Archives For davez

chromecast

Google Chromecast ($25, three months of HBO NOW)
Chromecast isn’t my thing. But I’m old and require a physical remote. However, this is a good deal on a generally practical solution to get app content onto a television, controlled by smartphone. Considering HBO NOW runs $15 a month and you get three free, this is a pretty stellar deal.

cons-hkl12-sonos-play1

Sonos Play:1 ($150, includes 3-months of Apple Music)
Sonos is my preferred whole-home music system and the Play:1 both looks great and sounds great. At $150, it’s priced similar to many well regarded Bluetooth speakers but it’s WiFi connectivity is infinitely more practical (assuming you run a supported service, which you probably do). Apple’s sweetening the deal with three months of Apple Music.

 

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Best Black Friday Deals

Dave Zatz —  November 24, 2016 — 22 Comments

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tivo-roamio-ota-black-friday

TiVo’s out with their annual Thanksgiving / Black Friday deals… and they’re way more compelling than what we’ve seen in recent years, despite TiVo’s usual poor presentation. For example, their refurbished $200 TiVo Roamio OTA represents a stellar value. Although you might not realize it because they don’t clearly communicate it includes Lifetime All-In service. We’re Tablo homers here for antenna television, but if you don’t require streaming to smart phones, tablets, or 3rd party boxes like Roku or Apple TV, two hundred bucks for a 4-tuner, 500GB OTA DVR is pretty much an unbeatable value. Heck, it’ll even beam your programming to TiVo Mini set-tops and you can swap out that hard drive for something more spacious any time you like.

Google Deals Of The Day

Dave Zatz —  November 23, 2016 — 1 Comment

google-home-nest

Google Home ($99)
Google’s Amazon Alexa competitor is $30 off. And, like the Echo, it’s an always-listening speaker that can tap into a number of services such as Spotify, Nest, or Philips Hue, in addition to being a general Internet-based assistant. Reviews have largely been positive — largely comparable sound and voice recognition to Amazon with better looks and more favorable pricing but without as many integrated 3rd party services. Bonus: 6 months of Google Play Music/YouTube Red for new subscribers – a $60 value. Rather than ordering directly from Google, I’d suggest going thru Target, Walmart, or Best Buy and using ebates for additional cash back and potentially easier returns, if it comes to it.

youtube-red

YouTube Red / Google Play Music ($0)
One of the very best deals in digital media is that much sweeter when it’s free. Google’s offering up four months of service to new subscribers vs their standard $9.99/mo fee. Not only does it consist of Play Music, which is equivalent to services like Spotify or Apple Music, but it also includes YouTube Red — something I highly recommend (as a parent). Among its best features, YouTube Red kills the commercial interruption and provides mobile video downloads for offline playback.

roku-streaming-stick

Roku Streaming Stick ($50)
While both Amazon and Roku updated their streaming sticks this year, I give a slight edge to Roku’s offering. And, during the holiday deals season, we’ve seen it as low as $35.

echo-dot

Amazon Echo Dot ($50)
The refreshed Echo Dot brings Amazon’s always-on Alexa voice assistant into homes at a compelling price point with two enclosure color options. The integrated speaker is merely sufficient, but perfectly suitable for broadcasting news (Alexa, play CNN on TuneIn) or music (Pandora, Spotify, etc) in smaller rooms. We expect the Dot to drop to $40 on Black Friday. However, should your budget be larger, both Google Home and the full-on Echo will be $30-40 off later this week.

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mavrik

Along with the TiVo Mavrik leaks comes word that a new Android app is also en route… and, with it, the refreshed interface and confirmation of cloud storage for your local antenna television recordings! From the Amazon app description:

This is a TiVo App that works as user interface for OTA Streaming, Diskless Cloud DVR TiVo Device Mantis

  • TV Program Guide
  • OTA Live Streaming
  • Streaming Content Search, allowing users to deep link into their Amazon Prime Video account
  • Cloud DVR access

Cloud DVR is a compelling but risky venture (that didn’t work out so good for Boxee) due to bandwidth availability and broadband usage caps, along with TiVo’s spotty record in this space. However, it’s certainly an intriguing option compared to Tablo’s bring-your-own USB storage for equivalent functionality. And, suddenly, those Mantis/Mavrik “tiers” of service make sense as TiVo would likely offer varying recording capacities a la Aereo.

tivo-mavrik

By way of TVPredictions we learn that TiVo recently passed a “Mavrik” trademark filing through the USPTO. Fortunately, a quick Google search turns up all sorts of goodies… including the photo above and the Mavrik configurator. Based on these supporting materials, including the smoking gun URL, it’s fairly clear that the unannounced, unreleased TiVo Mantis has gone through something of a rebrand. Perhaps they had an easier time picking up mavrik.tv (not yet live) or they just didn’t want us praying for a better solution. In any event, Sarah Palin’s sure-to-be favorite streamer looks to be something of a Tablo TV clone.

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Is Roku Prepping DVR?

Dave Zatz —  November 3, 2016 — 12 Comments

roku-pause-live-tv

Roku’s announced a seriously impressive update… assuming you’re running recent, supported hardware. And, surely, the highlight of OS 7.5 is the ability to pause live OTA television on Roku Televisions. While Roku’s CEO declared the “DVR is dead” way back in 2011, the company seemingly recognizes the ongoing draw of linear programming in 2016 – but intends to “get rid of the five commercial block.” As such, pairing a Roku TV with 16GB USB thumb drive will enable a 90 minute buffer to pause television while hitting the head or intending to crash through a 60 block with 40 minutes of ad-free programming. Hopefully it’ll also allow us to scrub through the buffer to catch a bit of missed dialog or replay some dramatic event. But I’m left to wonder if they’ve invested the engineering resources to go this far might full-fledged DVR functionality also be on the roadmap? CES is just around the corner…

Other Roku OS 7.5 goodies: HDMI-CEC volume control (!) and “private listening” via smartphone. Continue Reading…