Cut the cord or maximize the value you get from your cable subscription?
That was the core question The Digital Hobo struggled with when we launched. And we came up with the best answer for us.
MAX IT OUT.
True to our mission, we’ve got a killer set up of free/cheap/standard software that gives us nearly all of our TV across any device. Here’s how.
Start with the basic DVR functionality of Windows Media Center. Its built in to Windows 7 and was only $19 as an add-on to Windows 8.
After your shows record, let MCEBuddy run wild. MCEBuddy serves two core functions. First, it rips the commercials out of your TV shows. And second, it transcodes your shows from huge .WTV files into smaller, easy to stream H264/MP4 video.
MCEBuddy dumps the renamed files into my TV Shows folder that Plex monitors. Plex downloads the meta-data and makes the shows available on all of my devices.
The recent Simpsons marathon on FXX put our HTPC’s CPU through a grueling weeklong encoding stress test, but it survived. And now I’m the proud owner of my own bluray quality Simpsons box set.
The only outside-the-box product required is a TV tuner card for the PC. The Hobo uses a Silicon Dust Home Run Prime. The whole process runs auto-magically now.
Your cable company determines which channels are copy-once or copy-freely. In our case, we’re able to encode most of the premium cable channels, except for HBO. And that’s just fine with us. Since we’re paying subscribers, we have HBO Go on our portable devices.
Plain and simple, Plex Media Server is what you are looking for if you’re wondering how to watch your movies or listen to your music across all of your portable devices.
The server runs on your computer. The apps run on your phones and tablets and SmartTVs. Point the server to your content folder and BAM! Good to go.
If your ISP doesn’t allow you to run a server, you can even host your files on many of the standard, free cloud-based hosting solutions like Dropbox, Copy.com, BitCasa, and Google Drive. Plex looks for content across all of your hosts, so you don’t have to remember where you backed up your content.
Don’t have a free storage solution? Use our links and get an additional 5GB of free storage.