For the first time in recent memory, Sling Media is running a sale on their mobile apps – that enable you to watch your home video service while on the road (or, perhaps, in other areas of your house) via smartphone or tablet. The SlingPlayer apps are a hefty 50% off through July 22, and I’m told the promotion is available worldwide. So if you were holding back on a purchase due to the steep $30 (US) fee, now may be a good time to get your placeshifting fix for a reasonable $15. FYI most current apps require Slingbox SOLO or PRO-HD hardware, versus prior generation devices.
Archives For Deals
The four tuner, 2TB TiVo Premiere Elite is on sale today for a low $350. To sweeten the deal TiVo is offering free shipping and a free 6 months of Hulu Plus (which we’ve been using to watch three seasons of Community). Of course, TiVo DVRs also require a service subscription that runs $13-$15/month or $400-$500 for lifetime access. We assume the price cut is designed to not only goose sales after perhaps a lackluster retail quarter, but also as TiVo clears inventory of “Elite” hardware as they migrate to “XL4″ branding.
Two notes: 1) The TiVo Premiere Elite is only compatible with digital cable, over-the-air and satellite customers need not apply. 2) If you’re contemplating a whole-home DVR solution utilizing the upcoming TiVo IP-STB extenders, remember they will only be compatible with an Elite/XL4 (at launch) as your hub – versus the standard Premiere. Making this is fairly compelling deal for those looking to upgrade (which I am) and when you consider the Premiere Elite ran $500 less than 90 days ago.
The second best 10″ tablet on the planet has just dropped in price… assuming you’re OK with refurbished hardware. The iPad 2 is now available starting at a low of $319, shipped free, direct from Apple. Unlike many remanufactured products, Apple provides a full-on warranty (of 1 year) and even replaces both the battery and rear casing for a mightily pristine experience. In fact, I ordered my mother a refurb iPad 2 back when they were $349 back in March — it both looked and functioned as one would expect of brand new hardware.
The primary difference between the “new” iPad ($500 and up) and the prior generation iPad 2 is, of course, the “Retina” display (with associated slight increase in girth and weight due to the requisite larger battery). The iPad 3 also brings voice dictation, improved camera optics, and optional LTE wireless capabilities. Yet, many won’t appreciate or utilize these additional features (at additional expense), making the iPad 2 a solid value even if purchased new ($400).
In the market for a Roku streaming box? If so, you’ve got a few deals to choose from today… At the high end, the “flagship” Roku 2 XS is 20% off as Amazon’s Deal of the Day. Instead of $99.99, you’ll only be paying $79.99. Beyond providing access to a variety of “channels” including Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Pandora this model also features a Wii-esque motion control remote that enables gaming — think Angry Birds. Possibly more practical is the inclusion of USB and Ethernet jacks that its lower end brethren lack. If, by chance, Amazon sells out or you miss this opportunity, Best Buy is offering the same model for a slightly lesser $10 discount — clocking in at $89.99.
If these features don’t appeal or the Roku 2 XS is still more than you’re prepared to invest in a streamer, Woot is offering two different prior generation Roku boxes for $49.99. However, I’d urge folks to consider the similarly priced Roku LT instead – it may cap out at 720p, versus the 1080p found on several other Roku models, yet that higher definition streaming content is hard to come by. More importantly, this model features Roku’s current hardware and software platform. Meaning it’s more likely to see updates and new features… including Netflix captions and BBC iPlayer.
In other Roku sales and marketing news, it appears they’ve recently invested in a Best Buy endcap (pics below). It’ll be a reasonably attractive and informative advertisement once Best Buy powers on the TV, removes those “do not inventory” stickers from the streamers, and come up with a better way to secure the remotes to the display.
Looking for a bargain on possibly the second best 10″ tablet? When Apple introduced the third generation iPad, they cunningly kept the prior generation base iPad 2 in play… by dropping its price $100. And, at $399, the iPad 2 is a decent deal. Yet, for many, the new iPad screen is worth the $100 surcharge despite the additional heft and heat. But at $350 or $360 the dynamics may be more compelling, especially for folks on a budget or those anticipating limited tablet usage. MicroCenter is currently blowing out their iPad 2 inventory at $359.99. As you can see from the pic above, at least one Best Buy is willing to price match – and a friend picked up two on the cheap. Should these supplies run out, Apple is offering refurb iPad 2s for $349. While some may not be entirely comfortable purchasing a refurbished product, having bought several Apple devices this way, I can tell you they’ve all been pristine – including our former iPad 1. Further, refurb Apple iPads carry the same 1 year warranty you’d receive with a new device.
(Thanks, Ricky Tan!)
Ready to give those newly enacted, FCC mandated CableCARD self-install procedures a go? TiVo’s got a deal for you on refurbished Premiere DVR hardware. $50 gets you the hardware, $20 a month gets you the service. It’s not quite as good as their occasional $0 down promotions, but it doesn’t require that two year commitment. Something worth contemplating if you assume they’ve got Super Premiere hardware in the pipeline for 2012. Additionally, multi-room service discounts are in effect – dropping the monthly fee to $14.99 for existing subscribers.
The fine print: Continue Reading…
By any measure, Google TV has been a failure. In fact, I’d say they’re not even in the game. And no company has paid the price more than Logitech with their bad bet on Google’s initial foray into the living room. Just how bad has it been? More Logitech Revue hardware was returned in the second quarter than was actually purchased. Ouch. I’m sure both Google and Logitech shoulder their fair share of blame – neither did an effective job explaining the unique benefits of this product or platform. But the software experience failings themselves are on Google. At $250 or $300, as originally priced, there are very few people I could (or did) recommend the Revue too.
However, as of today, the Logitech Revue is now merely a hundred bucks. And its capabilities and shortcomings look much different at this price point… First off, in my experience, Google TV offers the very best television-based web browsing experience. Neverminding for a moment those blocked sites. Next, while the Google TV platform has remained relatively stagnant and most “apps” are actually just reformatted webpages, you’ve got access to core services similar to what’s found find competing platforms in this range – like the new Roku 2. In fact, I’d say Netflix, Amazon VOD, Pandora, and YouTube make the Revue fairly well rounded. Pulling it all together is the full-on wireless QWERTY keyboard… which ran $99 until last week. So now you get Logitech’s complete Google TV experience for the price of the keyboard.
Of course, it’s not entirely clear how committed Logitech will remain to this product or Google TV in general given the massive hemorrhaging. But if they deliver the marketplace-powered Android Honeycomb Google TV update this summer, as promised, it’s a whole new ballgame.