Roku

Harman Kardon Nova Stereo Streaming Sound System Offers Great-looking Sound

Harman Kardon’s new $299.95 Nova system combines analog and optical inputs along with Bluetooth so it easily works with systems such as Roku, HDTV, Apple TV and pretty much any Bluetooth-enabled device. Compact and unique-looking, the Nova’s 2.5” drivers, 1.25” tweeters and passive radiators pack a punch and make this system more than just a pretty face.


Barnes and Noble Continues Their Confused Path

I’ll admit that I’ve done my fair share of kicking Barnes and Noble. I think they’ve let themselves be run in two contradictory directions (being a digital company versus being a bookstore) for too long, and their half-hearted attempts to bridge the two were too promotional and short-term to make a real difference. At this point, though, criticizing B&N feels almost mean — when so much is going so wrong,…


Thoughts on the ChromeCast

A few days ago Google let the ChromeCast out of the bag.  For those who don’t know, the ChromeCast allows you to send Netflix, YouTube and other content to your TV from your laptop, phone or tablet. More applications are sure to come, but people are already snapping up this tiny dongle so fast that Google has had to discontinue including 3 months of Netflix.  At $35 dollars it is…


What Subscription Services Are Worth a Place in Your Budget?

Sarah and I have been loving the new Netflix series “Orange is the New Black”. It’s incredibly well-written, has an amazing cast, and manages to add levity and entertainment to a relatively depressing premise (it’s not exactly happy time watching a protagonist navigate life in prison). I’ve been recommending the show like crazy and was surprised when Dan told me he recently cancelled his Netflix subscription. We use Netflix constantly…


Serenity Plex Media Server Client for Android and GoogleTV Review

Since getting the Roku box, one thing I have loved about it was that I could use the Plex Media Server to stream my personal content at home to my TV.  Plex Media Server is a media streaming server available for Linux, Windows, and Mac; it is also supported on select Network Attached Storage(NAS) boxes like those available from Qnap, Synology, ReadyNAS, ASUSTOR and unRAID. Plex is an awesome piece of…


XBOX One Fallout – No XBOX or X360 Games, No Indies, No Used Games, and More

Well, THAT didn’t take long! In fewer than a dozen hours the XBOX One reveal went from being exciting … to a disappointment. Over at GameIndustry.biz they are already calling the reveal of the XBOX One an ‘awful start’, and discussing how Microsoft needs to redeem itself at E3. Of course, leave it to Ctrl-Alt-Del to joke about how Sony hasn’t even figured out how to assemble their new console…


Popcornflix Partnership Enhances Digital Movie Xbox 360 Application

The popcorn keeps expanding at the Popcornflix movie streaming service, as Unicorn Media, a leading Internet video solutions provider, announced partnerships with Cypress and Screen Media Ventures, LLC for expanding the free Popcornflix app on Xbox LIVE (gold subscribers).  Popcornflix also owns and distributes its own content via iOS and Android apps, Roku, connected TVs and online for free. Screen Media Ventures, LLC developed and owns Popcornflix. Cypress, in conjunction…


My Roku 3 Remote Saves the Day!

Gadgets have become packed with more and more features, many of which we end up forgetting about or just never use. When the Roku 3 was announced, we had an internal discussion at Gear Diary about how the headphone jack in the remote was a useless feature — who would hook up headphones to a remote to watch TV, when they could just plug headphones into a tablet and have…


SmartStick TV Accessory Review

When we were shopping for an HDTV, I briefly considered whether we needed a “smart TV”. Eventually, I decided we probably didn’t, but I was very excited to take a look at the SmartStick TV accessory, as it turns my decidedly not-smart HDTV into a smart version running Android. Unfortunately, it isn’t without its drawbacks, and it has left me wondering if the benefits are worth the quirks. Read on…


Roku Releases the Roku 3

After what seemed like an eternity Roku has released a brand new streaming box today.  The Roku 3 finally does away with all connections for old standard definition TV’s in this iteration making the box HD only.  It has HDMI, Ethernet, USB and a power port and that’s it.  The new box has beefed up hardware and improved searching on the device itself.  Roku promises that the user interface on…


HDTV Shopping, What’s Necessary and What’s Hype?

