I just became a Boxee alpha tester, and while it isn’t flawless, it’s the best setup I’ve seen yet for watching TV shows and movies on the computer, particularly a computer hooked up to a television screen. Haven’t used its social recommendation engine yet (if you’re using it too, let me know), but the Hulu and Netflix integration set it apart from XBMC, Plex, Front Row, et al.
I watch a lot of computer-based TV, particularly since I don’t have cable. My setup — first-gen MacBook Pro with busted screen, Western Digital 500GB external, Wireless-G router, Samsung 26″ HDTV, Apple remote, and a Logitech keyboard (DiNovo wireless for Mac). I’ve got a DVI-HDMI cable and a simple stereo output running between the notebook and the HDTV. Best experiences – 30 Rock on Netflix and Hulu, The Daily Show at ComedyCentral.com, all five seasons of The Wire backed up on my external drive, and Yo Gabba Gabba through iTunes.
I’ve been mulling over a bunch of different ideas about this computer-media server-television hybrid, but first I guess I’ll just ask the ‘matrix — how do you guys watch TV with/without your computer? What do you like or not like about it? What are you still trying to figure out?