In the early days of radio, the receiver set was expensive and sat in the lounge. Today, radios are in cars, mobile phones and the shower.
The same occurred with television: expensive sets started in the lounge, and then migrated out to the kitchen, car and on small devices.
Now if your PC Windows Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate, you can make a PC watch TV. And better yet, record it for later viewing. Sort of like those VCR things that we once all owned. All using Windows Media Center
Here is my setup, feel free to copy/paste:
Inside my Vista PC, I have a Hauppage TV card installed. You can also purchase a USB sticks that will also work.
Just ensure that the card/USB device supports Windows Media Center
These cards/USB TV devices connect to a standard TV antenna. A good antenna is a must; and with the appropriate adaptors and extenders: you can use the same antenna the TV uses.
Along with the TV cards/USB sticks there is driver software to install to connect between Vistaâ€™s Media Center and the card. I always check with the cardâ€™s web site to ensure the version is the absolute latest.
In Australia, I have subscribed to free*epg from EPGStream.net. This service integrates with Windows Media Center to periodically collect Electronic Program Guides (EPG). Installing the software sets up all the appropriate â€œbitsâ€ in Vista to be wired ready for Australia.
Once all the above is installed, launch Vista Media Center.
Yes, the interface is different to normal PC applications. This is because Media Center is designed to work with a remote control. Donâ€™t fear! You can use a mouse an keyboard to navigate the menus. Also notice as you move near the top-left of the Media Center window, you can expand/shrink the Media Center application to a smaller window. I use this often when working: a TV in a window on screen is sometimes an excellent productivity booster.
The first time you launch, there is an easy step-through process to connect all the bits together.
With Digital TV, there are more smarts: automatic assignment of TV stations to the correct episode listing.
Clicking on the Green Button returns the main Media Center menu to the screen.
Clicking on â€œGuideâ€ returns the screen as above.
Right-clicking on a scheduled show allows you to Record it, or Record the Series. Recording a series will result in programs with that name on that station being automatically recorded. You donâ€™t even need Windows Media Center running (yes, you need to ensure the PC is running, and the antenna is attached)
The shows that are recorded are saved as files on your PC in a directory: â€œC:UsersPublicRecorded TVâ€ for safekeeping. Or watching inside Windows Media Centre (TV and Movies, Recorded TV)
With a simple addition of a hardware card, you can turn your PC running Vista into a Digital TV that records for later viewing. I highly recommend this setup. Now TV is with you whilst you email.