Tag Archives: tips

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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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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Not Ready To Commit? Suspend Your Cable Service To Test the Waters

Canceling cable cold turkey is a big step for a lot of people. They’re not sure if they have the technical knowledge (they do), the patience or the sheer willpower to give up on something they’ve grown accustomed to. Let me show you a quick and easy trick to ease the transition by suspending your service while you get adjusted to life without cable.

Static TV

Photo by Thaneworks via Flickr

Many cable and satellite providers have a small loophole that allows users to suspend their service for a certain period of time. Called “vacation mode” or “seasonal mode,” they often do this for customers who are taking an extended leave or who go south for the winter. The best thing about this policy is that you can use it to your advantage to buy yourself some time and refine your new media consumption lifestyle.

DirecTV will allow you to suspend your service for up to 6 months at no charge while still keeping your original equipment. If at any time you decide that cutting the cord isn’t for you, just ring them up and they’ll automagically turn your service back on. It’s a painless process.

Many other providers like Comcast, Time Warner and Dish Network also offer similar options to pause your service. You should be advised that there could be a small fee (< $10) depending on your provider. Rules vary by market. Make sure you get any associated costs and details in writing if you do suspend your service so you won’t have any surprises in the future.

So, if you have your doubts or you don’t want to jump into the cord cutters club head first, one of the best options is suspending your service. Go ahead and test the it, I’m sure you’ll find that the water’s fine!

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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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