If you've purchased a new Windows computer in the past few years that's running Windows Media Center Edition or Vista Home Premium or Ultimate and you aren't taking advantage of its baked-in DVR Media Center software, it's time we change that. Why? Because after installing a $70 capture card in your computer and a bit of freeware third-party software, you've got all the tools you need to record television shows on your PC's built-in Media Center, extend that Media Center to your Xbox 360, schedule recordings and stream TV over the internet.
Install a Capture Card
In order to record television on your media center PC, you need to be able to plug your coax cable into your computer. For this purpose, God invented tuner cards—hardware you plug into your computer that handles all the heavy lifting of recording video. If you don't already have a capture card of some sort installed in your PC, this is the only monetary obstacle you'll need to overcome.
It's not really much of a hurdle, though, once you realize that capture cards are pretty cheap (especially least compared with the cost of a TiVo) and installing a PCI card inside your PC is an extremely simple process. There are a lot of cards on the market, but I've always had good luck with the Hauppauge cards, and you can score the Hauppauge PVR-150 for just $70.
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