Cord Cutters: Turn Your PC Into a Media Center


Here’s how easy dropping your cable subscription can be — you don’t even need a set-top box like the Roku or Apple TV to watch media on your television. With the right combination of cables to connect your laptop to your TV, you can be living the high life — Cord Cutters style.

In the newest episode of our weekly web series Cord Cutters, Janko shows just how easy it is to make your home PC into a media center. The secret ingredient? The Boxee app.

In addition, I plug the web series Oh, Inverted World, an intriguing dramedy about being in your twenties and the moon falling into the earth (a concept that, for some reason, gives Ryan the giggles).

This week’s episode does lack an interview with a cord cutter, but look for one next week — because we still definitely want your stories about life sans a cable subscription. So drop us an email or hit us up on Twitter to let us know what you think!

Previously, on Cord Cutters

Ep. 01: Cord Cutters: NewTeeVee’s First Web Series!

Ep. 02: Is the Xbox 360 a Good Cord-Cutting Device?

Ep. 03: Logitech Revue: Not Cutting It For Cord Cutters

Ep. 04: Wanna Try Cord Cutting? Buy A $12 Antenna

Ep. 05: Cord Cutters: NewTeeVee Live Edition, Cord-Cutting Activism

Ep. 06: Cord Cutters: Is The Boxee Box the Solution for You?

Ep. 07: Cord Cutters: The Gift Guide for Cable-Free Holidays

Ep. 08: Cord Cutters: Is Hulu Plus Enough to Replace Cable?

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What is the remote in this video and how is it setup? Now that we have the steps to hook up the video and audio, maybe you could do a show on the best way to interface with the computer (remotes, iphone etc.). Also what is your take on nettop boxes?


Another PC option is to buy a relatively inexpensive nettop optimized for use in a media center. I recently bought an Acer AspireRevo, which has an HDMI out jack, an Atom CPU, and an Nvidia video chip optimized to run video offloaded from the main CPU, such as Flash has done since version 10.1. It’s about the size of a large router, and either stands on its end, or can be mounted on the back of your TV/monitor if mounting holes are present.

I installed Boxee from the beginning, which has worked great for streaming various web videos, although it has been partially blocked from Hulu. I bought the 3200 model of the Revo for $300 right before it was phased out, but even the current 3700 is selling for only around $350.

Admittedly, the much cheaper Boxee or Roku boxes would allow me access to much the same video content, but when there is a block for whatever reason, I’ve been able to revert to a regular browser and view to my heart’s content. And with both Hulu and Netflix, the browser has been my main avenue of viewing. With Flash 10.1 and the Nvidia chip, I’ve had no problem viewing even high def videos.

For a remote, I’ve installed both HippoRemote and the Boxee remote apps on my iPod Touch. Hippo has specialized setups for various apps and web sites, including Boxee, and I use it almost exclusively.

The SAF (spouse acceptance factor) may limit our just yet cutting the cord, plus the fact shows like _Walking Dead_ have no free immediate streaming option, but it’s definitely possible. Thanks for _Cord Cutters_!


I don’t know much about this so I’m going to ask: after you cut the cord, how do you watch stuff that’s only available on cable (live sports, perhaps?).


Thanks for publishing this piece, peeps. We love the concept and fully endorse “living the high life — Cord Cutters style”. Can’t wait to see the interview with a real,live cord cutter. Sending an associate to stock us up on popcorn right now!

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