How You Could Not Replace Cable, If Only This Were Legal
Suppose you wanted to have free TV. Suppose by that you mean series, not movies or news (both of which you can get in other ways).
Also, suppose you want to have it on your actual TV. Also, that you don't mind breaking IP laws. Well, this is how I would do it, if that was the case.
First: get hardware.
You need a general computational device with TV connectors and lots of storage. Like, say, a Mele A1000 or A2000 running android, and a SATA disk. This will cost you around $150 or so.
The Mele has HDMI, VGA and composite, so it can connect to pretty much anything that can display images. You could even use a 64GB SD card instead of a SATA drive if you want to go cheaper.
Second: choose some series.
You could go to ShowRSS create an account and just choose series you like. ShowRSS would then provide you with a nice RSS feed updated as your shows are uploaded.
You could even choose between SD and HD versions.
Third: get the episodes.
You would need a BitTorrent client that supports this:
Choosing the destination folder (uTorrent for android doesn't)
RSS Feeds with autodownload
For example: aDownloader
If you are using the Mele and the SATA drive, there is a bug in aDownloader where it can't write to the SATA disk. You can fix it if you have root and some patience.
Fourth: get a good video player.
You want one that:
Has HW decoding
Has SW audio decoding (a mele-specific issue)
Supports many video formats
Supports subtitles, if you need them
For example: MX Player
Fifth: get subtitles.
If you ever watch something that is not in your native language, you also want something that automatically gets subtitles for your videos. For example Subloader
How well would this work? Well, it would take roughly 5 minutes to download a show in SD or 15 minutes to download it in HD on a 10Mbps internet link.
It would let you play them in your own time.
It would let you see shows before they air in your country, and even if they will never air there.
It is also illegal as all hell, so don't do it.