questionswhat specs do i need to go internet and on-air tv…

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You might want to invest in a digital antenna.

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@ceagee: Thanks, got that already, but what I'm looking for is a computer system to use as a dedicated internet TV machine.

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@fleamarketadict: Any computer built within the past 3 years or so should be able to easily handle streaming and any other thing you can throw at it provided it is not a netbook or another ultra portable system.

My recommendation is to ensure you have plenty of hard drive space (100GB+ if you plan to do any recording), 2GB of RAM or more, a dual core processor (made within the last 3 years, but no low power ones), integrated graphics should be fine. I am not sure what you mean by power supply, these should be determined by the type/number of components that are needed in a system and are not typically associated with streaming. As long as the computer is running, it should be fine. As always, the more you spend on a system the better the performance and the more you will be able to do with it.

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You don't need much. I stream easily through HDMI and roku/plex from my Samsung series 5 ultrabook which has a 3rd gen i5 dual core processor and integrated graphics. It also has 12gb RAM but you do not need that much.

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We also use PLEX, but for some network shows - the channels don't work properly. I know my 3 yr old laptop handles those instances without any issues - so you could go that route.

Or are you looking for a dedicated media computer for your TV?

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You might also want to look into USENET, which posts archives ("RAR" files - use free 7-ZIP to rebuild as watchable videos) of some shows. But a good provider costs about $26 per month... The free XNEWS reader is adequate for doing the actual downloads.

I also like it because a lot of old movies (1928 -through current) movies are posted. And some "foreign" TV - I am partial to "New Tricks" from the UK and "Miss Fisher`s Murder Mysteries" from Australia...

If you do, the initial download of "group" listings (think of them as folders) is huge, but you can immediately delete all but the ones starting "alt.binaries.^" (unless you want to keep a specific interest of your own, such as history discussions), then delete most of those as well.

{woot edit} @zuiquan @hot72chev this user starblind is keen to share some 'wisdom' even if it means piracy. shame on you starblind. continuing on...

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I have a dell D620 hanging off the back of my TV.
2 GB ram and a core 2 duo cpu I use VGA out to TV 4x" TV (not sure how big TV is but is is 40 something). PC can do 720 mkv but with 1080 (8gb files) it has some slight issues with video chugging. This goes the same for a streaming The Voice in full screen mode from NBC's website.

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Thanks @thumperchick (and others)
Hadn't heard of PLEX, checking it out now. Not really looking for a dedicated do-it-all media machine, because I have a Roku2 and an internet-enabled blu ray player already, along with the hi-def antennae. However, streaming on the blu ray player can be iffy at times and shows on the Roku are limited (ditto for Netflix and Redbox streaming). Mainly looking for a machine that will smoothly stream video from the web to my TV.

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I will pretty much second what has been said. A few questions, though, before you take off:

1) Do you need sports? Right now you aren't going to be able to get much in the way of live sports unless you have cable. If you don't care: no problems there.

2) How is your OTA reception? Can you get all the channels you want with your current antenna? You should be able to see what your current TV can pull in.

3) If you want to do this right, you will want a decent OTA tuner card for your computer. Windows media center has a very nice TV interface built in, and you won't have to pay extra for guides.

Be very careful about trying to stream from network websites to a TV. They really, really, really do NOT like you doing that, and many sites are designed to prevent it, and in many case will look terrible when outputted through a TV.

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I was having some trouble with jerky streaming using Firefox and someone (I think on here) recommended I switch to Google Chrome for my browser and it helped a lot. I have been using the same method you are talking about for years, streaming through a computer hooked to the TV rather than paying for cable/satellite dish. I live on the side of the mountain where the broadcast towers are located, I am in the broadcast shadow and can't even receive local channels directly. It really annoyed me to have to pay about $15 a month just for the channels everyone else got for free, so I changed to this setup. I don't find streaming from NBC or USA to look any different than streaming from Netflix or HULU. I expect it's just a matter of time before streaming is the default method of viewing and catching beams from the air is a quaint old way of doing things.

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Definitely go with these specs if you're jumping on the internet and over-the-air TV bandwagon! As a bonus, they're hipster-esque too!

http://shop.gunnars.com/haus/d/1025_c_100

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@relytyelgis: Bonus points for literal translation.

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@wilfbrim: Yeah, the only thing that s_x is no more ESPN.

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@moondrake: Thanks, I am using firefox and some shows are jumpy. Doh! Never thought to try a different browser.

