space station and are not governed by the laws here on Earth, then you might want to check out a site called Watch-Movies.net. Yes, the videos are pirated, but where else are you going to see the Quantum of Solace in divx format before the actual theatrical release, lol. Lots of great movies listed on the site, and typically what will happen is that you don't need to download the movie, as they've uploaded them to places with high bandwidth and little oversight like Google video. This means a fast download for you, and nothing to delete on your computer afterwards, and no peer-to-peer ad/spyware downloading crap.
- Lastly, you could actually buy video access from various video vendors.
Another most useful set of tips that I will bestow upon you would be to make sure you are getting a good amount of usage from sites like YouTube, MetaCafe and others. I probably shouldn't have had to mention those, but I know somewhere out there in cyberspace, is a fool who's been living under a cyber-rock. I hope this little introduction to online video has been helpful. Now try not to get addicted to all this wonderful goodness, I dare you : )