Can we replace our cable box with a PC tuner card?

I asked this back in 2009, 2012, and 2013. Technology was kind of there, but there were still substantial hoops to jump through so it worth sticking with the cable box.

It’s now 2016. We do watch a lot through their online service, but it sucks donkey balls. We also occasionally order movies on demand, which their webpage doesn’t seem to support.

Did I mention it’s 2016? I understand not having a flying car or a jetpack, but shouldn’t we be able to install a card and get rid of the cable box?

Oh, it’s a Win 7 machine, but we have OSX and Linux machines available if necessary.
For another approach, we do have Amazon Prime. Their Prime content is kind of paltry, but we’ve never really looked at their pay-rental service. Is its catalogue generally deep enough (old and new movies) that we can scrap the box that way?

The only way right now is to purchase a cable card device from the likes of Haupage - but it’s only compatible with windows 7 and windows 8 (and you have to pay extra for Windows Media center here) - which are essentially end of life products now (windows media center itself hasn’t been updated in forever). Windows 10 does not, and likely will not support this.

I would suggest you abandon the idea as I did, and instead drop your cable TV subscription, get a small TV streaming device, the amazon fire TV is great, but there are many others out there: and instead spend much less than what you probably pay for HD cable on Netflix + Hulu + Amazon prime.

You’re probably covered at that point for most of your TV watching needs.

We have a dedicated Win 7 box that streams both Netflix and AZ Prime, but their selection is kind of weak. With Time Warner’s crapulent website we could deal with the PITA and drop the cable box, but that leaves the on demand movies we occasionally watch. Any idea how good Amazon’s non-prime rental catalogue is? Recent runs and older stuff or just one or the other?

The only thing I’ve ever looked for on Prime and not found was Midnight’s Children, and they just added it last week. Needless to say, YMMV.

Last month, the FCC voted to pursue forcing the cable companies to make it easier to use your own hardware instead of a cable company-supplied box.

From the linked article, “The gist is that if the proposal does lead to a new rule, that instead of having to pay Comcast an extra $12 per month just for the ability to get TV signals to your living room, you’d be able to run ‘Comcast programming’ on something like your Xbox, Roku, Apple TV, or dozens of other possible or existing devices.”

It’s not going to happen overnight, but eventually perhaps an Apple TV, Chromecast or Roku device will do all of the functions of your cable box.