Roku

Will You Abandon Hulu if They Force a Cable Contract?

One of the great tools if you are looking to ‘cut the cord’ and lose your Cable or Satellite TV contract is Hulu. For $7.99 a month you get access to loads of great shows on a 24-hour delay. My family loves Revenge, for instance, but seldom wants to be up until 11PM in order to watch it. Other shows such as Castle or Person of Interest just never seem to work with our schedule. So we depend on Hulu+ on our Roku every week to keep us up to date. For my family Hulu+ is a convenience. You see,…


With $99 XBOX Subscription Bundle, Microsoft REALLY Enters the Smartphone Gaming Era!

Image courtesy GamesLive OK, so maybe the title is more than a bit of a stretch, but look at it this way: what product costs more to make than what you pay to buy it, but that lowered cost is subsidized by a two-year monthly contract? A cell phone … and now an XBOX360 bundle including the Kinect according to a report from TheVerge. Check out the details (emphasis mine): Microsoft is planning to launch a $99 Xbox console package with a monthly subscription as early as next week, according to our sources. The software giant will offer the 4GB…


Amazon Instant Video Lands on the Playstation 3!

One of the best things about the Kindle Fire and Roku for me is the Amazon Instant Video service tied in with my Amazon Prime membership. I love all of the available movies and shows, and made frequent use of them. Now Amazon is extending the reach of the service – to the Playstation 3! Here are some details: Good news — Prime Instant Video is now available on PlayStation 3. Since launching a year ago, we’ve more than tripled our library, including titles such as Sons of Anarchy, Downton Abbey, Lost, Glee, 24, Deadliest Catch, SpongeBob SquarePants, Office Space,…


Wait … Apple TV Is More Popular Than Roku?

There is always loads of data to mine in corporate earnings announcements, and yesterday’s Apple announcement is no different. Dan covered the highlights including iPhones, Macs, iPads and iPods … but I noticed a mention at GigaOM about AppleTV sales. Apparently AppleTV sold 1.4 million units during the last quarter. I really didn’t think too much about that because I am constantly reading about how more and more game consoles are serving as full-service home entertainment systems since they can run Netflix, Hulu and more. I also just assumed that Roku and other ‘set top boxes’ were dominating much like…


Antenna + Roku HD + Netflix = $90 Savings Per Month

I hate bills.  I also hate paying for things I can get for free. I was at Thomas’ house last year just hanging out. We were watching a movie on his Roku box, and I realized that the little box was giving him everything that I watch on TV except for local channels. That was the beginning of my quest to get rid of my cable bill. At first I searched the web and found that all you need is an antenna to pick up local television stations. I could remember back to my childhood, and how we had an…


Roku Gets Even Better with FREE iOS Remote App

I’ve been a fan of the Roku streaming media set-top box since pretty much the beginning. The company tends to fly a bit under the radar but offers a great series of devices that have only gotten better over time. I have the original device (two actually) and just recently got the current, top of the line, device, the Roku 2 XS. (It not only streams tons of media but it also plays games.) Seriously, the selection of media the Roku brings to your TV is awesome- from Netflix to Amazon Instant Video to Hulu Plus and Pandora… the list goes…


The Gear Diary Kindle Fire Tablet Review

November 15th saw the release of what will quickly become the #2 selling tablet of all time: the Amazon Kindle Fire. Since then we have seen plenty of ‘race to be first’ reviews, but my goal was to spend some time integrating the Fire into my life before completing my review. This week we also saw the usability study that looked at the issues around the 7″ screen specifically with the Fire but related to mid-sized tablets in general. Dan and I each got one that arrived on the 15th: Dan’s has already gone back to Amazon, while I have…


Looking for a Digital Movie Tonight? Check Out ‘CanIStream.It’!

Have you ever wanted to watch a movie or TV show only to be thwarted by the seemingly random method used to decide whether or not you can watch certain things on the various services? I know my family has – and both Doug and I have ranted about it in the past. In fact, this past weekend while I was out of town overnight and my younger son was at a school dance, my wife and older son wanted to watch Paranormal Activity 2, only to be disappointed when it was unavailable on our Roku (it is now available)…


Dear Networks, We Don’t WANT to Pirate Your Shows!

Last week Doug wrote about how the push by the movie studios to have consumers feel forced to buy retail DVDs by delaying physical rental availability and making the streaming rental system convoluted and inconsistent is likely backfiring by pushing customers in the wrong direction. This weekend my family had a show we wanted to watch – Ghost Hunters from SyFy. We had just heard that the show was going to focus on the historic Reed Homestead in Townsend, Massachusetts. That just happens to be within a mile of where we used to live for 15 years until we moved…


Music Diary Notes: MOG Introduces FreePlay!

