- Set top boxes
- Streaming Blu-ray players
- Internet ready TVs
- Portable TVs
- Antennas for watching free HD broacast TV and other cool gadgets for watching TV and movies on your HDTV without cable TV.
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Wanted to pass the following along…
Roku just announced another ‘post-Black Friday sale’ (they were offering Roku Lt’s for $45 with a special coupon until today, and posted that the following special is the last one before the holidays….
In additional to their reduced holiday prices, they are now offering 10 dollars off and free shipping (in time for Christmas) on their top of the line Roku 2 XD and Roku 2 XS models.
This pricing appears to be only offered directly from the Roku site (Amazon still has the older pricing) and brings the cost of a Roku 2 XD down to $69.99 and the XS down to $89.99 (including shipping).
If you’re thinking of picking up one, both models have built in WIFI, work with 720p and 1080p HD TV’s (as well as older analog TVs). The main difference between the two is that the XS model come with an enhanced remote with motion control for playing games as well as a FREE edition of Angry Birds. The only other difference I can see is that the XS also comes with an Ethernet port and USB port.
The XS’s Ethernet port could come in handy if you have your internet modem near your Roku and want even faster streaming that Wifi. I believe the USB port is used to save game data, so it’s probaby not a dealbreaker unless you are interested in the game feature.
Since set top boxes have become so popular, there are now a number of TV’s with built in WIFI and the ability to watch streaming Internet content like Netflix.
On the large side, with all the bells and whistles is the Panasonic VIERA 50-Inch 1080p 3D Plasma HDTV.. This unit usually sells for $1499, but Amazon is having a Black Friday-CyberMonday sale on it for $804.96 (with free shipping) - a 46% savings.
Not big enough for you? They are also offering the 65″ version of this TV for $1969 - 46% off the normal price of $3299.
If you are looking for a small Internet connected TV, Amazon is also having a Black Friday-CyberModay special on the Internet Ready Sony Bravia, a 32-inch 1080p LED HDTV with Integrated WIFI. Sale price: $599.99 with free shipping.
If you have been thinking about buying a Roku, this weekend might be a good time to do it. Roku is selling a new Roku LT for only $49.99 and is selling their Roku 2 HD Player for $59.99 - both with free shipping.
If you’re not sure what a Roku is, you might want to read our past post about our experience with the Roku Player.
What’s the difference between the two?
Both models offer the same content as the higher end Roku’s (over 300 entertainment channels available, including Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Video on Demand which have small monthly fees (Hulu Plus and Netflix cost $7.99 a month. Amazon Video on Demand offers 10,000 shows and movies and shows for free if you are a Amazon Prime member (which is basically a membership for $79 yr for free 2-day shipping and $4 overnight shipping with some other perks) and also has pretty current movies which can be purchased (via your Roku remote) from anywhere from $.99 to $4.99.
Both models support HD, but only at 720p. This is good enough for many since 720p streaming is still very clear and is a good option to get an inexpensive second Roku or one to hook up to an older TV.
The main difference between the two, is that the LT doesn’t have an additional memory slot (which can be used for additional channel or game storage) and doesn’t support Bluetooth (used for games)
If you want the best video quality available (1080p) on a Roku, you’ll want to choose between the Roku2 XD ($79) or Roku2 XS ($99). Both are top of the line units, with the main difference being that the XS model has an enhanced remote (motion control for games), a free full additional of Angry Birds and an Ethernet port and USB port.
Since choosing between these four models can get a little confusing, you can click on the ‘Products’ tab on their site to look at a feature comparison grid.
Good luck and happy Black Friday deal hunting!
There are a lot of great set top boxes out there that let you watch streaming TV and movies via the Internet, but maybe you’re not interested in spending the money or you’re just looking for a very simple way to hook your computer up to your TV and watch videos from popular websites like Hulu or different web sites. Here are five different ways you can connect your computer to your TV and watch streaming internet video….
The first thing you need to check is if you have a newer TV and computer which will let you use an HDMI cable to connect the two (don’t worry, there are still ways to do it if you don’t).
What is an HDMI cable? Basically, a HDMI cable is a special type of cable HDTV’s use for high quality video input. Just about all HD and flatscreen TVs have HDMI inputs. Here’s what they look like…
Most newer laptops have HDMI outputs or in the case of Apple products like the Macbook, have adapters you can use to connect an HDMI cable to.
