Convert Your Nintendo Wii into a Free Tivo-Like DVR Box

tivowii.jpgThe widespread availability of digital video recorder boxes through your local cable company means that paying for a service, such as Tivo, makes little to no sense. For as little as six bucks, most cable companies will now supply you with a DVR box, allowing you to record and “pause” live television. But what if your cable service hasn’t gotten with the times, or (gasp!) you get your television through another means? You’re in luck. Using an unholy hodgepodge of free software, you can turn your Nintendo Wii into your very own wireless digital video recorder, entirely for free. Because, really…weren’t you getting a little tired of Wii Tennis?

Turning your Wii into a media-recording powerhouse is pretty straightforward, but there are some steps involved and a lot of software to get acquainted with. Here’s the GiY guide to using your Wii as a Tivo, in a nutshell:

1. Get a BitTorrent client up and running on your home PC.Search for torrents using your favorite Bittorrent client. Chances are, you’ve already got this step covered. We use the original client for downloading, but there are several options available, including uTorrent, which has some nice additional features and is a little lighter-weight.

2. tedscreen.jpgUse TED to schedule your BitTorrent downloads.TED is a super-slick downloading scheduler, that allows you to search for any episode of any show you would ever want to watch. TED uses RSS and multiple site searches to make sure that when new torrents of TV shows or movies are uploaded, they begin downloading immediately without any extra time or searching on your part. There is even a nice little interface (shown at right) with a few of the more popular shows pre-configured.

3. Stream your newly-acquired video files to your Wii using Orb.Okay, so Orb calls it, “MyCasting,” but that market-friendly term is uber-lame. Their software, on the other hand, is not. Orb provides 100% free streaming from your PC to any device in your home. Once the Orb software is installed on your  PC, your computer acts like your personal broadcasting system. You now have the ability to stream content through any internet-connected device like a mobile phone, PDA, laptop…or Nintendo Wii.

And boom. You’re done. With only two pieces of software, you’ve transformed your Wii into a low-resolution, but free, personal video recorder. Beats the pants off having to look at that Tivo logo, doesn’t it? (Thanks, Dan!)