Posted: 2:29 p.m. Monday, Dec. 30, 2013
The following is an excerpt from a book I think Savings.com
readers would greatly enjoy: "The Cheapskate Rules: 21 Easy Money-Saving Tech
Secrets." It's chock full of great tips like this one, and it's
insanely cheap at just $4.99. You can read it on your Kindle, your
smartphone, your tablet, or even your Mac or PC.
Nepotism alert: I wrote it. But as you'll see from the glowing user reviews, it more than pays for itself. End of plug; on with the secret:
I get a lot of questions from people who are looking for a way to cut that pricey cable-TV cord, but don't want to give up watching and recording their favorite network shows—especially sports and other live broadcasts.
Turns out there's an easy and very affordable solution, one that eliminates cable service (well, cable TV service—you still need Internet in some form) and frees you from monthly fees.
It's called Windows 7. This may come as a surprise, but Windows packs a very powerful TiVo-like DVR system called Windows Media Center. When paired with an inexpensive TV tuner and a decent antenna, it lets you watch and record broadcast television—in high-def! For free!
The PC part is up to you. It can be a laptop or desktop, as long as it runs Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate.
Tip:Windows Media Center is available for Windows 8 users, too, but it's not included with the OS. Instead, you have to add it by purchasing the Windows 8 Pro Pack or, if you're running Windows 8 Pro, the Windows Media Center Pack. The two add-ons costs $99.99 and $9.99, respectively.You'll also need a reasonably large hard drive with a decent chunk of free space. A one-hour recorded TV show can easily consume 7-8 gigabytes, so if you're envisioning recording multiple episodes of multiple shows, make sure you have ample storage to spare.