Archives For Deals

TiVo Tests Free Hardware (Again)

Dave Zatz —  September 23, 2014 — 12 Comments

tivo-roamio-free

TiVo is once again testing the market with free DVR hardware. And, this time around, it’s the 4-tuner TiVo Roamio that handles cable and over-the-air (but not at the same time). Instead of charging $150-200 at $15/month, TiVo is giving away the Roamio … for those willing to commit to two years of service at $20/month. You can bet their motivation is to reduce the barriers to entry, as they’re similarly experimenting with via the new $50 Roamio OTA model. Yet, given retail distribution via the likes of Best Buy and Walmart, this particular offering may remain an online exclusive. Civilians can check out the promotional pricing here, while our military counterparts have additional options to consider here.

amazon-fire-tv-deal

While it’s maybe not quite the deal one can find with Roku or Chromecast, the up-and-coming Amazon Fire TV is momentarily discounted by 15 bucks to an all-time low $84. Featuring well designed hardware and regular updates thus far, Fire TV has replaced my Apple TV in the family room and is now our go-to box for Amazon Instant streaming. Having said that, there remain a number of app deficiencies, despite recent additions and promises of HBO GO this year.

The HDHomeRun Prime Giveaway

Dave Zatz —  August 6, 2014

hdhomerun-prime

Hot on the heels of our DLNA streaming piece, and amidst CableCARD uncertainty, we’re offering up our Silicon Dust HDHomeRun Prime review unit.

While humble in appearance, this little box is capable of tuning three simultaneous streams of digital cable, via a single CableCARD, and beaming the content across your home network. Those running Windows Media Center are best positioned to benefit from the Prime, with competent DVR capabilities. Yet, via that aforementioned DLNA support, all manner of devices are capable of receiving a subset of live cable programming – including PS3, Android, and Samsung smart TVs.

Entering is as easy as it gets — simply leave a comment if you want in. We’ll choose one winner at random in a few days.

marvel-unlimited-deal

To generate awareness during the San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel Unlimited has gone on sale — 99 cents for a single month. While not quite “unlimited”, the subscription grants your mobile devices access a large catalog of digital comics. Having previously used the service over a year, I’d say the iPad provides the best reading experience and I found the content to be Hulu-esque given a rotating and incomplete selection. But, hey, at 99 cents it’s surely worth (another) look! I assume we’ll be on the hook to cancel prior to a recurring $10 monthly fee kicking in… if the value isn’t there. Continue Reading…

The TiVo Roamio Summer Sale

Dave Zatz —  July 17, 2014

tivo-flash

Until now, the best way to get a deal on TiVo Roamio hardware was to cozy up to a reseller. Well, for what looks like a short while, their preferred pricing is now available in a more convenient manner via TiVo’s “summer flash” sale… with a few caveats. The base Roamio model with over-the-air capabilities is not available, perhaps so as to not undercut Best Buy, and the Pro model isn’t worth the $200 surcharge given low drive prices and a simple upgrade path. Which puts the $600 TiVo Roamio Plus in the sweet spot – 6 tuners and Lifetime service, shipped free. Of course, the upfront costs are hard to swallow for many (despite ultimate savings for cable subscribers over time) and I can’t recommend 4-tuner Premiere owners upgrade given similar capabilities in light of improved performance. But for those on older platforms, seeking more tuners, will benefit from native iPad playback, or simply awaiting a deal, this is probably as good as it gets over the near term.

tivo-ondemand-remote

By way of the TiVo Community, I learned that, despite cessation of service, Charter-branded TiVo remotes live on.

And why this might matter to you is the handy On Demand button, in relation to Comcast’s completion of the TiVo Xfinity On Demand rollout to retail DVRs. Yeah, TiVo’s On Demand interface is still old school and you may not care for that Charter logo, but I’m betting one will be corrected and the other you’ll tune out. Which I why I reached out to my pals at TiVo retailer Weaknees to learn more.

The back story isn’t so interesting, but the team kindly offered up the pair of remotes we’re giving away. Entering is as easy as it gets — simply leave a comment if you want in. We’ll choose two winners at random in a few days. Should you fail to win, Weaknees has additional ebay inventory of new On Demand TiVo remotes for only $15 a pop. Good luck!

staples-connect

If you’re just easing into home control and automation like me, Staples Connect is worth a look — moreso as the Linksys hub will shortly drop to a mere $50. With apps for most platforms, the hub communicates via 802.11b/g/n, Z-Wave, and Lutron wireless protocols. Along with the price reduction, broader retail distribution has been announced along with a second $80 D-Link hub $80 that will add Zigbee and Bluetooth LE communication. It seems pretty clear Bluetooth LE, aka Bluetooth Smart, will play a prominent role in this space (along with wearables), but its limited broadcast range may inhibit hub effectiveness and the existing model seems to do a fine job bridging most home automation silos. And we’re told the team is working through the process of Nest integration – which may be requisite these days. Continue Reading…