Sunday, August 11, 2013

Guide to Cord Cutting

Before you call your service provider and cancel your service you will need to get signed up for some streaming services. Believe me when I say there is a TON of content on the internet for you to consume. In my opinion Netflix is a must. At $8/month for the streaming service how can you go wrong. Netflix has started creating their own content which is a real game changer. These are shows and movies that will only appear on Netflix and nowhere else. House of Cards a Netflix original show was nominated for 9 Emmy's. Good stuff!

If you shop on Amazon becoming a Prime member isn't a bad choice either. Prime members enjoy a large selection of movies & TV shows as well as FREE 2-day shipping on a lot products sold on Amazon. A Prime membership will set you back $79/year, but well worth the money if you shop frequently on Amazon.

Hulu is my least favorite of the pay services. Hulu does offer a lot of free content. However some of the content requires a Hulu+ subscription for $8/month. My issue with Hulu is that even with the pay subscription you are bombarded with commercials. They are only 30 seconds long, but for a pay subscription I would expect commercial free viewing. Hulu offers something that Netflix & Amazon don't however. Because it's owned by NBC, most NBC shows appear on the service 24 hours after they air. My suggestion would be to check the website to see if your favorite shows are included with the free service. Why pay for something you don't need.

There are some truly free services too that offer a decent selection. Check out Crackle! Every once in a while I find myself watching a movie or old Seinfeld episode on Crackle. There are periodic commercials, but it's FREE.

Most streaming services can be viewed with your computer, mobile device or tablet. This however isn't practical for a family. Roku and Apple TV are by far the best products for cord cutters. Honestly both devices are exceptional and offer same but different capabilities. You can't go wrong with either product. Both devices offer the same simple connection options and you can be up and running in minutes, literally. Both units cost $99.

We currently own four Roku boxes and love them! My only complaint is there is no YouTube support. There is another way however to get YouTube onto your TV. Google has recently released the Chromecast. This device is incredible, and at $35 it's a steal! See my other blog post regarding the Chromecast.

Apple TV offers three things that the Roku doesn't. Apple TV has a YouTube channel, offers the ability to mirror the desktop from your Apple devices & access to your music/movies on iTunes. With the Chromecast you can take advantage of the desktop mirroring and access to YouTube. So on that front the Apple TV and Roku are evenly matched. If you have a large investment in Apple products and services go with the Apple TV. If not, go with the Roku. They are the same price but I feel the Roku has the advantage for one reason. Roku now has a universal search option. You type in the name of a movie, director, actor or genre and it will search all of the streaming services and provide you a list of options. With the Apple TV you have to search each channel independently.

All is not lost if you are a sport junkie, but it may be difficult for you.

I'm a huge baseball fan. Luckily MLB offers the MLB.TV package to cord cutters. You get access to ALL MLB games. Blackout restrictions do apply for your local team. Local team games are available 90 minutes after completion. All out of market games are available live in HD. Great deal if you ask me!

The NHL offers a similar package for you hockey fans!

The NFL however needs to get with the program! Unfortunately I don't see any relief in site. The NFL is a juggernaut and the majority of their revenue is generated from TV deals. There isn't enough incentive for them to offer a cord cutter package. There are sites that you can catch every game, I won't mention them here as they are not legal. I've been told that if you have a PS3 you can get the NFL Sunday Ticket. It does require you (or someone you know) to have a DirecTV subscription. If someone you know is willing to let you barrow their DirecTV information to set it up, you are in luck.

If you have any questions give me a shout in the comments. I am happy to answer any questions.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Tesla Time Machine?

A friend of mine saw this Tesla today. What the hell is that antenna for?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Hands On With Google Chromecast

On Thursday Google introduced a new product to the Internet TV market called Chromecast. The internet streaming market is a crowded space with products from Apple, Roku, Google, Boxee... and many others. The problem with all of these existing devices is none of them provide a complete solution.

The nifty chart above lays out what each of the most popular streaming solutions have to offer. The chart is a little misleading but overall a good depiction of each solution. The Chromecast certainly won't replace any of the other streaming devices. It will however complement any of them nicely. And for $35, it's a great deal and well worth the investment.

What Does it Do?
The Chromecast has a few native applications that will seamlessly stream to your TV. With this initial rollout Netflix, Youtube & Google Play are all supported. I've heard rumor that Hulu+ will be supported in the near future, but nothing has been released as of yet.

Now your probably thinking, big deal all of the devices mentioned above can stream Netflix! The reason I'm sold on the Chromecast is the ability to stream or "fling" as Google puts it, any Chrome Browser tab to your TV. Let's face it, so called Smart TV's suck. The interface is clunky, the internet browsing experience is terrible & they are expensive. The Chromecast's ability to fling content from a Chrome Browser on your smart phone, tablet or computer (Mac & PC supported natively) is a pretty cool trick. I realize that you can hook up a laptop to your TV and have the same experience. But who wants to do that?  Another nice feature is the Chromecast allows your connected devices to act as a remote control for your TV. You can adjust volume, pause, play or stop the incoming stream. It's all around pretty cool.

