What better way to relax than to curl up in front of a good TV show? PC Advisor explains how you can get your daily fix on your PC, wherever your travels might take you.

There's a certain irony in the idea of a nation of couch potatoes struggling through harsh economic times by tuning in to showcase of the world's greatest athletes striving for Olympic achievement.

Yet we could well be doing just that this summer. As we cut back on the luxuries the boom years allowed us, many of us will be seeking low-cost or even free entertainment. A night in front of the telly could even become the hot new pastime – especially since there's suddenly so much more to it.

Over the past year, TV has changed. We don't just mean the launch of Dave and its insistence on serving up more Richard Hammond than even we can deal with. It's also the way in which TV programming is being delivered – and how we consume it.

The advent of Freeview gave the masses choice and a reason to get interested in time-shifting and catch-up TV. Armed with a personal video recorder (PVR) or a media-centre PC, you could choose from a hundred channels and record them automatically, enjoying shows whenever it suited you.

Square eyes

Much of what is offered via the Freeview free-to-air digital terrestrial broadcasts is, of course, repeats of old classics – or repeats of last week's repeats.

But the clever thing about the idea is its ease of access. You simply buy a cheap tuner box for £20 to £50 and point your aerial at it. Immediately you have not five but 55 channels to choose from.

Even with a high proportion of repeats – it costs a lot to make a programme, even if it's recorded and edited on cheap digital hardware – no one could possibly watch every programme they like the sound of. Hence the genius of PVRs, which store everything on an internal hard disk or to a writable DVD, and their dazzling promise of 'time-shifting' television.

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  1. TV on your PC
  2. TV anywhere
  3. Internet telly
  4. TV over IP on your PC
  5. The best time to watch
  6. Mobile TV
  7. Mobile TV, part II
  8. Other options

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