With two A-list shooters landing within ten days of each other this fall, a choice had to be made. Having taken the Call of Duty multiplayer beta for a spin in August, I quite prefer it to last year’s edition… but quickly grew bored. I do appreciate the swiped Titanfall jetpacks and wallrunning, but it’s mostly the same old, same old. So I went ahead and cancelled my Black Ops III pre-order and moved onto Halo.


My UNSC Army enlistment is long and storied plus, despite my occasional CoD successes, I’ve generally experienced a higher “fun” quotient in the Halo universe. So, I headed on over to Amazon to pre-order Halo 5: Guardians… as I have zero desire to fight the crowds at Gamestop. And it turns out Amazon Prime members receive $10 off during checkout. Bonus!

Amazon Prime Member Savings
Members of Amazon Prime qualify for a lower price on this item when shipped and sold by Amazon. Add it to your cart and see the discount at the final check out page.

The Roku 4 Has Been Spotted

Dave Zatz —  September 28, 2015 — 16 Comments

As you know, we’ve been tracking the Roku 4 and fully anticipate it’ll stream 4k – like the revised Amazon Fire TV. Further, via FCC filings, we know the Roku 4 (4400) moves from WiFi Direct to Bluetooth — perhaps suggesting Roku will make another run at gaming, which is also one of the new Apple TV’s marketing angles. And now, via AFTVNews, an image of the new streamer has appeared… that fully confirms this model will indeed go by “Roku 4.” Further, we can see Roku has redesigned the enclosure to accommodate whatever circuitry is required for its new capabilities. As to timing and pricing, I assume we’ll receive official word either later this week or next… as I have intel that indicates hardware is en route.


I Dumped T-Mobile for Verizon

Dave Zatz —  September 27, 2015 — 46 Comments

After nearly two years on T-Mobile, I’ve returned to Verizon. T-Mobile offers the best rates (of the major carriers), the most progressive policies, and stellar customer support. Yet, despite network improvements, their coverage continues to lag the competition (in the places I find myself) and we’ve concluded reliability must be our priority. Even in my high density, supposedly well-served area, it’s been kind of ridiculous driving home from work with my phone pinned between my sun visor and roof, while squinting from the glare, in hopes of preventing calls from being disrupted in some way (and rarely succeeding).

Verizon dropping the BS “activation” fee allowed me to contemplate coming back home. And, once in store to review the options, they made an offer we couldn’t refuse. My older iPhone 5s net a lofty $300 trade-in valuation — about double what T-Mobile and Gazelle offered. And, as an existing FiOS customer, $200 was knocked off iPhone 6s hardware pricing via some sort of promotion I wasn’t aware of but gladly took part in. To seal the deal, a few months down the line, I’ll be getting a $100 “port-in” credit as a “new” customer.

Our T-Mobile two-line plan included unlimited everything for $100/month, whereas the new Verizon plan runs $120 for a shared 12GB of LTE data. It’s obviously not as generous and at a higher rate. But, again, we’re willing to pay a premium for the best network. And our long national nightmare is over.

While we’re not exactly fond of Sling Media’s business practices, we remain enamored of their placeshifting technology which remains best of breed. Similarly, the DISH Hopper offers one of best DVR experiences out there. Indeed – the latest, greatest Hopper includes Slingbox capabilities to catch your content around the house or beyond via smartphone, tablet, computer, or streaming box. So it’s quite curious to see the Slingbox-powered Hopper Go pass through the FCC today (under the Echostar banner).

Is this a companion product, perhaps something akin to the TiVo Stream, to bring placeshifting capabilities to less full featured DVRs? Related, could this imply the DISH Hopper 3 doesn’t natively transcode and stream content? And given the “Go” designation, could this also provide video offload capabilities to catch that recording on a subway or plane without connectivity?

WWE Muscles Its Way Onto TiVo

Dave Zatz —  September 25, 2015 — 16 Comments

wwe-tivoI’ve got some good news and I’ve got some bad news. Which are one in the same. It’s a matter of perspective, I suppose.

As we twiddle our thumbs in anticipation of TiVo Bolt, the DVR pioneer’s next streaming app has presented itself. Nope, it’s not HBO, Showtime, nor ESPN. It’s WWE. Although I’m not overly excited, there are clearly a couple of you who will be once the app hits within the next few weeks. Continue Reading…

(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc will launch six TV show pilots for its video streaming service in the United States, the UK, Germany and Austria for the 2015 fall pilot season. The company said on Wednesday it would ask viewers for feedback and turn the most popular pilots into full series.


The pilots include “Z”, about Zelda Fitzgerald and her relationship with husband F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of “The Great Gatsby”.

Continue Reading…

Aereo and Boxee live on with Simple.TV Cloud DVR


Roku 4 Just Days Away

Dave Zatz —  September 21, 2015 — 45 Comments

The largely forgotten Cinema Now movie streaming service, once acquired and then sold by Best Buy, appears to have launched a promotion in cooperation with Roku… that seemingly announces the Roku 4. Or a line of 4k Rokus. Hard to tell if this is a clerical error or true indicator that a Roku 4 set-top and 4k-streaming Roku TVs will be available real soon. But the timing certainly seem reasonable.


Of course, given what Amazon is doing with the new Fire TV and what Apple has neglected with their new hardware, I’d think an upgraded Roku would feature 4k UHD streaming resolution (in conjunction with beefed up processing power and memory).

UPDATE: By way of UKRokuChannels, the evidence continues to mount that Roku 4k is nearly here…


UPDATE 2: New Rokus just passed thru the FCC. Given the documentation, I’m guessing it’s possible the 2015 Roku 2 & 3 could both be upgraded to new 4k hardware and that perhaps there is no actual “Roku 4.” It’s also possible these are a coincidental and minor hardware refresh of existing models — the plot thickens…


UPDATE 3: What I believe to be the “real” Roku 4 (4400) has just passed thru the FCC. From the filing itself, we’ve learned it gains new wireless capabilities, including Bluetooth and dual band WiFi with support for 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac. Beyond that, we see a brand spanking new reset button – which could give a sense a scale and might suggest the Roku 4 is larger than than the existing Roku 2/3. Of course we assume this Roku 4 will stream 4k content and, rumor has it, that it’ll also pack a beefed up 2GB of memory. If the filing isn’t proof enough of a new unit, a 4400x has been showing up in app developer usage logs.

UPDATE 4: AFTVNews has turned up a new box … which we now know for certain is called the Roku 4. Of course, we still believe it’ll feature 4k streaming. But hopefully there are some other things going on here worthy of an upgrade, as Roku remains my preferred streamer.


(Thanks AeroR1, via L7AV)