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Connect Your Tuner-Equipped PC to Your HDTV

Now that you're pulling down sweet, sweet over-the-air TV shows, let's get your computer hooked up for big-screen viewing.

On Monday I told you how to turn your PC into a DVR by connecting an inexpensive, antenna-powered TV tuner. I also said I'd be back on Wednesday to explain how to connect that PC to your TV. Then I plumb forgot.

I'm here now, though. No harm, no foul?

So here's the deal. If you've outfitted your PC with a TV tuner and leveraged Windows Media Center's awesome DVR capabilities, it stands to reason you'd want to enjoy your live and recorded shows on your big ol' HDTV. There are several options for making that happen.

For a direct PC-to-TV connection, your best bet is an HDMI cable. (Tip: Any $5 cheapie will do. Spend more than that and you're overpaying.) That's assuming, of course, that both your PC and your TV have HDMI ports.

If they don't, check out Lincoln Spector's "The HDTV has HDMI, but the PC Does Not."

Alternately, if you're looking for a solution that doesn't involve parking your PC right next to your TV, there are other ways to stream video from one to the other.

For example, if you have an Xbox 360, you can use it as a Media Center Extender. This is about as simple as it gets; the Xbox pairs with your PC (via your network router), then gives you remote access to Windows Media Center--just as though you were sitting at the PC.

You might also want to consider a gizmo like the Veebeam HD or Warpia StreamHD, which wirelessly beam video from your PC to your HDTV.

Of course, they'll set you back around $125. If you're going to cough up some cash anyway, it's probably worth spending a bit more on an Xbox 360. It's not only a great Media Center Extender, but also a pretty good game console.

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at hasslefree@pcworld.com, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community Forums. Sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

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