What's the PC alternative to Apple TV?

Joined
Jan 7, 2010
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Well, there is MythTV, which is an open source DVR package.... kinda.... sort of.... It is just the software and you'll need to get a compatible tuner card for your PC. And, you'll need to build the programs from source as there is nobody yet distributing the programs already built for Windows.

Some of the tuner card manufacturers also supply some software, but I haven't a clue as to whether they offer the same capabilities as an Apple TV.
 
Joined
Jan 12, 2008
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Southern NH
AppleTV is good -- we own one, an older one w/ storage. When we're not using it to rent movies, most of the content comes from an older iMac running iTunes, but obviously can talk to any system running an iTunes instance. I think it can gather content from 5 iTunes simultaneously.

I also use a WDtv and WD Passport drives (which get their power from the USB connection). I rip my own content (mp3 and mp4 files) and organize it in a normal file system structure. There are different versions with different number of USB ports and outputs. I have a WDtv that has two USB ports and RCA (? video/L-R audiio), and a WDtv Live that has two USB ports and HDMI output. The latter is used in the home, while the former I take with me when we go somewhere for an extended stay. With a couple of 500GB drives I can have 100's of movies and TV shows for us and the kids to be able to watch if we just want to wind down to something after a long day of activities.
 
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Jan 27, 2008
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Thanks for your comments...I guess it's Apple TV.

As much as I enjoy messing around with the PC, when it comes to watching TV and movies, I just want to watch TV & movies. I want it to be transparent.
 
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Ontario
I think WDTV is really the best option. I'd get one over an AppleTV myself, and I'm a huge Mac user.
 

Growltiger

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If you simply want to watch TV and movies and record them, why use a computer or Apple TV at all? The additional point of the Apple TV is to allow you to see content (movies) from your computer, and many people don't have any on their computer. Some people download pirated movies of course, I'm not suggesting you do that?

There are plenty of products that record TV to a hard drive in the unit and let you play it back when you want. What you need depends on where you get your TV signal from, it could be satellite, cable or terrestrial transmission. This is why Apple themselves have described Apple TV as a bit of a hobby for them, it is a long term ambition.
 
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Mar 10, 2008
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Thanks for your comments...I guess it's Apple TV.

As much as I enjoy messing around with the PC, when it comes to watching TV and movies, I just want to watch TV & movies. I want it to be transparent.

In what form do you want to watch TV & movies? What I am asking is do you just want to watch cable TV and movies on a disc or do you want to watch just content off the internet or all three?

Bob W
 
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Until now, we've been watching cable TV from our local provider, Time Warner Cable, plus BluRay movies and all on HDTV sizes 40" and 46".

The sole reason for streaming was to take advantage of NetFlix without having to receive and return DVD's in the mail. I really don't care about recording and saving anything.

We have the cable company's DVR and watch EVERYTHING recorded but sports and news.

We're really not even huge movie watchers, but thought maybe the Apple TV would just be a convenient way to watch.
 
Joined
May 3, 2007
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
Until now, we've been watching cable TV from our local provider, Time Warner Cable, plus BluRay movies and all on HDTV sizes 40" and 46".

The sole reason for streaming was to take advantage of NetFlix without having to receive and return DVD's in the mail. I really don't care about recording and saving anything.

We have the cable company's DVR and watch EVERYTHING recorded but sports and news.

We're really not even huge movie watchers, but thought maybe the Apple TV would just be a convenient way to watch.

If streaming Netflix movies is your primary goal, you may already have what you need. Many current model Blu-ray players have networking capability. Some LCD HDTV's also have networking capability. I am not currently a Netflix customer but their website probably has a listing of compatible devices.

If you need to buy a device for streaming, the Roku box is a little cheaper than the Apple TV (80 bucks at Amazon). Alternatively, depending upon the age of your player(s) or tv(s), you could replace one of them with a unit that is capable of streaming Netflix.
 
Joined
Apr 3, 2008
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Romania
I just use the Egreat S1A. It never goes wrong, reads every single thing on this planet that I throw at it. Doesn't come with on-demand stuff, but I can live with that for sure in my corner of the world, where no such thing exists.
 
Joined
May 5, 2005
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SW Virginia
I recently purchased a Toshiba Portege R705-P35 laptop computer from Best Buy to use as a small computer for travel. It has built-in "Push2TV" hardware and software. By purchasing a small Netgear PTV1000 WIRELESS TV LINK RECEIVER ($69.95 from B&H), I can display my computer screen on my HDTV wirelessly. The quality is amazingly good, and it will stream NetFlix movies very well.

I have also used it to display sporting events from ESPN3 in full-screen on my 40-inch Sony TV and it looks almost as good as ESPN from cable.

I can also project my photo slideshows wirelessly to the HDTV.

But if you don't need a new laptop, it's surely not worth the cost just for that purpose.
 
Joined
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North Carolina
I recently purchased a Toshiba Portege R705-P35 laptop computer from Best Buy to use as a small computer for travel. It has built-in "Push2TV" hardware and software. By purchasing a small Netgear PTV1000 WIRELESS TV LINK RECEIVER ($69.95 from B&H), I can display my computer screen on my HDTV wirelessly. The quality is amazingly good, and it will stream NetFlix movies very well.

I have also used it to display sporting events from ESPN3 in full-screen on my 40-inch Sony TV and it looks almost as good as ESPN from cable.

I can also project my photo slideshows wirelessly to the HDTV.

But if you don't need a new laptop, it's surely not worth the cost just for that purpose.

One would think that the "Push2TV" software, or something very similar would be available in some stand alone unit.

There have been some good suggestions here, but I just haven't seen a unanimous Apple killer, which sort of surprises me. Seems like every market they're in, there is someone trying to create some competition. I'm sure these earlier mentions have been competitors, but not really any other big names but Apple.
 

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