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As your computer is probably home to scores of videos, a massive music collection and countless digital photos, it makes sense to connect it to your television and sound system so you can enjoy all of this media on a larger screen and with better sound from the comfort of your couch.

While there’s nothing to stop you from using one program to view your photos slideshow, another to listen to music and yet another to watch videos, DVDs and TV, MediaPortal is a free media center tool that enables you to do all of this in one place.

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I cut the cable TV cord back in college when I lived with four other males in a house where the thermostat’s agreed-upon winter setting never rose above 60 degrees, even when it was below 20 degrees outside. In a house where you don’t pay for comfort-level heating, you definitely don’t pay for cable.

Since that time, I’ve never looked back. If I could make it then, when I actually had time to kill watching TV, I figured I could make it without cable for life. Here’s how I managed to do it!

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Those of you who used to watch video on your PCs in the 90s will remember the hassles of installing codecs and finding media players that supported them – all just to catch a grainy rerun of Friends.

Thankfully those days are behind us. With the arrival of codec packs, apps like Media Player Classic and eventually Windows 7, we haven’t really had to worry about whether a video file will play on our computers or not. But the user experience still left a lot to be desired. Did you ever look at VLC Media Player and think it was just plain ugly? Or think that Windows Media Player was, although better-looking, almost as clunky as iTunes? Thankfully, there is another option…

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One of the great things about Windows is the abundance of freeware available for just about every function you can think of, and for all kinds of users too. This is, in my opinion, one of the most important factors to take into account when selecting an OS to work with and Windows scores very high here.

However, a large range of apps also poses the problem of users having to choose the right one, particularly in the case of perhaps the most popular categories of apps – media converters.

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We all love going to the movie theater and watching the best flicks and look forward to them coming out on DVD. However once we get the DVDs, we do not know how to get them on our iPads, Zunes, Android phones, computer, and other media devices. Now with Handbrake, you can!

Handbrake is a free tool that rips and encodes your DVDs for safe keeping! So, come on and read more about Handbrake.

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