ESPN3 for sports if you are able to get that. Crackle often has decent (if older) Columbia/Tristar/Sony movies. Examples I've seen on there are Bad Boys (Will Smith version) and Ghostbusters.
My basement media room and bar
Epson 2030, Onkyo TX-NR626, and Kodi based system
Mironto's Panasonic plasma black level restoration guide
Restore the initial MLL on a 2009 Panasonic plasma
Playon looks pretty cool hadn't seen that one.
I used it for a while with a streamer I had but haven't used it on my HTPC at all.
There still is no good internet based replacement for cableTV or Satellite yet. You basically get what you pay for.. No live events such as sports/local news. Also, have to wait a year for the DVD/bluray set to come out or you might be lucky to watch a TV show streamed several weeks/months later at lower quality than the original aired broadcast. Even if you don't mind waiting to watch your favorite current season TV shows, you would still have to pay for watching them through some kind of rental fee. Plus, there still wouldnt be a single service that service that offers all the popular TV shows. There's an illegal option which still isn't completely free, is a bit clunky, and still doesnt usually doesn't offer the original 1080i broadcast quality.
@Sammy2, they are "HD quality" TV shows out on the Internet; but they are at best only re-encoded 720P "copies" of the original video streams to conserve bandwidth during streaming. CableTV/Satellite broadcast most of their shows at 1080i; which almost always look much sharper and detailed. Some people can't tell the difference in picture quality on smaller displays such as ipads. It's pretty obvious when watching on a large TV.
Personally, I can't wait until there is an Internet TV service that can realistically compete with cableTV/satellite.
90% of the Games have been recorded on the OTA Tuner(s). Other NBC owned channels like NBC Sports Network are not online but really did you want to watch USA basketball beat up on the majority of the countries by 30 or more???
I'm still trying to understand the NEED for Cable/Sat TV for mundane stuff. Half the stuff on TV is totally un-watchable. I know some people love serialized TV shows but most of them don't challenge my intelligence at all. Nor are they funny.
The one of few series I watch is Boondocks; Season 5 has been announced but no dates (they say Sept or Oct of 2012) yet. The only series that can make fun of itself while lampooning "Leading Blacks" as Dr. Julia Hare likes to call them and reverses rolls.
Even that is shown on Cartoon Network dot com and its free.
I have modified what I watch, but its still 4.5 hours of news programming all of this is on the OTA tuner, though Democracy Now I record off the DTV box since to get first showed on the OTA tuners is midnight the next day.
I use torrents and newsgroups when I have too, but I am shifting away from downloading to streaming. 95% of my racing is on DTV but I could also get it exclusively via torrents and streaming. In fact the American Le Mans Series is mostly on ESPN3 which I watch using the ESPN3 app via XBMC. In fact they only put some of it on broadcast TV to shut fans up with limited internet access (their ISP doesn't pay for ESPN3) or limited imaginations.
More changes are coming to my own home network, but its on the back burner until Black Friday.
PSN - DJFourMoney
First, you WILL adjust your viewing habits based on what content you have available. Second, you will pay for service in one way or the other. But as mentioned earlier, the best services are Netflix, Hulu, and Crackle. From there, you can co directly to the TV channels and watch from there; not all channels do online episodes such as AMC, and CBS does episodes for shorts periods of time.
That said, there is a ton of content to be had, including sports. Just about every major sports league offers an online subscription service, such as NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL, MotoGP, F!, MLS. ESPN3 is great is your ISP pays for the service. These services aren't free, but you're paying for service your want, and probably would have bought anyway.
If you're really sports consumer, I recommend getting a VPN service. This allows you to spoof your IP to different locations of the world. This gets around black out restrictions; note this is a TOS violation of all sport subscription services. Two, it opens up other content such as BBC's iPlayer, which lets you watch live and replay BBC content. Using a VPN, I've watch BBC, Scottish TV, Canadian Broadcast Company. There are some services such as USTVnow.com. It's a service to delivery US TV to people outside the US, such as military. It gives five channels free--ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and PBS; it's from some Philadelphia feed.
It's true, none of the the online services are going to give your 1080i/p with 25Mpbs bit rates. The onty things that do is OTA broadcasts and blu rays. These are the best HD sources. Satellite and cable just don't do it; I assume from hardware limitations in the infrastructure. That said, You will get very good 720p or 1080p HD feeds. They will not be as sharp or crisp, but unless you're completely anal about only watching the best video possible, it should be fine.
Just to give you an idea, here is a comparison video I shot comparing the NFL Game Pass best feed (4500mpbs) to cable from HDHomerun and build in HDTV tv tunersorry about the shakiness. I was recording from my tablet. The TV is brand new (Panasonic VT50) and hasn't been calibrated. But you should get the idea.