Tag Archives: cut the cord
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Boxee Box Review

If you read my post on Roku and you’re still on the fence about purchasing a streaming entertainment box for your TV, let Cali from GeekBeat.tv introduce you to the Boxee Box. It might just convince you to get rid of cable once and for all.

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Articles

Everything You Need To Know About Roku

In short, the Roku is a streaming entertainment device for your TV. With a Roku box you can instantly stream tons of programming over the internet right to your TV – watch movies and TV shows from Netflix and Hulu Plus or Amazon Instant Video, listen to music through Pandora or even catch the ballgame through NBA League Pass or MLB.tv.

Roku XD streaming entertainment device

Roku XD will stream TV shows, music and movies over the internet to your TV.

Content on the Roku comes in the form of “channels.” Each separate channel supports content from a different partner. These channels come in both free and pay form. Some of the most popular free channels are Pandora, Revision3 and Roku Newscaster which connects the free podcasts from CBS, CNN, FOX, ESPN and more into one neat little channel. Premium pay channels include Hulu Plus, Netflix, MLB.tv along with a few others.

There are currently three versions of the Roku player – HD, XD, XD|S. The main distinguishing factors among the three models are the quality of the picture (all get high-definition, but the HD only receives 720p, while the other versions are capable of 1080p), the speed of their wireless connection and the addition of a USB port on the XD|S. Models range in price from $60 – $100, require no extra computer to work and incur no additional monthly bills outside of your existing subscriptions (like Netflix, Hulu Plus or MLB.tv). In my experience, you can get a Roku up and running in about 10-15 minutes – you simply plug it in, add it to your home network and you’re ready to roll.

I have a Roku XD and I really like it. It’s small, light weight and takes up very little space. It simply just works. The only draw back for me is the integration with iTunes. I haven’t been able to figure out how to stream my library to my Roku (if you have an answer, let me know in the comments below). Depending on the programming you watch, the Roku could be a great setup for your living room, bedroom or kids room. They’re cheap and powerful.

You can find Roku at retailers like Best Buy and Radioshack or numerous places online. They come with a 30-day money back guarantee.

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Watch March Madness On Your Desktop or Mobile

NCAA March Madness iPad App

NCAA March Madness iPad App

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament begins tomorrow and if you’re anything like me, you start to get really antsy behind your desk. Little work gets done as you clamor to your pristine picks only to have your heart torn out after the second day of upsets. Here’s how you can watch every game online or through your mobile device.

If you’re stuck staring at a computer, tune in to every game live on the NCAA March Madness on Demand site. They’ll be streaming games all month long through the final game until a champion is crowned. No cable? No problem.

If you’re on the go and an iPad or iPhone owner, download the official NCAA Basketball app. You can stream live games over Wi-fi and 3G connections, get alerts about your favorite team, comment and manage your bracket. Android owners will have to wait another year.

 

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Connecting Your iPad, iPhone or iPod to your HDTV

The iPad 2 was released Friday and with it came  lots of hype around a slimmer design, faster chips and included cameras. But, being a cord-cutter, I was much more interested in a small accessory that was demoed at the keynote.

Connect your iPad to your HDTV

Apple Digital AV Adapter is $39

When Steve Jobs showed off the Apple Digital AV Adapter ($39), I got giddy like a school girl. This little adapter would make it possible for you to mirror whatever is on your iPad, iPhone 4 or iPod Touch screen — apps, presentations, websites, videos and more — all on on your HDTV or HDMI-compatible display and up to 1080p HD (movies play at up to 720p). Everyone can sees what’s on your display — even when you rotate iPad from portrait to landscape or zoom in and out. Video mirroring is built into iOS so it’s very smooth and polished. No settings to tinker with or configuration needed.

The Digital AV Adapter also comes with a second 30-pin connecter that gives you the option to charge your device at the same time. No need to worry about running out of juice in the middle of your juicy slideshow.

I created a video to show you mirroring of a movie, Hulu Plus app and the PBS app. In my experience, it worked very smooth although you may want to adjust the settings of your TV for a few of the apps. Time will tell if apps could potentially block this feature in the future.

Note: Only the iPad 2 supports 1080p mirroring for apps. The original iPad, iPhone 4, and iPod Touch 4th gen will only support 720p mirroring. Video on all devices displays at 720p. For more information, check out the product page.

 

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What You Need To Know Before Cutting The Cord

There’s a perfect storm brewing. An ever tightening grip from the cable companies coupled with economic downfall and a wide assortment of online media now have many people considering getting rid of their cable service. I’m here to help, but before you cut the cord and jump in with both feet, there are a few things you should consider.

It takes a little patience
Mainstream programming on the major networks can often be seen at the time and date when the original program airs, but for shows exclusive to premium TV, it can take anywhere from one day to a week for the episode to be available online. This wait, for some hard core TV addicts, can be too much to handle.

Things to consider before cutting the cord

Photo by apdk via Flickr

It’s going to feel weird
Coming home, flipping on the TV and mindlessly browsing around for hours without really watching anything goes out the door when you decide to cut the cord. Sure you can browse and find new favorites, but alternatives like Hulu and Netflix are really good at getting to the heart of the TV watching experience – actually watching television and movies.

New controllers and interfaces may have a small learning curve and members of your family could take some convincing, but be mindful of the freedom and extra money you’re enjoying.

Having a high-speed Internet connection is important
To have an optimal experience streaming video, playing games and surfing the web you’ll need some big pipes. I often recommend that users have at least 10MB/s high-speed Internet, especially if you have others who will all be online at the same time.

Many of the tutorials on Kick Out Cable are dependent on having a fast Internet connection. If you live in an area where high-speed internet isn’t available, you may want to consider the pros and cons before you get rid of cable TV entirely.

A device for each TV
Just as you need a separate box or connection with cable and satellite, you’ll also need with a setup for each of your TVs. Depending on your needs, the perfect setup could come with an initial investment – but usually much cheaper than a year of cable TV. For example, a few of my favorite cord cutting tools are the Playstation 3 which runs upwards of $400 and the Apple TV which is $99.

Live sports are still a little shaky
Live sports on ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX in your local area are a piece of cake with an Over the Air (OTA) antenna, but programming on the likes of ESPN, TNT and the NFL Network is a little more difficult right now.

Baseball has MLB.tv and basketball and hockey have their own sources available online through NBA All Access and NHL Game Center Live, but it’s next to impossible to find a legal online live stream for you die-hard NFL football fans.

I do anticipate, as more people begin to get their sports from alternative sources, the major sports networks will offer live programming through other sources not tied exclusively to cable or satellite.

It’s not 100% free
Right now you may be spending upwards of $100 – $150/month for cable, but as a heads-up, the alternatives aren’t 100% free. You’ll definitely be saving a substantial amount of money, but choosing to subscribe to Hulu Plus or Netflix generally run about $10 each per month. I’ve come to find that the more you’re willing to pay for alternatives, the easier the breakup with your cable company becomes.

So there are just a few things to consider before starting on the road to cable-free living. If there are other ideas and thoughts from readers, I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

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