Archives For Deals

Google Deals Of The Day

Dave Zatz —  November 23, 2016

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Google Home ($99)
Google’s Amazon Alexa competitor is $30 off. And, like the Echo, it’s an always-listening speaker that can tap into a number of services such as Spotify, Nest, or Philips Hue, in addition to being a general Internet-based assistant. Reviews have largely been positive — largely comparable sound and voice recognition to Amazon with better looks and more favorable pricing but without as many integrated 3rd party services. Bonus: 6 months of Google Play Music/YouTube Red for new subscribers – a $60 value. Rather than ordering directly from Google, I’d suggest going thru Target, Walmart, or Best Buy and using ebates for additional cash back and potentially easier returns, if it comes to it.

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YouTube Red / Google Play Music ($0)
One of the very best deals in digital media is that much sweeter when it’s free. Google’s offering up four months of service to new subscribers vs their standard $9.99/mo fee. Not only does it consist of Play Music, which is equivalent to services like Spotify or Apple Music, but it also includes YouTube Red — something I highly recommend (as a parent). Among its best features, YouTube Red kills the commercial interruption and provides mobile video downloads for offline playback.

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Roku Streaming Stick ($50)
While both Amazon and Roku updated their streaming sticks this year, I give a slight edge to Roku’s offering. And, during the holiday deals season, we’ve seen it as low as $35.

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Amazon Echo Dot ($50)
The refreshed Echo Dot brings Amazon’s always-on Alexa voice assistant into homes at a compelling price point with two enclosure color options. The integrated speaker is merely sufficient, but perfectly suitable for broadcasting news (Alexa, play CNN on TuneIn) or music (Pandora, Spotify, etc) in smaller rooms. We expect the Dot to drop to $40 on Black Friday. However, should your budget be larger, both Google Home and the full-on Echo will be $30-40 off later this week.

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2016 Roku Buying Advice

Dave Zatz —  September 26, 2016

After busting out several dozen new Rokus today, I wanted to chime in with some initial purchasing advice.

rokus

2015 Roku 3 (~$80)
If you’re not yet on the 4K bandwagon, but want a great balance of streamer performance with a tricked out remote capable of voice recognition and headphones, I actually suggest you look for a deal on last year’s Roku 3 model.

2016 Roku Streaming Stick ($50)
If a more compact form with snappier quad-core performance interest you and you don’t mind giving up the advanced remote control, the Roku Streaming Stick provide a great balance of pricing and performance. Although a new Amazon Fire TV Stick is expected any day now…

Roku Express ($30)
This will no doubt be one of the top selling stocking stuffers of 2016 and I’d absolutely recommend the Roku Express for family members new to the fold… or to gift yourself in tertiary rooms in the home. It’s dirt cheap and the interface is simplistic enough for most.

The 4K Conundrum
On the 4K front, the situation is a bit tricker and I’d suggest waiting for some real world reviews. Barring that, if you don’t have an HDR-capable set, you may as well save a few bucks with the Premiere ($80). The Premiere+ at $20 more gets you HDR, the RF headphone remote, and Ethernet, whereas the $50 more Ultra builds upon that with voice remote, optical out, and a remote finder. Even fully loaded at $130, the Roku Ultra will surely clock in less ($$$) than the 4K Apple TV that must be in the pipeline.

While it still may be some time before we see an Amazon Video app on Apple TV, the retailer’s streaming service continues to see improvements. And one of the more interesting developments has been the aggregation of third party video services — including on-demand and soon, in some cases, “live” content. Presumably, like Roku, Amazon is compensated for new subscriber referrals. So we get a large catalog of providers and a (somewhat) unified Prime Video entry point, as Amazon generates additional revue. Win, win. (Well, other than the fact our à la carte “channels” will likely end up costing us more than cable.)

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Also, like Roku, Amazon is tempting us with a number of free trials worth checking out:

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Woot’s offering up a new, not refurb, 3rd generation Nest learning thermostat for $50 off retail at $200. I much prefer ecobee3, but this is a decent value if you happen to be in the market…

tivo-lifetime-sale

By way of DVR reseller Weaknees, we learn that TiVo’s recently devalued Lifetime Service is once again available for $400 under the company’s newer “All In” label. While the math, during this promotion or trial, is certainly more compelling than the prior $600 rate, the cost is not insignificant. Further, existing Bolt hardware configurations, with limited storage and tuners, may not appeal to the sort of power user that recognizes TiVo’s long term value as we collectively await a CableCARD replacement. Based on forum chatter, this reduced All-In rate may also apply to previously purchased hardware of different flavors, with something like a 26 month break even point. Should you find yourself more enthused than I, you’d take part online directly through TiVo (as pictured above) or by activating retailer-purchased units by calling in and mentioning the deal (possibly with Weaknees’ “TiVoInstall200” code word).

TiVo Roamio OTA *with Lifetime* back in stock for $300

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TiVo Mini On Sale for $69.99

Dave Zatz —  January 14, 2016

Woot’s clearing reburb first generation TiVo Minis, once again, for a compelling $70. As a refresher, the TiVo Mini extends a TiVo Premiere, Roamio, or Bolt to another TV in the same home – both live television and DVR recordings, carried via Ethernet or MoCA. And the primary, noticeable distinction of this original TiVo Mini, vs the current model (MSRP $130), is inclusion of an IR remote. So you can’t easily hide the extender inside a cabinet, as you can with the RF remote capabilities that ship with v2.

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(Thanks Greg P!)