Get a Ceton InfiniTV 4 tuner for $169.99 shipped
This sweet CableCard adapter brings four HD tuners to your Windows Media Center PC. Over the long run, it costs way less than TiVo.
This is an update of a deal I posted about a year ago.
Much as I love my TiVo, I despise the monthly subscription fees that go along with it. It can literally cost you a couple hundred bucks per year. As Dr. Smith would say, "Oh, the pain!" (Don't get the reference? Ask your parents. If they watched cheesy 60s sci-fi, that is.)
A much cheaper option over the long haul: Ceton's InfiniTV 4 products, which can turn a Windows PC into a pretty sweet DVR.
For a limited time, Newegg has Ceton InfiniTV 4 USB for $169.99 shipped. And it comes with a free USB mouse and keyboard, a rather head-scratching giveaway because anyone going the couch route with their media center needs a wireless mouse and keyboard. Its value: $7.99. Woo!
Originally the InfiniTV 4 USB sold for $299.99, but for a while now it's been priced at $199.99. So the savings today aren't monumental -- but it's still the best deal I've seen on this adapter.
At the risk of gushing, I take my TV very seriously -- and I absolutely love the InfiniTV 4. I ran the PCI version for about a year, and for the past year-plus have been using the USB model. The latter has performed like a champ. But as with anything Windows- and CableCard-related, your mileage may vary.
The InfiniTV 4 plays host to a CableCard tuner from your cable company. Once installed, it bestows four digital tuners. Those tuners can receive all your HD and premium channels -- pretty much everything the cable company offers except for on-demand and pay-per-view programming.
Plus, there's no monthly fee on top of what you're already paying for cable. Windows Media Center is free, and built right into all versions of Windows 7 except Basic. (Windows 8 users, annoyingly, have to pony up extra.) What's more, when I ditched my Comcast DVR for a CableCard, it actually lowered my Comcast bill a few bucks each month.
Want to learn more about the InfiniTV 4 USB? Alas, CNET hasn't reviewed it, but I have. Bottom line: I loved it then, and still love it today.
Do make sure your PC has sufficient horsepower for HDTV viewing and recording, and that your cable company can set you up with a CableCard. If all that checks out, you're golden. By the way, if it's not practical or desirable for you to connect your PC to your TV, an Xbox 360 makes an awesome Media Center Extender.
Bonus deal: While you're at Newegg, why not re-up your security subscription? By which I mean, get Norton Internet Security 2013 3-user for free after a $50 mail-in rebate (PDF). It also includes a product key for Corel WinZip 17 Standard, a $29.95 value. NIS remains a top-rated security solution, and although there are permanently free alternatives, why not get commercial-grade stuff if you can?
Bonus deal No. 2: Last time I wrote about an MP3 player, lots of people asked for a deal on the SanDisk Sansa Clip. Well, here you go! Newegg (them again!) has the refurbished Sansa Clip+ 4GB MP3 player for $19.99 shipped. The reviews are surprisingly mixed, though -- surprising because most of the people I heard from positively gushed about this cute little player, which can clip onto your person, play both music and FM radio, record audio, and display it all on an OLED screen. Thoughts?
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