Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Freeing yourself of TV, Cable, and Satellite Part 1

I got a bright idea about a month ago. I decided I was tired of paying Direct TV $80+ a month to watch 4 TV shows and throw some stuff on for the kids every once in a while. So I canned their service. Now since I have Xboxs with XBMC and Xbox 360s running as media centers around the house I figured there had to be a way to still get my favorite programs (and some of my kids favorite ones) still pumped out through out the house.

Turns out, there is a way, quite a few ways actually. The best way I found was a pay product called PlayOn. Play on offers a UPnP media streaming program that can stream, Hulu, Netflix, MLB.com, CNN.com, etc. My solution was simple I ditched my $80+ Satellite bill in exchange for a 1 time fee of $40 (PlayOn) and a monthly fee of $8.95 (Netflix). Then I threw in free Hulu just for fun. So now I can watch Netflix instant streaming movies and TV series, and anything Hulu has to offer anywhere in the house via my Xboxs and Xbox 360s.

I would love to say that the journey stopped here, but I have long been know for what my friends describe as "Zeal". After a few days of use I really came to like the interfaces of Hulu and Netflix, and wanted all my downloaded TV shows and ripped movies to have the same kind of look. I tried several different ways to reproduce a similar look and feel. I will go over these and the rest of my overhaul of my media center in a couple articles. Keep an eye out for part 2 if you are interested.

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