Archives For davez

Let the deals begin!

Dave Zatz —  November 26, 2015 — 8 Comments

I’m always on the hunt for a good deal, but this time of year is especially frenzied. So I’ve got my wishlist ready as I dutifully monitor my overflowing inbox and Slickdeals app while I access sites through ebates for some additional cash back. Some early catches…


Amazon Fire TV Stick @ $25 – Cheaper than the Roku stick and still preferable to the new Chromecast given a physical remote control. Provides many of the top streaming TV apps, plus a TiVo client, and supports guest/hotel WiFi connections. Great for yourself and also a nice stocking stuffer.

Amazon Fire Tablet @ $35 – Not a good tablet by any measure other than cost. Unless you’re a small child or senior citizen, at which point this 7″ 2015 model might be an interesting gift idea for casual web surfing, video playback, or Kindle reading.

32″ Roku TV @ $125 – Budget friendly, 720p television with Roku built right in. It’s a little chunkier than you might like and not the highest quality panel. But it’s dirt cheap and great for a kitchen or guest bedroom — where I keep the two I own.

ecobee3 + 3 sensors @ $250 – I’d have preferred a lower price of entry for this smart thermostat, but two free remote sensors provides solid savings if you can put them in use. On price alone, a better deal can be had on the 3rd gen Nest ($250 plus $50 gift card), but I prefer ecobee’s approach.

Ooma with wireless adapter @ $90 – Stick this on your home network, as I do, and plug your phones in for unlimited US calling. The bonus wireless adapter lets you place the VoIP box anywhere in your home and also lets you link your cellphone over Bluetooth.

30% off one Book – Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble are offering 30% off any book via the linked coupon codes. I put the Amazon discount to work and discovered it’s limited paper books and maxes out at $10 of savings but does apply to pre-orders.

Find anything good? I know there are tons of big screen deals to be had…

Along with the introduction of the TiVo Bolt came two highly publicized new features: QuickMode and SkipMode. QuickMode allows one to plow through recordings at 1.3x speed with minimal audio distortion, while SkipMode introduced TiVo’s take on commercial avoidance. Existing Roamio DVR owners were promised a QuickMode upgrade, but told SkipMode would remain out of reach. And we didn’t like it.

As promised, TiVo has reevaluated that approach … and come to a favorable ruling.


Based on a holiday promo and image assets hosted by, we now know SkipMode should begin hitting Roamio units December 10th. And one can safely assume the behavior will also extend to TiVo Mini extenders.

Don’t miss your chance at big discounts on TiVo Roamio DVRs before they’re gone forever! For a limited time, we’re offering a year of free service when you purchase TiVo Roamio. Roamio DVRs will include innovative features, like SkipMode (in select markets*) and QuickMode, so you can jump past commercial breaks with a single click or watch recordings and shows with a buffer 30% faster with pitch-corrected audio. So act now and take advantage of this offer while supplies last. There aren’t many left! *SkipMode available in San Francisco/Bay Area and Chicago markets.

Continue Reading…


With the rollout of FiOS TV IMG software 3.0, Verizon is bringing new capabilities to us television customers. However, to pull this off you’ll seemingly need both FiOS TV set-box and router hardware in the mix… as the Quantum DVR becomes a video gateway.


Within the home, our entire channel lineups will be available for mobile app streaming – versus the subset of channels Verizon has historically offered. And, as you can see from the pics above, we’ve tested it on an iPhone and iPad. However, Android is also supported – including Amazon Fire variants. Beyond live television, we’ll also have access a certain amount of shows recorded on our Quantum DVRs both in the home or on the go, similar to what Xfinity and TiVo offer. As to the various relationships and remote limitations, we’re just going to have to wait and see. Continue Reading…

To celebrate promote the launch of Sling TV on Chromecast, the companies have quite the promotion running. Existing hardware owners are entitled to two free months of the normally $20/month over-the-top television service. Tho Sling TV has occasional streaming issues and a somewhat uncomfortable interface (that’s being improved), nearly a year later, no one else has managed to launch an equivalent nationwide Internet TV service. So why not check it out… for free?


Try the Best of Live TV for two months free, with Chromecast. See 20+ channels live including ESPN, AMC, HGTV, and more. No annual contract.

TiVo Priority List Now Open

Dave Zatz —  November 20, 2015 — 39 Comments

While TiVo’s CEO is (finally) moving on and though it may be too late to salvage their retail business ambitions, the product team continues cranking away. As such, TiVo has just opened the Priority list for Premiere, Roamio, and Mini customers looking for an early 20.5.6 software update. I’ve got no intel on this round and assume it’s mostly bug fixes… hopefully to include the one which will finally allow their WWE app to be published. It’d also be real swell it the Bolt’s commercial skip functionality made an appearance. But given its recent uncertainty, even if a favorable decision has been made, it could take some time to implement.

Boxes will be updated in groups. If you would like your TiVo Roamio, TiVo Mini, or TiVo Premiere to be in one of the first groups to be updated, please enter your TiVo Service Number below. Note: Only TiVo boxes purchased directly from or a retailer are eligible for this update. Boxes provided by cable companies will be updated on a different schedule.

As wireless data usage increases, T-Mobile has seemingly come up with a clever solution to satiate customers without saturating their network. “Binge On” will enable unlimited video streaming, from select providers like Netflix and WatchESPN, that doesn’t count against one’s cap. T-Mobile marketing states they’ve “optimized” the video … which some are reporting as 480p. On the go, on a small screen, that may be sufficient for most. I’d probably make that trade at the gym for treadmill Netflix, given the facility’s WiFi struggles and the potential to burn through my Verizon bucket.

From Fierce Wireless:

The reality is that Binge On will be imposed on all of T-Mobile’s customers starting Sunday, including the ones who have signed up for its unlimited data plans. Customers who don’t want the service will have to opt out of it. Yes, Binge On gives T-Mobile’s customers free streaming video, but it also reduces the resources T-Mobile needs to employ to deliver that video. It’s a smart move, but it’s not as altruistic as Legere might imply.


Of course, there are two sides to every coin. And some will object to reduced video quality. Assuming they even know T-Mobile took the liberty of making that change on their behalf. Further, “zero rating” is something of a net neutrality issue. Continue Reading…

Refurb TiVo Mini @ $70

Dave Zatz —  November 13, 2015 — 13 Comments

Those looking to stream live and recorded TiVo Bolt, Roamio, or 4-tuner Premiere video to other televisions around the house have a nice deal to contemplate today… As Woot’s offering up the first gen TiVo Mini is on sale for a low $70. Sure it’s a refurb that only ships with an IR remote (versus RF on the latest model), but this minimal expenditure adds a whole lot of value to existing TiVo households – as it also includes Lifetime Service.


In fact, I’m tempted to add another as we set up our guest bedroom. While we’re not wired for Ethernet at that location, our networking needs would be covered by the Mini’s integrated MoCA capabilities using the existing coaxial outlet. However, integrated WiFi would make Mini infinitely more flexible and I keep holding out for a Verizon FiOS Roku app. Looks like I have about 8 hours to decide…

(Thanks Elias!)

Jury punishes Cox for tying premium cable services to set-top rentals