Here are 2 examples. The first one is a picture of a standard HDMI output on a PC notebook, the second one is the MiniDisplayPort output on a MacBook which can be hooked up to an adapter to connect to a HDMI cable.
Once you get a HDMI cable, just connect your computer to your TV, use your remote to select ‘HDMI’ input and with any luck you should see a mirror image of your computer screen on your HD TV. Now you have a very simple inexpensive way of watching Internet content on your TV.
But what if you have an older TV or an older computer that doesn’t support HDMI?
If you have a standard definition TV, you won’t be able to use HDMI, but if your TV and computer have S video jacks and you have S video cable, you can follow the above steps to hook everything up.
But what if you have a real old TV or real old computer that doesn’t have any fancy inputs or outputs?
Just about all TVs made in the last 30 years have RCA inputs. These are the red, white and yellow jacks that you see on the back of your TV which were commonly used to hook up VCRs, DVD players and video games.
And just about all laptop computers ever made have what’s called an external VGA port that can be used to connect the laptop to a monitor.
Luckily, there are number of PC to TV converters which plug into the VGA port on your laptop and the RCA inputs on older TVs.
But what if you have a really, really, old TV?
And on the chance that you have an even older TV, maybe one made in the 50’s or sixties, you can use a RF modulator in conjunction with a converter and still watch streaming Internet television on your TV using the coaxial antenna connection.
The downsides of using your computer instead of a set-top box to watch videos on your TV
All of the above options help you connect the video output to your TV. This means you’ll either need to listen to the audio on your computer speakers or plug your computer into your stereo or entertainment system, or a simple set of amplified speakers. Also since you’re using your computer and not a specialized set top box, it’s possible that the video quality might not be as good or might not completely fill your TV screen, but this really depends largely on how fast your computer and graphic card is and the web site you are visiting.
Tip: when you’re watching Internet videos, be sure to look for the ‘full-screen’ icon on the video player which maximizes video to the largest possible size.
April 14th, 2011 — Uncategorized
Quick post: We’ve been receiving increasingly high traffic recently, with many people typing in our URL directly.
If you have a moment, can you let us know (using the comment link below) how you heard about CancelCable.com or found our site?
Thanks for your help!
Mrs. CancelCable.com here again. I’ve been researching which Roku unit to buy to replace our old one, and here’s the scoop…
Starting with the basics… A Roku is a small unit that streams movies, TV shows, music and other content to your TV via the Internet. The nice thing about the Roku is that once you buy the basic unit ($60 - $99) one-time cost, there are no monthly fees and you don’t need to have a computer to watch broadband TV.
Since we bought our first Roku almost two and a half years ago, I was surprised to see that Roku has added about 100 channels (mostly free) including more movie channels, news channels and a bunch of Internet related channels (like ones that let you view your Facebook, Picassa or Flickr photo albums on your TV - pretty cool.) The ones we use the most are…
Choosing a Roku model
Currently, there are three different Roku models to choose from: (1) The Roku HD, (2) The Roku XD and (3) the Roku XD/S. The good news is that there is only about a $40 difference between their budget unit and their deluxe one.
1. The Roku 2 HD is their basic unit and sells for about $70. It is compatible with any TV (old analog ones and new HD TVs) and has built in Wi-Fi and a wired Ethernet connector. It lacks some of the bells and whistles of the other Roku models (1080p HD video quality, enhanced remote with instant replay capability, extended range wireless or dual-band wireless ), but might be a good choice if you are on tight budget, or have an old analog TV and have your Internet router placed close to your TV).
2. The next step up is the XD Roku 2, which sells for about $80. It has all the features of the basic model, and adds 1080p HD video compatibility. Some channels stream in 1080p already, and more are expected to follow so if you have a Flatscreen TV which supports 1080p, it’s probably worth the extra $20 for this feature alone. The XD also comes with an enhanced remote with instant replay and has built in extended-range wireless (wireless-N) which can double your Wi-Fi range, letting you use your Roku in larger houses and making for faster and smoother streaming.
3. The top of the line current model is the Roku 2 XS unit, which sells for about $100. It has all the features of the lesser models plus dual-band wireless which is advertised as the current wireless standard and since it has two different types of wireless radios, it can deliver even faster bandwidth, less interference and better reliability. This unit also has a USB port for showing your home videos and pictures on the TV, which I love.
