New Media PC

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10 replies [Last post]
Anonymous

Hello Everyone,

This is Buck Feris, an old AA guy from way back. I have a wee bit of free time which is unusual for me, and I thought I would see how you guys were doing. I am still involved in gaming, and PCs. I have recently built something which I think retro minded people would enjoy, and I wanted to run it by you. I call it the New Media PC. Basically I found a bunch of old PC parts in my basement, and cobbled them all together into a working XP machine. Nothing inside the box is less than four or five years old. I then networked it, and ran the S-Video out to the TV in my livingroom.

Then I called the cable company and cancelled my subscription. This saved me $120 per month.

I do not run the thing as a DVR. That was very important to the experiment. I simply wanted to see if I could change my viewing habits to where I was satisfied with my Netflicks subscription and what was available on the internet for free. And I am here to tell you, I never looked back. I found ways to watch just about everything I want to watch. This is my delicious homepage that I use as a jumping off point to start watching: http://delicious.com/Buck_Feris/Media

And of course, I use this thing as a serious retro gaming machine with MAME and several emulators set up.

Cost: $0.00
Savings: $120.00/month

If you guys have an old machine lying around, this may be the thing to do with it. I held off on building my media PC for a long time because I did not want to buy a new machine with multiple recorder cards and all this hard drive space. I really held of when HDTV started to loom. Then I thought...what if I just start out with a cheap streaming box?

Have any of you tried something similar? Just wondering. I have saved so much per month with this project that I now could afford the new PC. Odd, but I guess the saying is true: The best things in life are free. When I found out I could just call up episodes of Star Trek at will, I nearly fell over.

Great to talk to you guys again. I hope all is going well.

Mark Vergeer
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Joined: 01/16/2006
US - only

Hi Buck, good to hear from you again!

Of course from the Netherlands Europe clicking on the link produces a dull female voice stating 'this content is currently unavailable'. DRM-s*** again. Ah well. and then they wonder about Europeans downloading shows off usenet etc.



Editor / Pixelator - Armchair Arcade, Inc.
www.markvergeer.nl

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Rowdy Rob
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Joined: 09/04/2006
TV for free...

Buck, thank you very much for opening yet another online world to me (as if I needed yet another diversion!). I'm not sure I like the "Flash-based" nature of these streaming videocasts, especially so since my PC is currently slow thanks to installing a cheapo "X-Fi" sound card. (Get the more expensive versions if you can help it!). I'd prefer if I could watch these shows with a media player, as opposed to watching them via the web browser. (Is there a way to do that?)

Still, I watched an episode of "The Simpsons" in a small window, and it was cool. Hopefully, when I rip out the X-Fi and reinstall Windows (the X-Fi drivers screw up Direct-X even if you uninstall the card and software), I'll be able to enjoy streaming video (and most of my games) with minimal fuss or chuggishness....

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

Buck Feris (not verified)
Serendipity

Hey, it just so happens that two of the podcasts that I listen to regularly delve into online TV content. The Real Deal on CNET.com with Tom Merritt has a complete how-to to get you up and running with finding your favorite TV shows on the net:

http://chkpt.zdnet.com/chkpt/1pcast.rdpod/http://podcast-files.cnet.com/...

And also, This Week in Tech with Leo Laporte has a long discussion about it with Dvorak, Partrick Norton, and others:

http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/aolradio.podcast.aol.com/twit/TW...

Just thought I would share. Free TV is cool. Saving $120 per month is cooler.

Buck Feris (not verified)
Thanks

BTW. thanks for the welcome back.

