Wednesday, November 12 2008 9 p.m.
I will show you how to download your favorite shows automatically and convert your PC into a DVR. You don't have to sit there and download it. Just leave your PC on and it will be ready for you within a few hours after the show is published. All you need is a fast internet connection and some software. You do NOT need a cable TV connection, antenna or any of that retro gear. It's nice to have a PC or laptop that you can connect to a TV but that is not required. If you hate your cable company this is a viable cable TV replacement. Of course you will need to be able to obtain a license to view many of these shows, but there are a few out there that are free. It's beyond the scope of this article to encourage you to break imaginary property (IP) laws.
If you're using a PC, download uTorrent. This is the software that downloads shows from the internet. Take the default options for installation. Because Macs are so great, they don't make uTorrent for the Mac yet. But people say that BitRocket is good enough. The details in the rest of this guide refer only to uTorrent.
Once uTorrent, your BitTorrent client, is installed; you need to find shows to watch. You can find the shows here. If you click on the show name, you will see a list of the episodes for that show. I'm going to choose Dexter for this example. Note, this is a bad example because to download this show you would probably have to break the law. Now we have a long list of episodes. Unfortunately, this list is too expansive. You want to be able to filter out only a certain quality (resolution). I prefer to watch things in HD, but depending on the show, you can also choose enhanced or regular TV. Some shows are only aired in regular (standard) quality. To filter, type 720p and make sure the "Exact" checkbox is unchecked. You will get a list like this. Very few duplicates. Even if you do get a few duplicates, don't worry, uTorrent takes care of it. You could click on each show individually and download it, however, I promised you would not have to even know the new show has aired. To get uTorrent to download the new shows for you AUTOMATICALLY, look for the link at the top of the list called "Search-based RSS Feed". Click on that link and you will see something like this. Copy the URL for this into the clipboard (shortcut is ctrl-D and then ctrl-C if you're on a PC). Load uTorrent and look for the icon that looks like this and click on it. The dialog box that comes up will look like this:
Notice that I clicked the "Custom Alias" button and named the show Dexter so that it's easy to find later. I also selected the "Automatically download items published in feed". I also checked the "Use smart episode filter". This is the magic that uTorrent provides to make your life easy. Click OK and you'll notice that "Dexter" was added to the left side of uTorrent, click on it whenever you want to see any of the latest shows.
Remember, depending on the jurisdiction that you are in, you could get into a heap of trouble by downloading copyrighted material. Those big multi-national media companies will come down on you and eat your children. Wait until that new U.S. CTO Obama wants is in place and talking to the Copyright Czar. Whose pocket do you think those guys will be in?
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