Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Windows Media Center Where Have You Been All My Life?

As I sit here typing, we are watching "The Office" from two weeks ago. Not such a big deal, really. We've had a DVR for the last five years, and also it's not last week's episode.

However, it is pretty great considering that in the same menu we can listen to Pandora, browse through Netflix, play everything we've recorded from over-the-air HD, and browse through whatever movies are on our external hardrive. That's right-we are networked!

Thus we are eliminating DirecTV from our lives. Yes this means no T.V. in our bedroom, but we've got a fix in mind for that. We'll network our xBox 360 and be able to access everything that way! I LOVE TECHNOLOGY! I LOVE BEING MARRIED TO A TECHNOLOGICAL GENIUS!

It cost us about $230 to get this up and running. We had an extra computer, but it needed a better video card, so we upgraded that. We had to buy an HD antenna. And we needed to get a T.V. tuner. But considering that we've eliminated $80 from our monthly budget, I think the initial cost is worth it.

However, the only downside, and it's a minor one, is that we don't have the Disney Channel or Nick Jr. anymore. But we get PBS in HD and I am recording a few of their better shows (Word World, Sid the Science Kid, & Super Why) for the kids. And they love them. They have only asked for Disney once. We will miss Phineas and Ferb, but we can buy the episodes from iTunes, and then play them on our T.V.! Seriously, I am loving this.

Now to be fair we have two systems running: Boxee, which has a Hulu plug-in and Pandora. It's a great interface for those. Windows Media Center doesn't have a Hulu plug-in, and the Pandora is just average. So with Boxee we get a great interface and while the music is playing it's got a great graphic. Netflix has a plug-in for both WMC and Boxee.

We also subscribed to Netflix for $8 a month. Well worth it in my opinion. We get unlimited streaming and one video a week. The unlimited streaming is invaluable. I watched "Julie and Julia" today and the girls watched a Veggie Tales movie and also "Bolt". Yeah, I know, we watch a lot. But it's new so it's fun. Don't judge me! :)

And if you or someone you know is interested, yes, Tech Monkeys will build and install a Windows Media Center. Let me know if you're interested and we'll talk turkey! :)


chandy said...

So is it still in HD? You pretty much had me up until you said no more Phineas and Ferb. But I suppose we could buy the same ten episodes and watch them over and over again. Do you not have any other cable channels either?

Kristi said...

Do you get channel 51.2 Qubo? That's a cartoon channel (I think, though I can't vouch for the educational value of the cartoons)--I don't have cable, just my HD antenna and I have great reception for all the main channels (well, not ESPN or CNN).

The whole thing sounds a little technically-complicated to me, but the only thing that matters is that you're able to use it!

(Though I must say I'm impressed with all your tech-guru language!)

Jessie said...

Yes, everything is in HD. And it's a better quality HD because the signal isn't being compressed (you'll just have to take my word for it! That's what Erik said!)

No, we don't get any other channels, just the local over the air channels. I don't have Bravo, ESPN, Fox Sports (poor Erik) or any of the other ones. But a lot of those shows are available either on-line after they air, or I can Netflix them later.

I like to think of this as forcing me to be significantly choosier when it comes to what I allow into my brain.

Charissa @ The Stromski's World said...

So happy for you guys :) But what are we going to do when Baby Carrot comes over & he doesn't have his Moose & Zee???? ;)