Sarah and I are HDTV shopping (our old TV is the size of a coffee table and weighs as much as my first car). I understand the basics of HDTV like 720p vs 1080p. But when you get into features like Smart TVs, and when you look at the price difference between buying, say, a Samsung TV versus a Vizio, what’s worth considering and what’s just hype? I was lost,…


USPS Saturday Service Cut: The Revolution Will Not Be Sitting in Your Saturday Mailbox

For as long as anyone alive can remember, the mail has come on Saturday. Since 1863 the mail service has offered delivery six days a week, through rain, snow, sleet or hail! Well, that last bit has softened, and we have already missed one day this winter since our local carrier couldn’t get into our neighborhood safely. But in the same way the post office itself is open on Saturday…


The Good and Bad of HDMI Switching

This holiday season was the season my family finally made the jump to HD TV.  I absolutely love HD TV, and I am really looking forward to watching NASCAR and actually being able to read the tickers!  As result of getting the TV, I ended up receiving or giving products that needed an HDMI connection to the TV.  We got an Xbox 360 for Luke and I, plus I was…


Xbox 360 Thoughts from an Open Source Guy

I know!  I know!  How could I, an Open Source guy, send my money to Microsoft by purchasing an Xbox?  Well, when my family is concerned, I need to consider them when purchasing tech. My son wanted an Xbox, so Santa got him one this year — no matter what Dad thinks. So, here are my thoughts about the Xbox system as a whole, from the perspective of an open…


Content is Everything – My Mom’s Thoughts on Netflix

As I have been in Knoxville, TN visiting my folks this holiday season, I have had the opportunity to show my parents Netflix on a TV.  I have not one, but two devices with me that can stream Netflix to a TV.  My Roku 2XS and my son’s new Xbox. One afternoon I was flipping through the Netflix app on the Xbox looking for something to watch, and lo and…


If You Want GOOD Service, Use the Apple Store Instead of Apple Support

Apple has a reputation and standing as one of the best customer support organizations in all of the consumer world. They top the ratings each year; due to their retail stores, the ability to quickly talk to someone knowledgeable has made using Apple products easier than ever for millions of folks. Truth is, in more than 30 years of owning Apple products starting with the Apple ][+, I have never…


Set Top Boxes, a Gear Chat

Over the years writing for Gear Diary, we often have chats behind the scenes about all sorts of issues.  Some are private and will never see the light of day, but many times what is said ends up in a long string of comments that would make a great post.  This one all started by a gift I received from a friend — a brand new Roku 2 XS — which…


5 Reasons (Each) Why I Love the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD

I have been highly critical of Android tablets (shock, I know) for a number of reasons, and 7″ tablets in specific. But as has been pointed out, I also tout enjoying the Google Nexus 7 quite a bit for a number of reasons. I was also the last one holding on to my launch-day Kindle Fire from last year, and pre-ordered and have happily kept the Kindle Fire HD. All…


No CW for Cablevision Subscribers!

If a network goes off the air and no one notices, do the shows still go on? Apparently my cable company is in a fight with the CW, and we haven’t been receiving it since August! I only noticed because <sob> I can’t record the premier of The Vampire Diaries if they don’t come to an agreement by next week! What caused this dispute? Money, of course. Cablevision’s statement is…


TP-Link AV500 Gigabit Powerline Adapter Starter Kit Review

  WiFi, 3G, and 4G connections to our devices have frequently spoiled us with almost universal access to data.  Nine times out of ten, if I am connecting to the internet it is in a wireless fashion.  However, there’s always that one old desktop that you want to run Linux on or an old non-connected game system. Or maybe you just want to set up another wireless access point on the second…


Amazon Instant Video Comes to the iPad!

Yesterday when we talked about Hulu coming to Apple TV, my comment was that if Amazon Instant Video was also available, I would no longer have a need for the Roku. Guess what? Amazon Instant Video is now available! Here is the description: Watch thousands of titles available from Prime Instant Video at no additional cost with an Amazon Prime membership and over 120,000 videos available from the Amazon Instant…