Tag Archives: how-to

Setting Up iTunes Home Sharing To Stream To Your iOS Device

Home Streaming on your iPod

Stream music and movies from your computer to your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch

Apple has enhanced the way you stream music, TV, and movie content from your computer running iTunes to your iOS mobile device. Previously Home Sharing only allowed sharing media between computers, but with the iOS 4.3 update you can now access your library from any iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch on your home network.

Ars Technica has the complete guide, but here’s a quick run down of the steps.

  • Make sure you’re running iTunes 10.2 and your device has iOS 4.3 installed
  • On your computer, go to Advanced > Turn on Home Sharing
  • On your iPad, iPhone or iPod, go to Settings > iPod > Login using your Apple ID under the Home Sharing section (hopefully this is the same Apple ID you’re using on your computer)
  • Go to the iPod app on your mobile device > More tab at bottom > Shared > select your Library
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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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Keep The Buffering Man Away – Test The Speed Of Your Internet Connection

Many cord cutters depend on a setup that is heavily reliant on the speed of their internet connection. Streaming Hulu, Netflix and other services require a broadband connection, but if your connection isn’t fast enough, you may experience a lag or videos that stutter. For example, Netflix suggests that you have at least 3.0 Mb/s to stream DVD quality video. And although many services will lower the quality of your video depending on the available speed, you’ll want to make sure you have a big enough pipe to accompany all the other things  in your household that connect to the internet.

Results from SpeedTest.net - Testing the speed of your internet connection

To test the speed of your connection, go to SpeedTest.net and click the aqua “Begin Test” button. Their tool will take the next 30 seconds to test your download and upload speeds and ping latency. For this example, we’re most concerned about the download speed.

The sample to the right is fast enough to work with Netflix and offers a little bit of wiggle room for others who may be surfing the internet or listening to music on your network.

If you find that many of your videos are buffering for a long period of time (> 1 min), then try these helpful hints.

  • Use a wired connection for more consistent speed. Wireless speeds could vary based on device, transfer speed and interference.
  • Make sure no other bandwidth intensive applications are running elsewhere on the network (i.e. video games, file sharing, Skype)
  • Lower the quality of your stream or try lowering the resolution on your display.
Speedometer image from aramc via Flickr
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How-to Watch Live Sports Without Cable

Often the big kicker for people considering getting rid of cable is the perceived lack of sports. I’ll admit, I was one of the non-believers before we cut the cord last year. I’m a big sports fan and the thought of giving up ESPN had me tossing and turning at night.  Constantly searching for solutions to  the question, how to watch sports without cable, this list should server as a jump start for newbie cord cutters.

You’ve got to do your homework and there is no perfect or ideal setup, but it is very possible to watch live sports without cable. Let me share with you what I know.

I recommend that you read the entire piece, but if you’re short on time, here’s the skinny on watching sports online.

Football (NFL and NCAA) Baseball (MLB) Basketball (NBA and NCAA) Hockey (NHL) Other (NASCAR, Golf, Soccer)
Service NFL Sunday Ticket To-Go MLB.tv NBA League Pass Broadband NHL Game Center Live ESPN 3, mobile apps. iTunes
Device(s) Mac, PC, iPad and smart phones, PS3 Mac, PC, iPad, smart phones, Playstation 3, Roku, Boxee, Samsung and LG internet connected TV’s and blu-ray players Mac, PC, smartphones Roku, Boxee, PS3, iPad Mac, PC
Price $350/season $100/season or $120/season for premium $120/season to follow 7 teams all season, $190 to follow all 30. Price drops mid-season. Also offers a mobile only option to stream games only to smartphone $170/season. Price drops mid-season. $0 – 10
Notes Regional and national games available via over-the-air antenna, ESPN 3 and NFL.com Blackouts apply similar to cable or satellite ESPN 3 and CBS Sports stream games online. During NCAA tourney, purchase mobile app. Blackouts apply similar to cable or satellite Blackouts apply similar to cable or satellite ESPN 3 often streams women’s sports, golf and other small sports. Find past NASCAR races on iTunes.