One of the reasons that Spotify became so popular was … well, because it was FREE. From a PC, with some ads, you could listen to just about anything you wanted to hear. Of course, over the last couple of years Spotify has dramatically trimmed their offerings for free users and put on ever-increasing restrictions to move them to paid subscribers. Now MOG has introduced a free model called ‘FreePlay’, that isn’t just better than anything Spotify has offered, it is simply a brilliant way to deal with a free usage model! Here is the announcement and details from their…


Review: Griffin Beacon Universal Remote for iOS

It looks funny. It does exactly what it promises. And, at least for me, it is in the running for “iOS Accessory of the Year”. Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit but I’m pretty serious about how cool I think this iOS hardware/app combination is. The Griffin Beacon is the universal remote on steroids. With this odd piece of plastic powered by four AA batteries and a free download from the App Store I have taken my Samsung HDTV remote, my TiVo remote AND my Apple TV remote and put them away. Now all I need is one of my iOS…


Music Diary Notes: The Four Reasons I Chose MOG Over Rdio

As I mentioned in my review of Rdio and MOG, both are excellent services and each provides plenty of value for the $10 monthly fee. Yet when it comes down to it, I really only need a single ‘on demand’ service – so I needed to make a choice. As a reminder, both MOG and Rdio offer on-demand listening on millions of songs from all of the major music labels. Each has a web player, as well as apps to run on Android, iPhone, and at least some amount of set-top entertainment devices like Roku, but neither has an iPad…


Last Minute Father’s Day Selections from Dan, on WBAP Dallas

Just in case you weren’t one of the million’s of people who heard it this morning, Dan was on  WBAP‘s morning show talking with Brian Estridge about Father’s Day gift ideas. They liked him and his suggestions so much that they played the interview twice! =) Here’s a tally of the things Dan talked about: • Yurbuds • ROKU • Evernote • Livescribe Echo • Sonos •  Apple iPad 2 You’ll have to listen to Dan’s interview to hear why he recommended each! Dan on WBAP  


Crackle (multiple devices) Review

There seems to be another new ‘streaming video’ site popping up every week, but the mantra is all-too familiar: too little content that you want to watch, or just as likely plenty of content but it is just the same stuff you can get on every other site. Enter Crackle, the streaming video site cooked up by the folks at Sony Pictures. Is it any better? Let’s look and see! The Hype: Crackle is the place to experience pure entertainment: full-length movies, TV shows, and original series from genres that embody cool — all uncut, uncensored, and unbelievably free. We’ve…


Hulu+ Arrives on XBOX Live Today! Hooray or Meh?

Hulu+ is available on your Mac or PC, your set top box such as the Roku we have (but alas not Apple TV), your iPhone or iPad, and your Playstation 3. With the computer devices you can use the ‘standard version’ for free but gain much greater access to programming with the $7.99 monthly fee. On other systems you need to have a ‘Hulu+’ account to access anything – though you can get a trial account on most systems. Now you can finally catch up on those episodes of Glee on your XBOX 360! Some background on Hulu: Hulu’s ambitious…


Music Diary Reviews: Rdio and MOG are Viable Spotify Alernatives … NOW

I have spoken about just how great I found Spotify during a trial period, but while we wait for the inevitable launch in the US, I have checked out two alternatives: Rdio and MOG. And while I’ll likely share more details as I dig deeper in the coming weeks, let me just say that with a few caveats these excellent services have me saying ‘Spotify Who?’ Common Ground Rdio and MOG, similar to Spotify, are cloud-based music streaming services. Each offers a subscription-based approach that allows you unlimited music streaming for a monthly fee. Each also has a tiered approach…


Review: Warpia StreamHD Streams Video from Your PC to the Big(ger) Screen

The modern computer is an amazing thing. It is a work device, a communication device, a jukebox, and a video machine. I don’t know about you, but I probably watch just as many shows through either iTunes or Hulu or Netflix as I do on my HDTV these days. Yes, a huge amount of video entertainment comes through our computers now. The real challenge is getting that video, and the accompanying audio, seamlessly pushed over to a large television for enjoyment. Apple is making a huge play in this area with their AirPlay technology, but that requires you to use…


Amazon Adds Unlimited Free Streaming for Prime Members

I joined Amazon Prime last year by way of a free one-month trial and somewhat reluctantly paid the $79 annual fee, but by the end of the year the service had easily paid for itself in terms of greatly reduced shipping costs, no minimum to qualify for free shipping, priority treatment and so on. At the same time, my wife bought me a Roku XDS for Christmas and my family has greatly enjoyed the simplified access to Hulu+, Netflix and rental movies through Amazon On-Demand. We recently decided to (once again) cancel Netflix due to the selection and our usage…


Mediafly Drives Apps for Ford Reality Show: Focus Rally America

If you are a devotee of reality TV programming you already know about this next event-related app/app-related event, The FocusRallyApps/Ford Focus Rally: America. Kicking off on American Idol and revisited this week on the season début of Amazing Race, the Focus Rally pits six two-person teams in brand-spanking new 2012 Ford Focus hatches driving around the country utilizing social networking to decipher a series of clues that will lead them to a grand prize of $100,000 and a new Ford Focus. Mediafly, a market leader in multi-screen media solutions is providing applications to extend the viewership to mobile and tablet…


As 2010 Comes to an End We Ask: Was it a Good Year in Tech? And We Answer… Nope

As 2010 comes to an end we ask… Was it a good year in tech? And we answer… Nope Nope??? Nope! It was a great year in tech. That’s right. 2010 finally saw some of the key things we have been hoping for come to fruition. iPad Baby!! First and foremost 2010 gave us the iPad. The iPad wasn’t significant just because of what it did for Apple but because it finally showed that a tablet form factor can and will work… And be loved by consumers… if it  is done right. Think about it for a minute–the iPad is…


iPad Accessory Review: Pad Bracket iPad Mounting System

I recently purchased a treadmill so that I could continue running once the weather turn icy cold. I shopped around quite a bit and ended up with a rather high-end treadmill with all the bells and whistles. (Well, maybe not ALL but MOST of the bells and whistles.) Among the extra features are a built-in speaker system for your iPod or other media device that can get quite loud and sounds pretty good. It also has a built-in 7″ TV that can accept both cable and composite plugs. I used it yesterday for the first time with my Roku box…