Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Forget getting Netflix or Hulu Plus on TiVo-made cable DVRs

Forget getting Netflix or Hulu Plus on TiVo-made cable DVRs

Just in case you were thinking of upgrading your service to include a TiVo DVR from your cable provider, be aware that even though the devices are capable of streaming content from Netflix and/or Hulu Plus cable providers will prevent you from using their devices to do so. Read the Ars Technica article for more information.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Google TV Devices Delayed As Google Tweaks Software [REPORT]

Google TV Devices Delayed As Google Tweaks Software [REPORT]

The most promising technology that will change the way we watch television has met another hurdle. Companies that are planning to add Google TV to their television sets next year are holding as Google updates the software. Delays like this are not uncommon with new technology, but between the so-so reviews of the Google TV product and the fact that many major broadcast and cable networks are blocking access by Google TV the delays hurt rather help the image of Google TV.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

TiVo or not TiVo - that is the question

Some cable and satellite providers provide digital video recorders (DVRs) to subscribers for a fee. These allow you record your favorite shows as well as pause or rewind live TV. Right now you can pick up a DVR from TiVo for $20 a month with a two year commitment. If you absolutely have to have TiVo this looks like a great deal. What I haven't been able to sort out is what happens after the commitment is over. Can you still use the TiVo without the monthly fee? If not then TiVo does not look like such a great deal.

If you have a newer computer, you can leverage that as your DVR easily. You need a way to get the content into the computer, a video in or video capture card with an antenna/cable input. There are some video cards that have TV tuners on them so you can possibly watch one channel while recording another.

The build your own PVR forum is a good place to learn what it takes to do it yourself. The content on the home page is helpful but dated. The forums are where you'll find the greatest help.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

HDTV: A guide for the perplexed

Another excellent article about high-definition TV, HDTV: A guide for the perplexed. Some of the latest models come with widgets that will allow you to stream Netflix or other content to the TV, a few of those models will do this wirelessly. If you're in the market for a new TV, with the money you're saving on cable I hope, this article is a great place to start.

Roku XR Gets Free Upgrade to 1080p

Roku XR Gets Free Upgrade to 1080p

Tech site Mashable is reporting that the Roku XR is getting a free upgrade to stream 1080p video as the more advanced models do. In addition videos streaming from Hulu will load faster.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Amazon Connected Home

Link to Amazon Connected Home

Amazon has section of their site dedicated to streaming video to your TV. There are also offering many great deals on the devices available. Even if you're still on the fence about streaming content instead of paying for premium channels, there's a lot of useful information on the site. Bookmark this site!

Bargain Junkies Are Beating Retailers at Their Own Game | The Coupon Rebellion

Bargain Junkies Are Beating Retailers at Their Own Game | Wired Magazine

It's not related to cable, but it is about saving money! This is an interesting read from Wired magazine on how people are hunting for bargains online. In this story one woman walks into a market with so many coupons that she gets $80 worth of groceries free and $2 back. The deals are out there if you can find them and this article talks about how people are doing it.

Ars HTPC Guide: December 2010

Ars HTPC Guide: December 2010

Here is an excellent Ars Technica article on current home theater PCs. The technology is much more user friendly and more commonplace than even a year ago. Very helpful if you want to replace your cable with a HTPC.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hear what people are saying about cutting their cable TV.

Mobcast 82: MW2 vs. Black Ops, the State of AI, Zombies, and More

Bitmob is a site where gamers and geeks gather to talk about gaming and geek culture. This weeks podcast features a segment on cutting their cable subscriptions and the pros and cons of doing so with a PS3 or Xbox 360. It's worth a listen!

Monday, December 6, 2010

ESPN Networks - Get Live ESPN Programming Online!

Good news, you can watch live ESPN programming online including Monday Night Football! If you can get your PC connected to your HDTV this is the answer to you sports fix! Bad news, this service is only available to Time Warner subscribers currently. Hopefully the major ISPs will take advantage of this option as well.