First off, get yourself a good antenna

A cheap $20 indoor antenna is often more than enough to pick up over-the-air HD channels.  Choosing the right HDTV Antenna is step one, so take the time and make sure you know what antenna is right for your area and the channels you want to view watch. Picture quality delivered from Over The Air, also known as OTA, antenna is brilliant due to the high bandwidth of off-air, and the pure uncompressed video stream. Reliability seems to be very good and I’ve had no problem picking up regional college and pro sports. NFL and college football games all day on Saturday and Sunday? Got ‘em. National broadcasts of NBA games? Piece of cake. Professional baseball? Of course.

Are you ready for some football?

Watch football online with NFL Sunday Ticket To-Go

Antonio Dixon from Ed Yourdon via Flickr

Ok, so you’ve got the antenna for local and nationally televised games, but what about out-of-market games or Monday Night Football? In the past you were pretty much destined to slop off to your local sports bar and plead with the waitress to turn on your game, but last season DirecTV changed that. Anyone can now purchase an entire season of NFL Sunday Ticket To-Go (previously you had to be a DirecTV subscriber). You’ll get HD-quality streaming to your computer, iPad or smartphone plus they throw in the Red Zone Channel, live stats and the ability to switch to any game live.

The price is steep at $350 for a complete season, especially if you cut the cord to save money. Here’s hoping that the NFL and DirecTV will feel the pressure of cord cutters and lower the price in upcoming seasons.

Update: You can now purchase NFL Sunday Ticket and view it on your Playstation 3 without a DirecTV subscription.

If you don’t want to pony up for a complete season, often times you can find someone rebroadcasting a game deep in the under-belly of the internet.  We are constantly asked how to watch espn without cable or satellite.   Check out Justin.tv or do a quick Google search. This is typically frowned upon by the networks and often shut down fairly fast. I’ll elaborate more on the dark side of cord cutting in future articles.   For they time being, the best way to watch the NFL on Roku is still to install an HD antenna on your tv.  This is the best quality image you can get as well.

If you can’t wait until fall for the NFL season to start, watch the combine live on NFL.com.

Baseball is headed for home

MLB.tv on iPhone

MLB.tv on the iPhone from artifishall via Flickr

Major League Baseball is what every major sport should strive to be like. This cord cutters paradise offers live, on-demand HD quality games for $100 to $120/season. MLB.tv has an app for just about everything imaginable including Roku, Boxee, iPad, Playstation 3, smartphones and a few internet connected TV’s and blu-ray players.

The premium package adds a few special features like home and away broadcasts and the ability to view multiple games. If you’d rather not spring for an entire season you can purchase a monthly pass with the ability to cancel at anytime. Keep in mind that blackouts apply to MLB.tv just as they would with cable.

Basketball with an assist

The NBA has an online offering called NBA League Pass Broadband. Just as Major League Baseball, their apps run the gammit of Roku, iPad, iPhone, computer. NBA League Pass gives you the option to watch up to 3 games at once, live DVR functionality and a full season of archived games. The NBA has 2 packages for cord cutters. Follow 7 teams of your choice for an entire season for $120 or get all 30 teams for $190*. As with baseball, local and national blackout rules apply based on your location.

TNT adds to the party with free online broadcasts of week night NBA games. Features include a cool mosaic view where you can watch the game at 4 different camera angles and the option to follow an iso-cam of one player (which is determined by fan vote).

For college basketball fanatics, strap on the antenna, dial into ESPN3 and CBS Sports Online or stream live tournament games to your iPhone. If you have an XBox 360, you can stream ESPN3 to your TV.

*Note: since this post was written mid-season, the NBA has dropped its price to $65 and $100 respectively.

***Check out our updated story on watching March Madness online.

He shoots and scores with hockey

Watch NHL Online with GameCenter Live

NHL Hockey by Chase N. via Flickr

Hockey fans won’t be left out in the cold because the NHL has come strong with NHL GameCenter Live. You’ll get 40 games a week streaming through your Roku, Boxee Box, PS3 or iPad for only $170/season (Note: now $79 for the remainder of this season). NHL GameCenter holds its own with DVR functionality, live home and away, picture-in-picture and live chat.

Hey, what about ____?

If you’re looking for golf, women’s sports or soccer, ESPN3 has a great selection. NASCAR fans will be happy to know that TNT will at times stream smaller races online. Classic NASCAR races can be purchased through iTunes.

Like I mentioned above, there is no perfect solution and watching live sports online is going to cost you in some instances. So, how have you dealt with watching your favorite sports without cable? Is there something I missed? Tell me in the comments below.

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