You don't need to invest in expensive software to be able to watch and record TV on your PC. Here's five free downloads that will help your turn your machine into a TV and video centre.
GB-PVR is a media centre program for Windows which transforms your computer into a PVR.
With a compatible TV tuner installed, the program can be used to record broadcasts on a schedule, pause live programmes and perform the other tasks you have come to associated with set-top boxes. In additional to television programming, GB-PVR can also be used to listen to a wide range of online radio stations.
TunerFree MCE 4.4.1 (for Windows 7)
TunerFree MCE is a Windows Media Center plug-in for various English-speaking countries, giving you access to free TV content from your own country.
DAPlayer is a free media player with one or two unusual extra features that you won't find everywhere else.
So it doesn't just play common video formats, like MPEG, AVI or WMV, for instance. There's also support for trickier file types, like FLV, RM/ RMBV, OGV and more.
It's also a region free DVD player, so you won't be hassled with annoying messages about changing your DVD drive from one region to another. Better still, there's support for playing Blu-ray discs, both commercial and home-made (DAPlayer is compatible with BD+ and AACS-protected discs).
MythTV is an incredibly powerful and flexible home theatre system, centred around TV recording. It supports multiple TV tuner cards, and multiple multiplexes on each card enabling you to record more than one channel simultaneously in each card.
ProgDVB 6.63.5 Standard (32-bit)
ProgDVB is a powerful tool that allows you to watch digital TV, listen to digital radio, play internet TV streams and more.
It's packed with professional features, including time shifting, electronic program guides from Digital TV or XmlTV,JTV, subtitle support, a teletext module and more.