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Michael S. Willner spent his entire career in the cable television industry. He co-founded Insight Communications in 1985 and served as its CEO, a director and vice chairman of the board until the company was sold to Time Warner Cable in February, 2012.

As a young boy in Miami, Florida, Michael had a fascination with the television business at a very early age. He often rode his bicycle to the local NBC affiliate after school where the staff allowed him to help out in the studio while they produced and aired a live children's puppet show and the local news. Michael began his career in 1974 as the program director and news reporter for a small suburban New York cable system after graduating from the Boston University College of Communications. Soon after, he shifted his focus to general management and eventually became the chief operating officer of Vision Cable Communications, a cable company owned by a division of Newhouse Newspapers.

After starting Insight Communications, Michael quickly developed his hands-on style of management as CEO. He is a firm believer in open, honest communication. He personally ensured that employees and customers were always well-informed and had input and influence over important Company decisions. This commitment led to a secondary career - that of a leading man in a number of Insight television commercials in which he comfortably played himself with a great sense of self-deprecating humor.

Michael also became very active in industry affairs and has been one of cable's most active and effective ambassadors on Capitol Hill, testifying regularly before Congress on industry issues and pending legislation. He has served two consecutive terms as chairman of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), the cable industry's trade lobby and currently served on its executive committee for many years. Michael also served as chairman of the board of the Cable Center from 2007 through 2011. He served on the executive committee of CableLabs; on the board of directors of C-SPAN, and the Walter Kaitz Foundation.

A recipient of the NCTA's 2004 Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership and a 2005 inductee into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame, Michael has yet to achieve his greatest goal of winning an Emmy for his leading role in Insight's commercials.

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I'm using an iMac in part of the cabinet (inherited from my Mom who paessd away), and while the form factor isn't ideal, it works well to serve to an amp I use as a switcher into the TV. (mini-DVI to HDMI for video and the mini-TOSLINK for audio.) That plus bluetooth mouse and keyboard fill things out quite nicely. If you want to use either a remote like the iPhone or something, or VNC in from another machine, that works quite nicely as well.As for software, I either just use Front Row or iTunes if there's a YouTube video, we often just run from the browser. (Usually, if someone needs to show us a clip, it's something that they need to follow the links THEY used to get there )I've TRIED Plex, and I just get cranky with it. I'm going to try it again sometime down the line.


I've been free of cable since December, a move that I figure has saved me alosmt $500 so far.My setup:The main TV is served by an Xbox 360, streaming content from our main computer (and Netflix). (BTW I've found that a 7mbit connection isn't enough to consistently get full quality HD from Netflix. 12mbit works beautifully.)I'm eying one of those little Western Digital boxes that pics just leaked out (with the crazy codec support and ethernet now) for the secondary TV in the bedroom. Currently, the bedroom just has a DVD player with a USB port, that normally holds an 8GB thumb drive full of whatever we're currently watching.There's a small OTA antenna that pulls in about 15 stations, split to both TV's. That's used mostly for news (when my wife and I can be bothered to sit through ~50 prescription medication commercials per hour. I get that the elderly watch a lot of news, but the ratio of commercials on health, compared to everything else, is just ridiculous.)


I bought a , thnkniig it would be a good solution but they have a long way to go with their software and it didn't do everything I wanted. So I put a hard drive and DVD ROM into it and installed Ubuntu and Boxee. The box itself is nice it's a small form factor that doesn't look out of place with my other media cabinet stuff. It's got HDMI and digital audio out, along with tons of USB ports. I've got all my movies, music, and other assorted stuff on a NAS, and Boxee does a great job of indexing it all. If I were just playing content from my network, I probably would have kept my old-skool Xbox running XBMC since it's a little easier to use (from a non-tech spouse standpoint), but the goal is to be able to turn off all paid TV. If you don't need online content, that's absolutely the cheapest way to get a high-quality media player in your living room.Boxee pulls Hulu feeds and a bunch of other online TV content, and plays just about every codec without problems. The last thing I have to do is put a TV tuner card into another box and set up a MythTV back end to pull in local channels over the air. My wife's a football fan, and she wasn't impressed when I told her the NFL didn't stream games online. Boxee will act as a MythTV client, so I'll get all the local channels and PVR functionality.I've also got an Xbox 360 for fun and Netflix streaming. Between the two, I've got no reason to subscribe to cable or satellite. Granted, I'm still paying for Internet access, $20/month to Netflix, and $50/year for Xbox live, but I was paying for that anyway. So let's see: I'm paying $75/month to DirecTV. That's $900/year.The Xbox 360 cost me $150 (refurb on Woot, then replaced by MS)The Neuros Link was $250HDD and DVD ROM for the Link: $120-ish (I had them already, so this is a guess)TV Tuner card: $75 or so just started shopping.Total: $595. So if I can go without DirecTV for 9 months, I'll have recouped my investment. I'd say that's pretty good. The only show I watch that I haven't found via legitimate sources online yet is Judge Judy a guilty pleasure I can live without.Now, I'm just finishing with the buildout of all of this, and hope to have it in my living room this weekend. With any luck, I'll be enjoying the new setup next week and will be able to put my DirecTV HD DVR on eBay to further offset the costs.


The responder below is wrong. Any DVR will not work (as for expmale, my satellite DVR) for what you are asking. A TIVO Series 2 would except that is analog. I would check with TIVO and see if they have a TIVO with a ATSC tuner.>My TV is a HTDV. I also have the digital converter box


HDMI is the best, if your TV has that as an input. DVI would be the same as HDMI, but BR players don't have DVI cooncetnrs. Component is just the tiniest littlest bit worse than HDMI most likely you won't notice the difference. For audio, either coax or optical is fine (it's the same bits either way). There is utterly no need to spend extra for "premium" or "monstrous" cable. Component video cable and coax digital audio cable should both be made from RG59 coax, and once you have that anything beyond that is superfluous. I buy the non-premium cables from


Constantly we have problems all the time! It piesss me off to no end, but also what am I gonna do about it? When they work, I love the on demand channels. I don't have a DVR at the moment.I'd switch to dish, but that's what I had when I first moved into my house, and it sucks just as bad.Complain and they might drop the OD charge from your bill.How the hell can companies (TW isn't the only one) sell a product or service which is no good and just keep rolling along making money nobody calls them out on it, they never fix the problem it just keeps sucking.God bless America

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