Archives For Deals

If you’ve got some free time and programming skills, Netflix has a job for you… www.netflixprize.com.

Reuters says: Online DVD rental company Netflix Inc on Sunday announced that it would pay $1 million to the first person to develop software to improve the accuracy of Netflix’s movie recommendation system by 10 percent. Netflix’s Web-based recommendation system “learns” what kinds of films subscribers like by asking them to rate the films they watch. The system then recommends lists of similar titles, unique to each user.

Seattle Post says: The differences will be tracked by a program that quantifies how well the recommendation systems predict which movies will be liked or disliked by a profiled consumer.

Deal O’ The Day: $139 Slingbox

Dave Zatz —  September 26, 2006

slingbox.jpgOver on the TCF, I spotted a Slingbox for $139 Buy.com deal. This is the lowest price I’ve ever seen — which may or may not have to do with the rumored introduction of new boxes later this week. Don’t tell the authorities, but Mom (1,000 miles away) has been “watching TV” on her laptop in the kitchen via my Slingbox. Maybe she should take advantage of this opportunity and get her own.

Newsflash: Mom Orders TiVo!

Dave Zatz —  September 22, 2006
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OK, so the headline isn’t entirely accurate… More like: “Mom tires of resisting, Dave orders TiVo for her.” When visiting last month, I failed to convince her she needed a DVR. Well being somewhat manipulative, I might have accidentally changed her homepage to ZNF. Between the numerous questions I answered and the new fall season, she’s decided she might need a DVR. We could have gone the cable company DVR route, though when I mentioned that possibility she said, “Comcast, they suck.” Like mother, like son? TiVo.com/baseball is still active — get an 80 hour unit for $12.95/mo or a DT for $30 upfront plus $12.95/mo. I figured the single tuner unit (it’s a “digital VCR”) would be easier for her to wrap her mind around, so that’s where we’re starting. Mom is higher tech than she realizes and runs WPA… so initially, I’ll have her on dialup instead of messing with a wireless bridge or reconfiguring her network security.

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Picture courtesy of Shawn.

Stop it! Seriously. It sickens me when friends and family tell me how much they’re paying for cables at retail. Best Buy, Circuit City, and even Radio Shack are sticking it to consumers with profit margins that must exceed 80%.

Obviously we can’t stop buying cables, but we can be more choosy in who we patronize. If you have the patience to wait a few days for delivery, the best deals are (not-surprisingly) online. The other benefit of buying online is there are far more options in terms of connections and cable length. For example, I couldn’t just drive down to my local Tweeter for the 35′ HD15 -> Component cable I needed to feed my recently retired (sniff sniff) projector. Retailers like Amazon and Buy.com are much cheaper than the brick & mortars, but for the best deals look to specialized businesses.

In my experience, MonoPrice is currently the best of the bunch among lesser known vendors. Their prices are awesome and delivery is efficient. I recently purchased BOTH a 3′ HDMI cable and a 3′ DVI -> HDMI cable for UNDER $10. How can you beat that?

Everybody’s favorite universal remote is on sale for $150 off! Dell is offering the Harmony 880 for a low $100… until midnight. The retail price is $250 but this deal includes an instant $120 off, a $30 mail in rebate, and free delivery.

UPDATE: If you have a smaller budget or don’t need a color screen and rechargeable battery, TigerDirect has the Harmony 628 for $40 plus shipping.

UPDATE 2: Marte noticed the $30 mail-in rebate requires an additional $100 home electronics purchase from Dell within 6 weeks to be valid. $130 for the 880 is still a great deal, but not quite as amazing.

TiVo S2 80HR Fire Sale

Dave Zatz —  June 30, 2006

Get a new 80 hour Series 2 for free after rebates! If you already have service, a second unit runs only $6.95/mo. I think it’s safe to say this model is heading out… not surprising given digital tuner regulation going into effect next year.