The possibilities with this widget are pretty endless. Device compatibility and having the "right cables" is no longer an issue. The Chromecast will connect to any HDMI port and just work. Makes doing presentations in an unfamiliar office a snap. More entertaining is the notion of scaring the crap out of your neighbors with the un-secured WiFi network. If they have a Chromecast you can connect to their network and fling content to their TV. Scary I know, but I thought of an even more sinister experience for the next time we visit a sports bar. You can probably see where I'm going with this.

As a so called "cord cutter" I'm always looking for new ways to stream more content to my TV. I have four Roku streaming devices and love them! There are some limitations to this wonderful device however, and the Chromecast promises to fill this need for more internet streaming content. We were able to successfully stream Hulu+ content that is "internet only" from a Chrome Browser tab to our TV. It's a nice workaround for content that is intended to be viewed only on your computer or mobile devices.

My recommendation, go buy one! It's $35 and everything you will need is included in the package.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I Miss My Roku

This Thanksgiving we are spending a few days with family in Utah. I really do enjoy spending time up here in the cold air with wonderful people. There is one issue however. They have DirecTV as their service provider. Fare enough you'd think, lots of channels to choose from. Surely we can find something to watch, right? Wrong!  I truly miss our Roku streaming Netflix, Hulu & Amazon Instant Video!  I've become accustomed to watching my favorite shows and movies on my schedule, not DirecTV's schedule.

The biggest bummer, there is absolutely nothing on satellite TV when I want to watch it. Sure you can watch Nanny McPhee for the 800th time, but really how much can you take! I want to catch up on The Walking Dead or watch old episodes of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. Sifting through 600 channels of crap, 8 of which are ESPN with reruns of highlights from games I could care less about is not my idea of entertainment.

I can truly say that cutting the cord a few years back was the best thing we ever did. You quickly realize that cable and satellite have made you believe that you need their products. I can attest that is all a myth. Cutting the cord is easy and it saves you a TON of money. Just my 2 cents.....

Friday, November 23, 2012

Windows 8, Why Microsoft Why?

Three weeks ago I got this great idea to upgrade my perfectly functioning Windows 7 laptop to Windows 8. I'm the type of person that likes to jump right in on OS upgrades, after all I loved Windows 7. 

I've been kicking myself ever since this decision. Windows 8 to me is a major step backward. It's difficult to understand what Microsoft's vision for this upgrade was. To be fair I haven't used Windows 8 on a touchscreen interface. For all I know it may be wonderful. I can however speak to my experience with a mouse and keyboard.

To say everything is different would be a major understatement. The new tile interface is attractive, but for me completely non-functional. Finding your favorite applications is very very difficult. Even for a seasoned user of Microsoft products finding your way around is cumbersome and confusing. I thought after a week or two I would be used to the new interface. I was wrong. I'm still confused where to find things and how to make simple changes to my user experience. The start button and menu are also gone. This has a been a feature of Windows since Windows 95. Why fix what isn't broken?  The start menu is the one location where you could find all of your programs and settings. To go away from that thought process seems ludicrous.

To be honest I can't find many positives about Windows 8. I'm a Microsoft fan boy and often find myself defending their sometimes illogical decisions. I can't defend this decision. Windows 8 is a major step backward and I wish Microsoft would stop shoving it down our throats. You can't buy a new laptop or desktop without it. So I just won't buy one. Microsoft is blaming the PC makers for the slow adaptation of Windows 8. This is a deflection of the truth. The slow adaptation is due to the poor design of the OS.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Well well, this blog thing is kind of interesting. Being a techno-weenie you think I would have jumped on the band wagon much sooner. However I never felt the need to write, that and I'm not sure if anyone wants to read this nonsense.

Anyway this morning I was trolling around the internet as I usually do early in the morning. I started watching movie trailers on (shameless plug). There where a few really good movies that I can't wait to see. Then I ran across this weird movie that follows the lives of these people that re-enact the game War Craft. I've never played War Craft but I guess it is a role playing game. Anyway I thought my geekiness was overwhelming. These people put me to shame. Anyway to view the trailer follow this link It's worth a good laugh.

I also saw a very good trailer that somehow hit me in the gut. This movie follows the lives of a group of teens in their last year of high school. They market it as a modern day Breakfast Club. Anyway check this trailer out also, it is very good.

Well that is it for now. Hope someone reads this and gets a kick out of the trailers. I will post something more compelling later.