How Can I Watch TV From My Computer?
Have you ever thought to yourself "It sure would be nice to watch TV from my computer" Well, it's not the province of the super rich or ultra nerds anymore. In fact watching TV on your computer is becoming more main stream all the time. Some, including software giant Microsoft, feel it's the wave of the future. Microsoft has actually staked part of their future on it. Their new Vista operating system has features designed specifically to enable this sort of functionality.
That's great, but where do you get the content? I mean, you just can't have thousands of channels pumped into your computer straight from the Internet, can you? Well, actually you can. There are really a few ways to get TV on your computer. You can buy a TV tuner card. Such tuner cards come in either PCI cards that reside inside your PC, or as external USB cards. This basically turns your computer into a high tech VCR or personal video recorder (PVR - think TiVO) device. That's pretty darn cool, but there are a couple of downsides to the approach. First of all, as was pointed out earlier, there is a content question. Where do you get it?
With the TV tuner card method, you're limited to what is available with a terrestrial antenna, or you can hook up basic cable TV service. Anything beyond basic cable won't work using this method, because the content is encrypted by your cable provider. You need their proprietary cable box to decode the really cool channels, or pay per view events. So, while this method of watching TV on your computer is pretty neat, there are definitely limitations with it.
You can use a pay per download service of watching movies on your computer, such as Cinemanow.com or Movielink.com. While they do offer a large amount of downloadable content, it's definitely not live TV. If you're looking for real live TV, you'll have to look elsewhere.
Another method is IPTV. TV content streamed straight over the internet to your computer or set top tuner box. There are two flavors of this. One is through a major service provider such as a cable, satellite or phone company. These are definitely capable of delivering a large amount of high quality content, but just because it's streamed over the Internet doesn't mean you'll just be pluggn' in the net straight to your PC and watching reruns of Sienfeld. You are basically duplicating the cable set top box approach, except the method of content delivery is using IP packets instead of analog or other types of digital cable.
There's still another choice. You can watch streaming live TV directly on your computer or to a TV hooked up to your computer. Using one of several software based solutions, you can watch live TV shows such as sports, prime time network programming, reality TV, and moves. It's live, and even better there are thousands of channels available from all over the world. If you are looking to keep up on world events, or want a different perspective on the news, this is a fantastic resource.
The software streaming solutions really excel for sports, though. You'll find sporting events that are sparsely covered in the U.S., such as soccer, motorcycle and bicycle racing. Another bonus is that you can get coverage of the same event form different networks. Want to see if the local announcers are a bit biased? You can do it. No matter the sport, if it's on TV anywhere in the world, you'll be able to watch it.
So, there are great ways to watch live TV on your computer. You just need to decide how you are going to do it, and grab a cold one!
About the Author
Don't just stare at your screen. Instead of reading this, you could be joining the multitude of computer users that are enjoying watching live TV on their computer. Never miss another game again. You like reality shows? You should see what they watch in other countries. Now that's reality TV! Discover what you've been missing at the Watch TV on My Computer guide.