Onlinetvrecorder.com is a completely legal service that allows you to record European TV shows using their service to download them at a later time to your local computer. The main focus is on German TV but you also find Belgian, Swiss and some English stations like CNN. All you have to do is register at the website which offers a German and an English interface for its users. After creating the account you are free to create new recordings using the EPG schedule, a EPG search or a manual mode.
Selecting a show to be recorded is a piece of cake: simply click on the + in front of the show and the show will be recorded for you. There are some limitations though: you have a daily limit of 2 gigabytes, a weekly of 4 and a monthly of 12 to download for free. If you donate money you can download more but I think the 12 gigabyte limit per month should be sufficient for everyone. If everything else fails register a second account and you are free to download an additional 12 Gigabytes.
All major German TV channels are available at the website: ARD, ZDF, RTL, PRO7, SAT1. You also find news channels like BBC World and CNN, MTV and VIVA (another music station), Eurosports and DSF (two sports channels) and many more. This is great for everyone who is speaking German, who wants to learn German or is merely interested in the German TV program. I suppose many Americans will realize that German (European) television shows less violence but more sex.
Besides this already great service you find a live TV stream of every channel that is available plus many more from all over the world. Pick a country, a language, a format and a genre and all stations that are available from that country will be listed.
All recorded TV shows can only viewed once you decode them with a special program that is available as a security measure from the website as well. They have to make sure for legality reasons that the person who registered the account is the recipient of the recorded show. You are free to download the shows by various means like direct downloads, emule and bittorrent. All completely legal. You just have to make sure you programmed it before you start the download, that´s all there is to know.
The decoder that I've spoken earlier of is available for windows, mac and linux which means your system should be supported as well. Files seem to be available in .wmv format after decoding. The website offers guides to change them into different formats as well.
Update: The site's mode of operation changed slightly. While there is still a free option available, it is limited to 15 TV episodes per month. A paid account is available for 60 cents which provides you with access to 120 episodes, almost twice the amount of TV stations and other features such as access to the wishlist or high quality recordings.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.