The speed of your Internet connection and the speed of your computer greatly affect how video looks, so it may not be a good idea to use an old computer as your new media center. Not all Internet video can be stretched to look good on a big screen TV, but that's the general industry trend and the quality is getting better all the time.
One of the added benefits to the setup the Jameses have is that they can do all the things they normally do on their computers on their big-screen TV. They can show off digital photos, answer e-mails and browse the Web. They even can do all those things in one corner of the screen while a basketball game fills the rest of the screen. It's a whole new take on the picture-in-picture concept.
Using a computer to watch TV and movies is not quite ready for prime time, but it's a great solution for a segment of the population willing to take the plunge.
"It's a little different, but I think once people realize you can watch these shows inexpensively and view them on demand, they'll realize how much more control they can have over their viewing habits," Debra James said.
My prediction: In a year or two, Internet-based TV will be much easier to navigate and a great way to save your hard-earned dollars.