So I’ve moved to a new place in NYC, and it’s a bit…cozier…than what I was used to in San Francisco. So I am looking for ways to save space and for now I’ve decided to go without a TV.

I do like TV, I admit. So am cobbling together a few ways to watch shows without paying for cable or buying another screen.

I’ve found that the state of television on the computer is still a bit DIY. I bought this neat little HD tuner, and it works great for over-the-air broadcasts. In NY, that gets me the major networks plus a handful of others. Used in conjunction with Windows Media Center, I get a decent experience on my regular 21” computer monitor. It does DVR too.

A bit of Netflix and a smattering of Hulu, plus (perhaps) some season subscriptions on iTunes, and I am pretty well covered. This guy runs down the costs of going a la carte — I am probably saving $30–50 a month overall.

My next step will be to get something a bit more unified. But it’s surprising how computer makers don’t really offer the whole package.

For example, a 27” iMac would give me a good size screen and workhorse computer. But Apple — and most computer makers — don’t make it obvious how you might turn this into a TV replacement.

Dell is stepping in this direction with their new Zino, a Mac Mini-esque wee little box that would fit well in a living room. They will have a TV tuner as a build option, I’ve read.

Windows Media Center is really quite nice. Nearly as good as Tivo and better than your cable box. Why isn’t Microsoft promoting it? Why aren’t the OEM’s selling a simple, inexpensive, minimally configurable machine that boots into WMC all the time?