Buck Feris (not verified)
TV for Free

If you follow the links on that delicious page you will find MUCH free internet TV. Yes...for free. The biggest entrant into this is HULU.com. If you want to get started go there. They have streaming movies and shows for free. That is the trick, it is streaming and they plant a commercial every now and then, but on average you deal with one commercial every 15 minutes. ou can go to a place like HULU and pick whatever the hell you want to watch and they serve it up as a stream. Simply click the full scree button and you are watching TV. Most of the major networks have a bunch of online content under the same model. You want Star Trek Matt? Here you go:

http://www.cbs.com/classics/star_trek/video/video.php

CBS has a Classic TV site that lets you get to all sorts of goofy stuff. You can watch Twin Peaks, Fantasy Island, the Love Boat...you name it. Full episodes, any episode, no restrictions. I watch about 3 or 4 hours of TV a week. No joke. I spend a lot of time reading and listning to music. So I thought to myself, why the hell do I pay $120/month for 3 to 4 hours a week. Thats almost $10/hour. That's nuts. Guess what, I actually watch more TV now. I find myself saying things like, "Ahhhhh just one more Star Trek." Its addictive. On demand TV is the way to go.

Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
I get all my shows via

I get all my shows via torrents, but I'm sure there are other ways. I typically only watch old stuff like Doctor Who and the occasional Universe or some other educational program. Of course, I'm sure it's all illegal and not worth investing in; who knows how long it'll be before the MPAA and so on really shut it down?

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Rowdy Rob
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Joined: 09/04/2006
Great to see you, Buck!

Great to see you back on AA, Buck! I hope you pop in every now and again, if not regularly!

I'm not sure I understand the "media PC" concept, where you dump the cable but still watch TV and movies for free. How do you do this? I have a cable modem for the PC, but I don't have cable TV. I had pretty much full, all-out cable before, but discovered that I rarely watched TV and felt I was throwing away money. But there are times I really would like to watch a TV show. Currently, we rent movies fairly regularly (at least six movies a month, probably more than that), so I'll probably do the "Netflix" thing when I get around to it. But having access to "Star Trek" or "The Simpsons" or whatever (is "24" available? "Boston Legal?" How about network news?) sounds very attractive to me.

TV shows for free? How? The "delicious.com" web site doesn't really tell you how this works, or what the catch is. Is it streaming TV, or do I have to download the show and watch it later, or what? Do you need a special "TV card" in the PC? Just curious...

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Cable companies - just an inquiry

I actually had a slightly different experience. When I was calling up Comcast to inquire about canceling (basically if I was out of contract), they then came up with their "Triple Play" deal which saved me about $40 a month, even though I had that deal previously and never had changed from having all three. So yeah, I encourage anyone to call up their cable company and sniff around, because they probably will do SOMETHING to keep you as a customer. It at least stopped me from switching back to satellite, though again, no matter what they do it won't stop me from switching to Verizon FIOS (and I've dealt with Verizon in the past for DSL and phone, so I know they're not picnic either).



Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Buck Feris (not verified)
It is great to talk to enthusiasts again

About the cable/internet/phone deal...you may be surprised when you call. To be honest, I really wasn't supposed to save that much. I get all three from a company called Insight. When we cancelled our cable, they wheeled and dealed with us to keep us as customers. Part of the story that I left out, I now have a Skype line and we were cancelling phone as well. (I'm performing a small experment to save money by replacing old media services with new media. I made a KILLING on Skype. I got one year of service for about $70 and I have been using it for a few moths with no complaint.

Anyway, back to the deal. They really begged to retain me as a customer and dangled some deals in front of us. We wound up actually getting a BETTER internet connection and keeping a no frills phone account. We only pay $55 a month for BOTH services. So here is the tally:

No Frills Phone and Nice Internet Pipe: $55.00
Netflicks: $16.00
Skype: about $6/month (Had to pay one time $70 charge for 12 months service)

Granted, no HD content here. But I have to admit, I do not have an HDTV.

They really bent ove backwards to keep us as customers though and spliting up the 3-way deal was really not an issue.

Bill Loguidice
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Hello again

I have not done anything like that of late, no, but I am excited that the unlimited Netflix subscription is coming to the Xbox 360 this fall. I want to see hi-def content though rather than the standard def stuff.

I'm beholden to the cable company at the moment because it would cost too much for my cable Internet and cable phone to separate them from my cable TV service. I have Comcast, who I hate. Two TV's in the house have HD DVR's and one TV in the basement is just hooked up directly to standard cable, no box. I use Slingbox to watch my bedroom HD DVR/TV on my cell phone and occasionally on my laptop. Can't wait for Verizon with FIOS to come into my neighborhood--I'll switch without a second thought...



Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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