Replacing Cable TV with Your PC

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Life Without Cable

What I Miss About TV

Using PC to Replace Cable TV

My husband just found out that he is losing his job. One of the major expenses we would like to eliminate is our cable bill. We are not big TV watchers, but we do have three HD TVs. I have heard you can watch TV from the Web via your TV. We have heard everything from you need a special box to just use the game console to access the Internet. Do you have any advice?

Go Cold Turkey

Years ago, I had to give up cable TV. I thought I would die without my favorite shows. I lived to tell you this story. You can quit cold turkey and not suffer any harm. If you just turn it off and don't look back, you can find lots of things around the house to do that you didn't have time to do when the cable was working. I found later that ABC has full-length shows that I can watch online on my PC. If I have company and the right TV set with the right cord, I can use the TV screen as the computer monitor, so we can all watch the show that would have played on my PC. I have yet to try that, but there is such a cord at Radio Shack and some computer stores might have them as well. I was also pleased to find that movie rentals on DVD are as cheap as $1 a night. With that price, who needs cable?

Made Possible with TiVo

I can watch a lot of TV shows and videos from the Web on my television because I have a TiVo. The TiVo itself cost under $300 and the monthly plan is about $13 a month unless you buy it by the year or a lifetime plan. My TiVo will work with an antennae or cable (I have cable). The reason I am able to watch video from the Internet is because my TiVo is wireless and set up to work with my broadband Internet. There are tons of ways to download and watch videos from the TiVo, including transferring .avi files to the TiVo using free software available online. If I were also subscribing to Netlix, I would have unlimited instant video to watch through them and the TiVo also. Paying the monthly TiVo service and subscribing to Netflix is probably cheaper than paying for most cable packages.

The Technical Details

My television has several inputs. One of the inputs is a 9-pin socket. My computer also has a 9-pin socket. I went to an office supply store and bought a male-male 9-pin cable for less than $15. I connected the PC and the TV. I selected the appropriate input source on the television. It is in the same place where you would select the input from your DVD player. On my PC, I selected "external monitor." This can be accessed two ways. On my Dell laptop, I pressed Function-F8. You may have a different button that indicates "CRT/LCD" or something similar. You could also right-click on the desktop and select properties, go to the Display tab, and select the two-screen configuration from the drop-down menu. When I made the selection, both screens were dark for a couple of seconds and then voila! I was using my TV as a computer monitor.

To get the sound from the PC to go to the TV, I used a male-male cord that has the same plug as headphones. I plugged it into the headphone socket on the PC and there was a corresponding "audio in" socket on the TV. I now had video and sound from my PC going through my TV!

I subscribe to a mail order DVD service that also has a limited selection of movies available to watch online. I just watch these as if I am watching them with my PC, but I get the picture and sound on my TV. Once I get it set up, I go to "full-screen mode" and you can't tell the difference between that and a DVD. I do the same thing for TV shows from the network television websites (,, etc.).

Not all televisions have the same configuration of jacks and ports, so you may need to check your owner's manual to find out if your TV has them and where and what kind they are. Happy watching!
Miss Ti

What I Want When I Want It

Yes, I can help. I am one of the few that don't have cable. I do subscribe to, which allows me to watch movies and TV shows. I love it. Free sites include, and then the network sites. That way, I can watch what I want, when I want.

Take the Next Step

  • Services, like , can help you see the movies and TV series you want at a pretty reasonable price. You get to choose what you're going to watch rather than watching what the networks and cable services offer in their schedules. They stream a lot of movies and TV shows.

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