Free Amazon Prime Trial Link

Since we cancelled cable, we use our Roku to stream a combination of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus.

Lately, we’ve been using Amazon more and more, since they now include over 40,000 free on demand movies and tv shows.    We’ve been Amazon Prime members from the start – which we originally got for the free 2-day shipping from Amazon, but have seen more and more friends signup just for the streaming content.

Just saw that Amazon is now offering a free 30 day trial of their Prime service, and wanted to pass along the following link:

Here are just few of the movies, we recently watched for free…

  • Hunger Games
  • The Avengers
  • Jack Reacher
  • There Be Dragons
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang



How to watch Breaking Bad without Cable TV

Here’s how to watch all 62 episodes of Breaking Bad without cable tv….

Ok – I admit it,  I’ve been hooked (no pun intended) on Breaking Bad.     Up until Sunday I’d seen every episode except Sunday’s final, despite not having AMC or cable TV.   Every episode that is except the finale.

I watched the first five seasons for free using our Roku to stream them via Netflix .   The final mini-season (6 episodes) aren’t yet available on Netflix, but were released next day on Amazon Video on Demand after each of the final episodes were aired.  They’re not free, but are available for $1.99 each and can also be streamed via the Roku set top box.

What about the finale?   Luckily I avoided all the spoiler articles on the Internet.  Sure I had to wait one day to watch it, but all in all I was pretty happy to be able to watch all 62 episodes at my convenience for only $16.   Thanks Roku, Netflix and Amazon!

Just upgraded our Roku after almost 5 years – Roku 3 review and comparison

It’s been almost five years since we canceled cable and bought our first Roku set-top box. It’s amazing how much has changed since then.   In 2008, the Roku was basically a Netflix only streaming device.   Hard to believe, but Roku now features over 750 channels, the great majority of which are free.

Here’s a picture of the new Roku 3 player we just picked up for $99….

Roku3 and Remote picture

Some key differences….

  • Much, much faster! Not sure of the exact processor type, but flipping through movies and streaming is now a breeze.  Our original was great for the first few years, but had been getting sluggish lately – probably due to the newer Roku look and feel which is much more graphic intensive.
  • Supports 1080p HD (on some channels like Netflix)
  • Faster WIFI and network connectivity – Now has extended range dual-band wireless and wired RJ45 Ethernet which should really cut down on buffering times
  • Cool headphone jack in remote – great for late night TV watching in bed
  • Haven’t tried it yet, but the new remote has a gyroscope in it and can play games like Angry Birds (included)  and some cool retro games like Galaga and Pacman.
It also has a new integrated search which will search all channels for a given show or movie.  Since we primarily use Netflix, Hulu and Amazon and our favorites seem to be spread pretty evenly across the three services, this is a very welcome feature!
Will post a more detailed post when we can – as well as one talking about the Roku channels we use most.
Thanks!’s First Money Saving Gift Guide

Thought it would be interesting to create a gift giving guide that could actually save money in the long run, so we just created and published our first Money Saving Gift Guide‘.  It contains suggestions, discounts and tips for……

  • 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.
All the products selected were in stock and could be delivered well in time for Christmas (based on the web site’s notices), so if you haven’t found the perfect present yet and don’t feel like battling in the malls, maybe you’ll find the right gift below. You can access the guide by clicking on the thumbnail below, or by visiting our new Facebook page.

Money saving gift giving guide

If you find the guide helpful, please consider sharing it with your friends and family on Facebook or e-mail. Thank you and have a great holiday season!

Roku Discount – No more $45 Roku coupons, but $10 off Roku 2 XD and XS and free shipping.

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.

Related Post:  What’s a Roku?

Amazon Black Friday Deals on Internet connected HDTV’s

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.

Roku Black Friday Special

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.

Feature Comparison Grid

Good luck and happy Black Friday deal hunting!

How to watch streaming internet videos on any TV using just your computer.

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…

HDMI Input

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.

HDMI Output Picture

Mac DisplayLink Output Picture

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.

Picture of RCA inputs on TV

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.