Friday, 19 February 2010

How to get live TV in Media Center without a tuner

I love Windows 7's Media Center. The Vista version isn't bad either, and both are light years better than the original Windows MCE 2005 product. Of course, to get the full PVR functions for TV you need a tuner card, but there are a couple of free add-ons that let you watch live TV and radio, streamed over broadband, from within the Media Center interface.

One is TunerFree MCE, which not only streams live TV services but also gives you catch-up content from the BBC, ITV C4 and Five. If you're in the US, it supports Hulu, too. It works pretty well, although the interface is a bit clunky.

Another is the TVCatchup plugin which is at the moment a very basic and incomplete tie-in to the TVCatchup web service. It works fine for live streaming, though. According to the website, it is developing a desktop application with PVR capabilities, but there's no sign of that yet. There is an iPhone streaming service, available at

If you just want free live TV on your desktop, Zattoo is a great free app, and isn't just limited to UK channels.

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