If was a close call between the $80 XD model and the $100 XD/s model, but for $20 extra we ended up choosing the Roku XD/S unit. We’re not running dual-band wireless yet, but the unit is downwardly compatible with standard Wi-Fi and we’ll probably upgrade to dual-band soon, which my husband has been wanting to do for a while. And since it also has the USB port, I really like the idea of showing the whole family the latest cute kid video or birthday party pictures without dealing with various camera cables that we can never find!
Just ordered it last night from Amazon for $99 with free 2 day Prime shipping and will post again when we receive it and hook it up.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about my post, please feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer it. Thanks!
We’ve heard from a lot of families who are considering canceling cable, but aren’t ready to make the leap due to concerns about being able to watch their favorite sports. Here’s a short post on some of the alternatives we’ve seen…
Note: Keep in mind that games aired over standard networks can be watched using free high definition over-the-air broadcast TV. (e.g. college and professional football). In many cases, the picture is much better (since many cable signals are compressed) - even on a 50″ or 60″ flat screen TV.
1. Football - Watch games being aired over standard broadcast networks using free high definition over-the-air broadcast TV. Good for college and professional football and bowl game coverage (including of course the Superbowl). Unless I missed it, NFL.com doesn’t currently offer the ability the watch live games (unless you live outside the US), but they do offer a number of options here.
2. NBA.com offers a service called NBA League Pass which lets you watch live games via broadband or mobile device. They currently have two options - Choice, $24.95/year, lets you to watch live games for up to 7 teams and Premium, $49.95 for all 30 teams. In addition all games can be accessed via a DVR-like full season on demand archive.
3. Major League Baseball games can be watched on your normal TV by buying a MLB.tv subscription and watching on a set top device like the Roku. As of today, pricing is $119/year which includes home and away broadcasts, full game archives, multi-game view (PIP, Split Screen or Quad) and Live DVR Controls. They also include a bunch of other extras (listed here).
4. ESPN3 via broadband (select college football, NBA, MLB, The Masters and US Golf Open and all 4 Grand Slam tennis tournaments). Free access via TV via XBOX for Xbox Live Gold members or streaming via web site.
5. Hockey: NHL GameCenterLive offers live broadcasts (watch up to 40 out of market games each week, full length DVR like archives and the ability to watch up to 4 games at a time (using split screen mode). As of today, pricing is $79 for the season.
Since some of these services aren’t available via a set top box like Roku or Xbox, you may need to connect your laptop to your TV to use them. There are a few different ways to do this (we’ll be writing a detailed post on this soon), but if you have a flatscreen TV and your laptop has a HDMI output, you can typically use an inexpensive HDMI cable to connect the two.
February 7th, 2011 — Uncategorized
Let me introduce myself…I’m Mrs. CancelCable.com. Thought I’d try my hand at adding to our blog! Here’s the latest….
In late December, we had some bad weather and our Roku unit’s power adapter was fried during a lightning storm. This was a pretty big deal since we (including our kids) have been relying on it to watch just about all our tv and movies for the past couple of years (Netflix and Hulu Plus for free shows and movies, and Amazon on Demand for current release pay per view movies).
The timing of the power surge was unfortunate because the whole family was all set for movie night. My husband descended into the basement and hastily searched through his big bag of transformers and what-not that he’s saved from every appliance we’ve ever owned. Luckily, he found a power adapter that worked, even though it wasn’t an exact match. To the delight of the kids, and myself, movie night continued.
This was a couple of months ago, and instead of calling for a new power adapter, we continued to use the temporary fix. The only problem was that it was causing the Roku to need rebooting every couple of days, which it never needed before. My husband appointed our 7 year-old to be in charge of this, and that actually worked pretty well until now.
Technically, the Roku unit’s still working, but I think using the wrong power adapter has taken its toll on it, so we’ve finally decided to buy a new one. The good news is it looks like they are cheaper than the $99 one we bought several years ago. The bad news is there are now three different units to choose from, so we’ll need to do some research. To be continued…
It’s been way too long since out last post, but we’ve blocked off some time and have a lot of new things to blog about. Due to a few new cool services and devices, its even easier for us to watch free Internet based content on our TV (and even our phone). And with just about every other bill rising, it feels great not to pay $150/month for cable. As we blogged about last year, we used the money we saved to buy a flatscreen TV and a Nintendo Wii.
This year we decided to improve our cable-free setup by subscribing to HuluPlus and purchasing an Ipad. We’re also about to upgrade our trusty original model Roku with one of the new models that are currently being discounted for the holidays. Over the next week or two, we’ll post more about our current setup and answer some of the more common questions that we receive. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them below and we’ll do our best to answer them.