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?

slingtv-chromecast

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

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 TiVo.com 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.

tmobile-binge

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

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.

tivo-mini-sale

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

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As they’re wont to do, Black Friday promotional materials have started trickling out. And, as you might expect, there are a number of streaming hardware deals. One of the more interesting ones has nothing to do with price. Although, that too, is compelling.

roku-se

For the holidays, Roku is releasing (yet another) model in the “Roku SE” — based on the hardware ID (2710SE), we can assume this is a rebadged Roku 1 (2710R). So it will feature significantly lesser processing power than the 2015 Roku 2 and Roku 3… but supports RCA connections for older, lower def televisions. At $25, it’s not a bad deal at all. Although, for the same money, if one has HDMI, we’d direct you to the Amazon Fire TV Stick sale.

(Thanks Patrick!)

When it came time to choose a new mattress this past summer, I decided to wire up our bedroom with Sleep Number and Sleep IQ. Casper gets a whole lot of tech press, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear given their now commonplace bedding materials and a limited one-mattress-fits-all product lineup. Whereas I truly hoped to embrace technology as a potential means of enhancing our sleeping experience. Sleep Number seemed to fit the bill. And, four months in, we’re extremely satisfied with our decision.

After hours of research, including extensive and appreciated online pre-sales chat along with an impressive Consumer Reports’ endorsement, I ended up purchasing the entry-level Sleep Number C2 model with a SleepIQ upgrade. Interestingly, the same core components and functionality are found within all Sleep Number mattresses (that we’ll get to in a minute). What differs are things like padding and cover thickness or composition. Indeed, the Sleep Number C2 is Consumer Reports second highest rated bed… right behind the Sleep Number i8, but at 1/3rd the cost. Having replaced a pair of name brand mattresses the last few years, due to depressingly rapid deterioration, we’re appropriately conservative with ongoing bedding investments.

sleep-number-c2-layers

Continue Reading…

(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc is set to open its first physical book store in Seattle on Tuesday, the company said.

The brick-and-mortar store, Amazon Books, is a physical extension of Amazon.com with books being selected based on customer ratings and pre-orders on Amazon.com.

amazon-book-store

Popularity on Goodreads and curators’ assessments are also considered for short listing the books. The in-store and online prices of the books would be same, Amazon said on Monday.

The store will also have an option to test drive Amazon’s devices such as Kindle, Echo, Fire TV and Fire Tablet.

Amazon Books, which is located in Seattle’s University Village, will be open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, the company said.

(Reporting by Rishika Sadam in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)