Tag Archives: netflix

Fanhattan iPad App Aggregates Movies and TV Shows from Netflix, Hulu Plus and iTunes

The future can be annoying as hell sometimes. With an array of choices from Netflix and Hulu to iTunes, Amazon and more, finding a particular series or movie is increasingly more confusing and fragmented. The process of finding and watching on-demand entertainment is exhausting, not entertaining.

Fanhattan is a new entertainment discovery service and they’ve set out to help simplify (and beautify – the interface is slick and elegant) the process of navigating various digital content sources. See the sizzle video below or watch Walt Mossberg’s video review for the gist of Fanhattan’s magic.

As of this post, Fanhattan is only available for the iPad, but they plan to branch out with a web and TV app in the near future.

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Video

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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Apple TV Now Streams Live MLB and NBA Games

Watch MLB.tv on the Apple TV

You can now stream your favorite MLB Baseball games to your Apple TV

Baseball season and the NBA playoffs are right around the corner and the Apple TV has a nice little surprise in store for all its fans. MLB.tv (subscription required) and NBA Live (subscription required) will now stream live games and updates directly to your Apple TV. This functionality is hard coded into the latest 4.3 version of the Apple TV software and is not an app like other Apple devices.

Baseball, Basketball and Hockey have been available for a while now on the Roku and Boxee platforms, but this is a first for Apple.

There has been speculation for a while now that Apple will allow apps on the Apple TV. Technically, this isn’t, but could these baby steps lead to more sports or streaming content outside of Netflix and iTunes?

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Purchase and Rent Movies on Facebook

Watch movies on Facebook

Watch movies on Facebook starting with "The Dark Knight"

Warner Brothers announced recently that they are beginning to test purchasing and renting a select number of movies through Facebook. The first offering from WB is “The Dark Knight” which is available to rent for 30 Facebook credits or approximately $3.

Users will be able to watch the movie online through their Facebook page for up to 48 hours after purchase with the ability to pause, resume or watch the movie full screen. Fans will also be able to interact with the movie, leaving comments or posting status updates about the mshows they’re currently watching.

What’s your take? Would you watch a movie on Facebook if the price was right? Do you think Facebook can contend with the likes of iTunes and Netflix?

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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 TV And Movies On Your PS3

The Playstation 3 goes beyond a gaming device, but can also double as a powerful home entertainment hub. It’s an integral part of my setup and I’d like to show you how I watch TV and movies over the internet through my PS3.

Before you begin, make sure that your Playstation is connected to the Internet either wirelessly or with an ethernet cord. I prefer to hard-wire my PS3 with an ethernet cord because I’ve found more consistent performance from streaming. Also make sure that you have created a Playstation Network account for access to the Playstation store.

Note: In order to keep this post concise and to the point, I will provide the most common ways to watch TV on the PS3 with links and screenshots for additional information. If you have tips or tricks, tell us in the comments below.

Netflix

Netflix allows you to instantly stream thousands of movies and tv shows directly to your PS3 for about $8/month. It’s probably best that you set up a Netflix account prior to doing the steps below. Sign up for Netflix here. Once your all ready to go:

  1. Power on your Playstation and choose your account.

    Playstation 3 controller

    Photo by wlodi via Flickr

  2. Scroll horizontally over to the PlayStation Network Menu and then down to the What’s New section. Hit X to get inside the menu.
  3. You should see the Netflix app (if this has changed, you can always browse the Playstation Store for it). Highlight it and click X.
  4. You’ll be directed to the Netflix app page within the Playstation Store. Click download to add it to your cart.
  5. Give it a minute and once the app is downloaded and installed you can back out of the store and into the PS3 home screen. Look under Video and you should see the Netflix logo. Click it to begin watching.

You’ll only need to install the Netflix app one time. In the future, just go directly to the Video portion of the home screen to watch your favorite shows and movies.

If you’re not an avid movie watcher, the Playstation store also offers Vudu which allows you to pay for only what you watch. Vudu has movie releases the same day as they are available on DVD and you can rent a movie for as low as $2 for 2 nights. Here’s how to get started with Vudu on the PS3.

Hulu Plus

Hulu Plus installed on the PS3

Hulu Plus installed on the PS3

Hulu Plus is the big brother premium service to Hulu. With Hulu Plus you can enjoy the entire season of your favorite shows (rather than the past 3 with regular Hulu). The other added bonus of Hulu Plus is you can stream episodes instantly to your computer, gaming or mobile device. For this setup, you’re going to have to spring the $8/month for a Hulu Plus subscription.

Many of the same directions apply when downloading and installing Hulu Plus as they did with Netflix. Follow the directions above, but this time you’re looking for the neon green Hulu logo.

Stream TV and movies from your computer

PS3 Media Server running on a Mac

PS3 Media Server running on a Mac

To stream content from a computer on your home network, I highly recommend PS3 Media Server. This free software essentially talks to your PS3 and streams any music or videos you have to your gaming device. PS3 Media Server is ready to launch out of the box. There’s no need to worry about installing codecs, setting up folders or making sure you’re files are in the correct format. PS3 Media Server supports virtually every popular video and audio file format. Click here to download and get started.

PlayOn Setup

PlayOn TV streams TV to any number of devices

For more content and a similar experience, check out PlayOn. PlayOn runs on your PC and automagically grabs your favorite content from the web and pushes it to your PS3 through your broadband connection. PlayOn supports Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, ESPN 3, CNN and many more. You can demo PlayOn for free for the first 14 days, buy it outright for $80 or choose a less expensive annual subscription. Go here to get started  with PlayOn or watch this demo video.

Like I mentioned above, there are a handful of other ways to access TV and movies through your Playstation 3. Do you have a tip or idea? If so, share it in the comments below.

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Interview With Cord Cutters – Tiffany and Tom

Tiffany and Tom got rid of cable

Tiffany and Tom cut the cord on cable in March 2010.

Meet Tiffany and Tom. They’ve been cable-free for nearly a year now. Initially they cut the cord to save money for their first home, but the experiment seems to have stuck.

We were spending about $85/month on deluxe digital cable and VOD (video-on-demand). We currently spend $18/month on Netflix and Hulu Plus.

The savings are really amazing. We now pay a fifth of what we were paying for cable, and that money goes a long way.

Tiffany will admit that the transition was a little rough. The first 4 months, they went without any TV whatsoever – not even an antenna. For someone who has subscribed to cable her entire life, she missed her favorite shows like 30 Rock, Psych and Leverage.

Shortly thereafter, they subscribed to Netflix and streamed their favorite television shows and movies through their Wii console. They also have a computer hooked up to their TV for Hulu Plus. These knights in shining armor saved the day and let them catch up on back episodes of programming they missed as well as watch shows that they never got around to exploring.

On top of the big savings, they feel more free to watch what they want and when they want it without the nagging feeling that they’re missing out.

For any first time cord cutters, they suggest doing your research.

If someone cuts the cord and picks up Netflix, then I would suggest taking a few minutes to do some searching to see everything that Netflix has to offer. If they are going to completely cut the cord, then they should make a list of activities that they can do that don’t involve television. If they have a computer with high-speed Internet, there are still plenty of shows that can be watched on Hulu for free.

Asked if they will ever go back to their old ways and Tiffany replies, “Maybe, If I become a millionaire.”

Have you cut the cord or are you considering it? If so, tell us your story in the comments below or see our post on what you need to know before cutting the cord.

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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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