Can your PC replace your cable/satellite subscription?

In a word: maybe. The most deciding factor will be if you have a broadband connection to the Internet. If you don’t know, broadband is loosely a cable, satellite, or DSL connection. Sometimes, you can even use a wireless connection from some local providers. If you are still using a dial-up connection, you are not going to want to try watching video, but you probably knew that.

Finally, you need to look and see if there are shows that you like available online. There are many, many different ways to watch your shows and movies online. To be fair, I will talk about the legal, hazy, and outright illegal ways to watch them. Hazy and illegal will be covered in the next two columns. We are in NO WAY advocating anything illegal, but you should know about them so you can avoid them.

My personal favorite site to watch shows on is Hulu has a very good looking site with a lot of content to watch. If you like Fox, NBC, or Comedy Central television, you should give them a shot. There are a few commercials in some shows, and some without. The good news is that there are less commercials than a regular show (4 on average). Hulu even has movies to watch, mostly older, but totally free.

Hulu has just launched a player for you to download to your desktop. It is brand new as I write this for you, so I don’t have a lot of experience with it. If it is anything like the site, it will be smooth and easy to use. Please go check it out and let me know what you think via .

Another site I recommend is I have not used it much, but it has been good when I checked it out occasionally. is owned by CBS, however it has shows from different companies. Go see if it suits your taste.

A slightly different way to watch shows and discover new material is Miro ( Miro is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It truly is available for any operating system you use. Miro is a Bit Torrent (I’ll explain later) and netcast client. It will download torrent files and netcasts for you while you surf or watch other shows in its player. There are videos of all types – gardening, news, talk, etc. available for you to subscribe to in the Miro directory. All of these subscriptions are free, so go see what you want to watch/hear.

To clarify for anyone who may not know, a netcast is a video or audio show produced for download over the Internet. Netcasts are also referred to as ‘podcasts, vodcasts (video)’, and other terms. There are good and bad, just like television and radio. Torrents are downloads that pull from a lot of different places to get you the download faster. They work really well, and I will explain them better under ‘illegal’, even though they are not.

The last legal way I can think of to watch free TV is to go to the station sites and watch your favorites there. Not every station, especially cable stations, offer their shows online. A good deal of them do, so you should go look around and see which ones are out there that you like.