Canceling Your Cable – Part 2: Free TV with TunerFree MCE

TunerFree MCE Logo Getting streaming internet television and movies can be a challenge, luckily there are a few Media Center plug-ins that can help though. One of those plug-ins is TunerFree MCE which can bring content from the BBC, iTV, Channel 4, Five and Hulu directly into Media Center. The content provided by TunerFree MCE has an advantage over other plug-ins by providing content accessible from the UK and not just US based Hulu.

Using TunerFree is as easy as installing the plug-in and then allowing it to retrieve a cache of the videos available. During installation you will even be presented with the option to only include stations available in your area. For example Hulu is only available in the US while BBC is only available in the UK. Once installed the configuration options even include the ability to add a custom proxy, enabling content from both regions.

TunerFree MCE Station Selection

Finding your favorite show in TunerFree is a straight forward affair, just select a station or category then choose the show from a list of those available. TunerFree will even keep track of your favorites automatically and add them to a selection in the service selection screen. Each show even includes a clip from the show displayed in the selection window.

TunerFree MCE Show Selection

The plug-in does suffer from a few familiar limitations of streaming TV plug-ins. Listings for shows are unorganized and the episode title and number is only displayed at the bottom of the screen when hovering over an episode. The episode selection also seems a bit limited though this can be dependant on the service not the plug-in.

TunerFree MCE Episode Selection

TunerFree also suffers from the same bug as when exiting a playing show, the sound doesn’t quite stop for a few moments afterward. The accuracy of the full screen ability doesn’t seem to be as finely tuned at some resolutions as it could be as well. The author of the plug-in, Martin "Millie" Millmore, is quite dedicated to updating the plug-in on a regular basis however and the installer already supports Windows 7.

Despite a few bugs TunerFree MCE is a solid offering in the way of bringing streaming TV into your Media Center setup. Though the full screen bugs and sound issues will keep most users from full time family room use, this plug-in is on the fast track to becoming a mainstay in replacing your cable or satellite bills. Be sure to grab TunerFree MCE and give it a try, especially if you’re in the UK!

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