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Just to throw in more info to my answer - We too use a ROKU, have a smart BluRay player and TV.
PLEX works for Youtube, and up to date site channels like PBS and Comedy Central. Regular network channels don't really work through PLEX most of the time (ABC, NBC, etc.) For those channels, you will need a work around. For us that work around is twofold.
1) We are lucky enough that locally, the basic channels are sent through the same line as the internet connection - so we still get them, for now.
2) When we want to stream from network sites, we just pop my laptop over to the tv, and plug it into the roku's usual port - same line. It works out well.

Congrats on avoiding astronomical prices!

Also - if, like us, you pay for seasons of current shows (Walking Dead, SOA, etc.) the Amazon app on Roku has gotten MUCH better in the past year or so.

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I cut the cable a few weeks ago and am struggling with the fact that NBC, ABC, CBS do not want you to watch their stuff on the TV over the internet.
I can cast chrome to the TV using chromecast but it took a Laptop I borrowed from work almost maxing out 4 cores to cast the big 3.
I am using XBMC to watch The Voice. (My guess is they will find a way to break this).
Hulu does not have The Voice.
XBMC does playback with a slight bit more processing than VLC.

I have this remote. http://www.amazon.com/SANOXY%C2%AE-Center-Control-Infrared-Receiver/dp/B001HBOJRQ and http://www.amazon.com/Bluetooth-Wireless-Keyboard-Android-Smartphone/dp/B0043862N4/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1383588324&sr=1-2&keywords=bluetooth+keyboard+mini to control the laptop.
The remote works very well with XBMC.

I need to find a way to watch the walking dead.

I do not watch the Voice, but my people do

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I'll just leave this here:

http://www.theverge.com/2013/8/21/4645692/espn-in-talks-to-stream-all-channels-online-for-a-price

HBO is also considering an online only subscription plan. NFL already has one. Cable is dying and content providers are starting to realize it. There are currently ways of watching anything and everything online for proponents of peg legs and parrots.

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@caffeine_dude: I don't have any problem with any networks you mentioned running online streaming. I'm using an HDMI directly from my HTPC though.

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@caffeine_dude: Amazon will sell you a season pass for the Walking Dead and the online release comes out the morning following original on-air date. It works through the Amazon streaming app.

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I have a very useful setup. It is a core2 duo running Windows 7 and using Windows Media Center with 4gb ram and a bluray player. 3 pcie digital tv tuners. Geforce gtx5500 with an HDMI output. 2 - 1TB HDDs. A media center remote/dongle from Pinnacle. A DB-80 HDTV antenna. And a pretty decent internet connection. You will want a wireless keyboard with a trackpad for navigating the web and stuff.

. We use the 3 tuners to record one or 2 shows while watching something on the third one. I would recommend this type of setup to anyone. If I was into Linux I am sure that I would be even happier with a dedicated box. But I don't want to learn a different OS just to have a slightly more powerful HDTV-PVR. I am simply too lazy.

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Continued...

For a great bonus you can install Remote Potato on the pc and configure it to stream your live tv, recordings, movies, music, whatever, to your phone, tablet or remote pc. Also the ability to play games on the big screen should be mentioned.

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Last one... I can't think of a better entertainment investment that will actually pay for itself in a year or so. You won't need or want a ROKU, WD box or anything else. The pc will do it all.

Worst case, you can't live without cable the tuners still work, no more renting a tivo or a cable box for DVR. If the cable is encrypted you should look for tuner cards that have a slot for a Cable Card that you will get from the cable provider. You can got one of those that has three tuners built in and save space as well as power. I've priced them at 150 bucks on up.

I spent a lot of time figuring all of this out. I hope this helps someone get through it without having to jump through all of the hoops that I had to endure. Media Center setup can be a pain. But once you get it set and all of your channels in place, you can backup all of that and be up and running in no time if something fails.

Sorry about the book length description.

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@thumperchick: (or anyone)

I was under the impression the waking dead would be free from Amazon Prime, or at least a discounted price, is this true?
Do you get to 'keep' shows you purchased?

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@fleamarketadict: Yea, I was going to point that out to you. You will need this. Add it to a PC with Windows Media Center and you are good to DVR all OTA shows and sports. The HD Home Run is pretty well reviewed, and (provided you have a decent antenna and are in an area that can receive OTA signals you are good to go.

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@caffeine_dude: Walking Dead isn't one of the free shows offered, but if you buy it you own it for as long as Amazon continues their video service.

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@caffeine_dude: The older seasons are currently free on Amazon Prime, but the most current season is something you have to pay for. Yes you own the right to stream that show for as long as Amazon streams it. For HD it's about $2.30-70 an episode, if you sign up for a season pass.