The Windows Media Center application, included in some editions of Windows, enables a PC to record TV shows – or said another way, it can make a computer a PC TV. If you don't have Windows Media Center, you can use other inexpensive commercial software to record your TV show favs. Here are two: SageTV and Beyond TV.
SageTV is an application that will allow you to record, pause, and watch live TV. You can schedule shows or movies to record in advance, and like Windows Media Center, SageTV lets you view pictures, watch DVDs, and play music. You can read the latest review of Sage TV for more information.
Beyond TV is another application available for recording TV shows on your computer. Beyond TV has functions similar to SageTV and Windows Media Center, and it's easy to search the program guide for shows to record and watch. For more information, read the latest review of Beyond TV.
If you don't want to install a third-party media application, Windows Media Center is available with Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows Vista Home Premium, and Windows Vista Ultimate.
Buying and using Windows Media Center or an alternative on a Windows PC can save you money as well as provide a High Definition (HD) viewing experience (thanks to the Digital TV conversion of 2009). Considering that you will not have to pay monthly service fees for a subscription-based DVR system like TiVo or from a cable or satellite provider, the money you save could be huge. Also, with the myriad of online and downloadable content from the Internet, using an application like this, may be the wave of the future.