TV tuner & HTPC for free cable?

My parents want to upgrade our basic cable TV to satellite HDTV with movie channels, a DVR, etc..., which is cool, but I think that we can save a ton of money over the long haul by taking advantage of the internet and technology for our viewing pleasure.

But... I'm reading that in order to use a TV Tuner card you still have to have a monthly subscription to a cable or satellite company, something I am trying to avoid but I'm not trying to use a scrambler or anything like that.

Basically, if I wanted to use a computer to watch movies, TV, etc I would have to stream or torrent (which is illegal :-\ ) my media?
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  1. It really depends on what your parents want to watch. If you can find all the TV shows they want to watch on the internet, that may be the best route. Check out as well as the various cable channel web sites for the shows they want to watch.

    A TV Tuner card will allow you to pick up the free local over-the-air digital (ATSC) channels, but in order to get specific cable/satellite channels, you will need a subscription from either the cable or satellite company.

    The only reason I still subscribe to my cable company is because I don't always know what I want to watch at any given time and tend to channel surf until I find something of interest. If it weren't for that lone reason, I'd get by just fine with,, and MLB.TV.

    -Wolf sends
  2. I am in the same boat as you wolf, however, my mom still watches the soap operas in the middle of the day. I doubt they are simulcasted on the internet :(.

    PS: I know that some of the results found at are sketchy, but assuming you have a decent computer prowess you can hold your own while watching tons of movies there.
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