The Tech-pert: How to Turn a Spare PC into a Free DVR


Staff member
From The Article:
Lately, more and more people have been asking me about "cutting the cord." No, this has nothing to do with childbirth; it's about ditching pricey cable TV--the "cord"--in favor of Netflix, Hulu, iTunes and other digital options.

Much as I'm a fan of those inexpensive alternatives, there are times when I want to watch--and record--live TV. A simple antenna connected to my TV's digital tuner takes care of the "watch" part, as I can tune in most of the major networks via over-the-air signals.

But what about recording? For that, I rely on a spare desktop PC (though a laptop would do as well), an inexpensive accessory, and Windows 7. Combined, they make a fantastic DVR for watching and recording digital, high-definition broadcasts.

The accessory in question is a digital TV tuner that plugs into a USB port. Your existing indoor or outdoor antenna plugs into the tuner. From there, you just run Windows Media Center, which comes standard with every version of Windows 7 except Basic. WMC gives you a complete program guide, just like a TiVo or cable-company DVR, but without the monthly fees.
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