Blu-Ray Player | Best Blu-Ray Players | Reviews

Blu-Ray Player | Best Blu-Ray Players | Reviews

This article contains a lot of useful information on the latest Blu Ray Players. Sony product make up 3 of the Top 4 featured. Players from LG, Oppo, Samsung, Panasonic and Toshiba round out the others listed.

Comparison: HD 'Avatar' on Blu-ray vs. Vudu HDX, PS3 download, and Samsung 2D-to-3D - 'Avatar' in HD at home (photos) - CNET Reviews

Comparison: HD 'Avatar' on Blu-ray vs. Vudu HDX, PS3 download, and Samsung 2D-to-3D - 'Avatar' in HD at home (photos) - CNET Reviews

If you're wondering how things would look when streaming from the internet this CNET feature walks you through a comparison of James Cameron's Avatar on Blu Ray, VUDU, PS3 download and more.

VUDU on PS3™ - Try it Free!

Game On! VUDU Coming to PS3™ this November « Vudu Blog

VUDU is a high definition streaming service similar to Netflix. Select titles are available to stream at 1080p if you internet connection supports it. VUDU is currently available on the PS3 and for a limited time you can get a $5.99 credit toward a movie rental to try the system out. All that's needed is a PS3 and a valid email address.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

Can a Home Theater PC (HTPC) help save money on my cable TV bill?

A HTPC, also known as a media center, is your one stop shop for replacing your premium cable TV programming. It is a computer that is equipped with additional software or hardware that supports your media viewing or listening. These PCs have larger hard drives, dedicated video cards that output to your HDTV and special software that will allow you to stream content to your TV or serve any other device on your network. The greatest benefit is that you have access to the widest variety of content; anything you can get on your home computer you can watch on your HTPC. Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, all of the broadcast networks websites would be available to you. You won't have to worry about content being blocked to your device like Google TV. The greatest downside is that also that it is a computer. You will have to do some setup to get the PC to work just the way you want to. While these days it is very easy to plug a PC to a HDTV, configuring the PC is another story. If you're savvy about the technology, you can build your HTPC yourself. This ZDnet article explains how.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cord Cutters: The Gift Guide for Cable-Free Holidays: Video «

Cord Cutters: The Gift Guide for Cable-Free Holidays: Video «

Cord Cutters is a video podcast about technology that will allow you watch TV cable-free. This is a great way to see some of the ideas I have shared with you in action.

How can I use a media player to manage my shows?

The term media player could be used to describe the different programs or devices that allow you to watch or listen to content.

Your computer likely has a default media player program. If it is a windows machine, your default program is Windows Media Player. On an Apple computer it would be iTunes. These are not your only choices. VLC is a free open-source media player. TVersity, Winamp and RealPlayer have free versions of their players but they both have premium full featured versions for a fee. For ease of use, Windows Media Player will be sufficient for most users. VLC is a popular media player with enthusiasts because it will allow you to view a wide range of content types and stream content to many different devices that have VLC software on them.

Western Digital makes a set of media player devices will allow you to stream content, including DVDs, from your home network to your TV. These devices are Netflix ready and some will deliver 1080p content to your television. You can find them online ranging from $90 to $125 on average depending on features. You can price them on Amazon. Western Digital WD TV Live Plus HD Media Player

What You Need to Know When Buying a Web-Connected TV | Product Reviews | Wired.com

What You Need to Know When Buying a Web-Connected TV | Product Reviews | Wired.com

Here's another great article from Wired that gives great tips on purchasing a Smart TV also known as a Web-Connected TV. Many of the models listed are available at your local electronics store or online via Amazon: TVs at Amazon

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What You Need to Know When Buying an HDTV | Product Reviews | Wired.com

What You Need to Know When Buying an HDTV | Product Reviews | Wired.com

Wired Magazine has a great article that will help you decipher the technical-speak when it comes to HDTVs. Make sure you take the article with you when you're shopping this holiday season!