Revolutionise your TV / Movie watching

Posted on March 20, 2012

so i recently did a HOWTO on setting up an HP microserver with a bunch of apps and stuff youve probably never heard of. Today i'm going to go into a bit more detail, and with any luck, you too could have a nice, modern, streamlined way of getting (almost) all the TV you ever need. especially if you like watching US TV shows, but also works for a LOT of UK TV too...

so heres my current setup....

bedroom - HP Microserver with lots of storage, plugged into a 200mbps homeplug adapter going into:

downstairs lounge - homeplug network adapter going into appletv2 running XBMC and/or apple flash (black) plugged into my big TV.

The Microserver AUTOMATICALLY DOWNLOADS all of the TV shows i want usually a few hours after the episode has been broadcast in the US. As most of the stuff i watch is on at ~9pm, it generally grabs everything overnight, so it is waiting for me when i get home from work the next day (or if its a weekend, when i get out of bed!). it then streams the video through the mains electricity cabling downstairs to my appletv2 which is then used to view it on the TV. other devices can be used, but i chose these due their relatively low power consumption (compared to a full desktop PC switched on 24/7 and a PS3 as the viewing device, but these will work, you just may have to add a few extra steps in. work with what youve got!)

So how do you do this?

the backend programs you need are SABNZBD and SICK BEARD. both are COMPLETELY FREE and stupidly easy to set up and configure. However, you will probably need to pay out for a premium NEWSGROUPS provider. most ISPs dont usually have a decent usenet (aka newgroups) feed these days, and even if they did, it probably wouldnt be nearly as fast as someone like supernews. Once you have a newsgroups account, you need access to an indexer. A good free nzb index site is: and you can find more NZB providers at

OK, so you have your index, newsgroup provider, and have installed and configured sabnzbd and sickbeard. now what?

simples. click ADD SHOW, find the show you want to watch from the list, and then click OK. you could download previous episodes too, or select whether you want standard definition of HD episodes, but thats up to you.

add in all the shows you want, and it just goes off and downloads any new episodes of the shows. completely automatically! its like setting a season pass on your sky plus or tivo, but without actually having to wait for a UK channel to pick up your new favourite show (seriously, why the hell hasnt workaholics been shown in the UK yet? or the league? or Parks & Recreation? its ridiculous!) it's almost as if the media companies dont want us to watch their stuff!

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