I put a fair amount of effort after getting my new TV into
having a computer that could use it as a monitor.
I expected to run MythTV on it. I did in
fact once have MythTV set up to record off-the-air shows for
playing later, but I reinstalled because something else wasn’t
working right, and really haven’t felt the
need to set it up again.
You do get better results from mythtv than you do from
hulu.com, but hulu.com is a lot less trouble, and seems to get
most of the things I want to watch on over-the-air TV.
At the moment, I’m also paying for Comcast digital TV with HD,
which is necessary if you want to watch baseball games or tennis
matches or some of the political debates, but is disappointing as a way to watch movies or tv
shows. You can find things if you work hard enough, but there
isn’t the variety of TV reruns and old movies that you would want.
But if you have a Windows computer hooked up to your TV, and a
Netflix account only a
couple of dollars a month more expensive than the cheapest, and
a fast broadband connection, you
can watch an increasing number of things with the click of the
I had been using it only intermittently until last week, but
last week Comcast sent me a postcard claiming they’d doubled my
connection speed, and suddenly, watching online seems about the
same quality as watching DVD’s.
I’d always assumed that when there was enough stuff available
and the quality was good enough you’d want to watch some movies
that way on the nights you wanted a movie and didn’t have a
DVD. This saves you paying for more DVD’s at a time than you’re
generally going to watch.
But it turns out that what it’s really good for is when you
come home tired and want to watch a comedy for a bit before
going to bed. I’ve been watching the first season of 30 Rock, which I didn’t get hooked on at the
time. It’s really a lot easier than channel surfing on the
cable box (which is unnecessarily complicated), and you get
something you know you’re in the mood for.
It would probably be even more virtuous to not use TV to unwind
at the end of the day, but given that’s what I’m used to doing,
and given I’ve spent all the money anyway, this seems like the
way to do it.
I don’t recommend spending lots of money just to get this, but
if like me you’re paying for a fast internet connection for
other reasons, it might be worth paying netflix and setting up
an old computer so you can do this.