It's the buzz in Charlotte at computer retailers like Best Buy lately. Go shopping for a computer and they'll tell you how it's now a viable option to replace your cable TV or satellite with a Windows 7 Media Center computer.
Sure, for many it might be a little early to go that far, but with the new release of Windows 7 Media Center it's finally an option at least. If you haven't noticed, there are a lot of video stores closing their doors around Charlotte; surely a sign that things are changing in this regard. And with sites such as Hulu, which has a "plug-in" that goes along with Media Center, you can forget about watching your shows when they come on TV and watch them the next day via the Internet with less than 1/2 the commercial time.
Internet TV is on the rise
The fact is that television watching via computer is on the rise, and Windows 7 Media Center delivers many more possibilities than its predecessor, Windows XP Media Center.
Best of all, you don't have to watch it on a computer monitor. You can hook up a PC to your 60" LCD screen and use a Media Center remote control. Then let Windows Media Center be your entertainment center driving your TV shows, movies, music, pictures and more; all without any monthly fees. No wonder more and more people are jumping on the bandwagon.
Here are some of the features included in Windows 7 Media Center:
- Live broadcast TV (the only feature that requires a TV card in your computer)
- Internet TV - Many channels to choose from
- TV guides
- Scheduled DVR recording - record any show for later viewing
- Free online TV shows and movies - many complete series to choose from
- Netflix movie rentals - instant viewing of thousands of movies
- HD content - many HD quality shows
- "Sports Lounge" - exclusive sports content, highlights & specials for sports enthusiasts
- MSNBC news
- Downloadable content - based upon your preferences
- Content sharing between computers in your home
- Wireless integration - watch Media Center content from your XBox 360 or PlayStation 3
And if that's not enough, it's a pretty good media container and presenter for all of your pictures, music and home videos as well.
Why pay for stuff that's free?
So considering the money most people pay for channels, whether it's cable or satellite, the option is now here to have much of what you're paying for much less, or even free. You might miss a few bells and whistles, but in this market many people are looking to pinch and save wherever they can. Since most people average $70 - $125 for TV/Internet content from their provider, this is one place many can save immediately.
Windows 7 Media Center is available in all Windows 7 versions except for Windows 7 Home Standard.