Saturday, January 09, 2010

Fox Network Blowback

A few weeks ago the FOX Network wanted to charge other cable networks for programming including bowl games upon which they (FOX) hold as exclusives.   It created an uproar between other cable companies and Fox because the bowl games were coming up.  They would have no choice but to pass the increased costs on to their subscribers - about $1 each I believe - and subscribers are already in revolt.  Maybe our collective memories are very short, but one original promise by cable companies was they would provide programming WITHOUT ADVERTISING.  Yeah, right.  That sure didn't last long did it?

During the stand-off and in retaliation, Time-Warner Cable started a 'Roll Over or Get Tough' campaign and publicly posted a video scenario to bypass the networks and watch almost anything online, albeit a day late.  Amazing!  I find the original Get Tough posting has disappeared, but it was downloaded and is still available through other sources.

I found you can watch practically anything from any network online.  There are several online sources for this, and one very popular one called "HULU".  If the graphics card in your computer can handle this, it's sure worth a try.  If so, you are home free and can watch anything you want on your computer.  But, here's the best part:

Time-Warner demonstrates a way to connect a computer to a HDTV and watch whatever you wish on the big screen. The quality is good in HD - darned near like cable HD.  I've now rigged things up so my wife and I can either watch regular cable TV (We have only the basic cable and don't get many shows beyond the standard religious and shopping trash), or switch back to the TV and watch the regular TV shows. 

When online, just search through the TV shows or movies you want and click on which episode you want to watch - that's it!  One very nice thing is you can choose to watch a short one to two minute ad at the beginning - which are just movie previews anyway, and then there are no commercial interruptions during the show!

You will need a fast, late model computer with plenty of RAM (at least 1G) and a high quality graphics card.  (You can easily check your computer by going online and trying for yourself - the quality you see there will be what your TV will reproduce).

**Shorthand, step-by-step method - How to rig your computer to your HD TV:

1. Make sure you have either an S-Video port, a DVI of a mini DVI output port on your computer (see video in 'other sources' link above);

2. Check your TV to see which connection port(s) it has. You will need to buy a cable which will connect the two. I.e., DVI to HDMI, S-Video to S-Video, or Mini-DVI to HDMI. Cables are available online - search by using the words “DVI to HDMI cable” or whatever. You can also buy them at Best Buy or other electronics retail outlets, but usually cost more there. You can also get them in many lengths;

3. You may need a separate audio cable to go from the speaker port on your computer to the audio input on the TV depending on the type connections you have. If you have a HDMI port on both components, it should already include the audio portion;

4. Plug everything together and power up both the TV and The computer. You will need to configure your computer so the output graphics goes to your TV. I have an Apple computer so it is more or less plug and play. I only had to tweak the display preferences after I got things up and running to make everything fit on the TV Screen. I don’t know how complicated it is on a PC. I am sure you can find out how to do it online. (Here are the instructions from;

(Note: Be sure to turn your computers ’sleep’ function to off so it doesn’t shut down your viewing in mid-show)

5. Go the appropriate website (HULU, Fancast, Snagfilms, etc.) and tune in to whatever program you wish. (Note: One great thing is almost any program or movie can be paused, rewound or resumed just like in a DVD player);

6. Go to your TV menu and choose ‘Source’. Switch the source input to whichever port(s) you have used to connect (HDMI/DVI, PC, AV, etc.);

7. Pick up your TV remote and enjoy the show just like any other show! (Note: My Apple laptop came with its own handy remote - but many PC laptops also are so equipped I assume.)

So, thanks for being such predatory, mercenary jerks FOX Network!  That makes things doubly sweet for me! I would not have known about this otherwise. 

Here are some program source Links:

** This has been my experience only. I offer this information and assume no responsibility for any mistakes or difficulties you may encounter! In other words, you’re on your own!

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