Tag Archives: apple-tv

Apple TV Giveaway Winner and Money-Saving Geek Tips


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At the end of March, we announced the giveaway of an Apple TV. Requirements for entry were pretty simple: You had to follow both myself and The Frugal Geek on Twitter, and send out a Tweet of your own. We actually had a LOT of entries, y’all – more than a thousand of them!

There are a lot of things you can do with this gorgeous little device. Turn your television into a photo album. Listen to your music. Watch YouTube videos and listen to podcasts or Internet radio through your home speakers. Watch Netflix movies and television in HD. Rent your favorite shows on the spot – commercial free – for less than a buck per episode. (These are available the day after they air.) And of course, with the Apple TV you have instant access to the hottest new movies… usually the SAME DAY they release to DVD in stores.

Matt and I hooked up on Skype to do this giveaway, and I recorded the conversation using Call Recorder. It’s not a free application, but it does work very well. It’s simple to use: install the app and record and stop buttons will appear in your Skype window. You will have the ability to record video calls with picture-in-picture or split-screen mode! The files are saved as QuickTime movies, but you can convert them to MP3 files quickly. Drag your movie into the “Convert to MP3” utility within the app and it will automagically convert the file for you. You can then email it to someone or share it via a website.

When Matt came to me with an interest in doing a giveaway, I jumped at the chance. We announced it with a video, and received some amount of negativity from the community. Most of this came from our International audience. They weren’t happy to be left out. We had to explain – repeatedly – that our hands were tied. Giveaways are governed by various country laws, and there’s nothing we can do to change those obviously.

With nearly 1100 entries, Matt’s Twitter account quickly gained hundreds of new followers. My account even received a few new subscribers, which blows my mind. To have this type of positive feedback – and entries for the giveaway – made the negativity worth having to deal with. We want to try to do a monthly giveaway, and are going to work hard to try and accommodate the International folks.

This entire giveaway came about when Matt was visiting his local Fry’s store. He noticed some silly Darth Vader lamps (which I happen to love!) which made him think of me. As he wandered into the next aisle – the Apple product aisle – he remembered how welcoming and accepting our community has been. He’s been blogging full time for a few months now on the Lockergnome Frugal Geek blog, and has submitted a few excellent videos to our YouTube channel. All of his work is full of money-saving tips for geeks… something we can all use.

Matt realized there’s no better way to say thank you than with a sweet piece of hardware. The Apple TV weighs only a half an ounce, but it packs some serious punch. You’ll find a lovely A4 CPU – the same chip that runs your iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. There’s a 6-watt power supply and a slew of ports: HDMI2, Audio, Ethernet and Micro USB slot (which Apple says is for service and support).

I was all for this opportunity, since Matt is such an active contributing member of our community. I love that Matt helps people save money – and time. I constantly Tweet out coupons, deals and even links to freebies of all types. Some may accuse me of spam, but I really do enjoy helping people save money. There’s value we provide – beyond the gifts.

Matt collected all of the names – just under 1100 of them – of the people who entered the giveaway. He put that list into the Random Number Generator site and a winner was chosen!

Congratulations to Casey Bryan from North Hollywood, California! You have just won yourself an Apple TV!

Thank you to everyone for participating. Keep your eyes peeled for our next giveaway.

Giveaway of an Apple TV


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Streaming content into your home is more than just some passing fad. Thousands of people have already “cut the cable cord” in favor of set-top boxes such as the Apple TV. Using a device like this gives you more control over the content you are watching. It’s also cost effective – it will cost far less than traditional cable or satellite programming. The Apple TV is a fantastic device – and this one could be yours.

This tiny little black box (it’s just under 4″ square, sits about an inch high off the table and weighs just .6 ounces!) packs a lot of punch. Inside, you’ll find the A4 CPU, the same chip that powers the iPhone 4, iPad, and iPod touch. There’s a built-in 6-watt universal power supply and several ports: HDMI2, Optical Audio, Ethernet, IR receiver and a Micro-USB slot that Apple claims is for service and support.

It supports a slew of different formats. For video, you have:

  • H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second, Main Profile level 3.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats.
  • MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats.
  • Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format.

Audio files supported include HE-AAC (V1), AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV; Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound pass-through. And for photos, you can browse anything ending with .JPEG, .GIF and .TIFF.

So what can you DO with an Apple TV? I’m so glad you asked! Turn your TV into an HD photo album. Listen to your extensive music collection. Browse and play YouTube videos, watch your favorite HD podcasts, and listen to Internet radio through your home entertainment speakers. Watch Netflix movies and television on the device in HD and with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound when available. Rent your favorite TV shows on the spot, commercial free and in HD for just 99¢ per episode as soon as the day after they are aired. And of course, with the Apple TV, you get instant access to all of the best movies – usually the same day they are released to DVD.

Are you drooling yet? Are you ready to win?! Anyone in the United States is eligible to enter. I apologize to those of you in other countries. International laws and restrictions prohibit us from running contests worldwide.

Jump over to your Twitter account and make sure you are following the Lockergnome account as well as the one for the Frugal Geek. Once you’re following both of us, send out a Tweet stating the following: LockerGnome is Giving Away an Apple TV http://bit.ly/fcyJRE @LockerGnome @FrugalGeek. The giveaway is open from now until April 15th. One winner will be chosen at random who meets all qualifications laid out in this paragraph.

Are you using a set-top box? Which one do you prefer – and why?

How to Jailbreak an Apple TV 2G


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You may have jailbroken your Apple iPhone or iPod touch, but have you thought of jailbreaking your Apple TV? Reza talks this week about doing just that. While you may be happy enough simply being able to access your iTunes content, you could be doing so much more. Jailbreaking isn’t for everyone, but Reza is dedicated to giving you the information you need to make a solid decision on whether doing this to your device is right for you. Are you getting the most out of the piece of hardware you purchased?

Reza’s Apple TV 2G is jailbroken using GreenPois0n. In order to perform this task, you’re going to need a micro USB cable. Unplug the power from the back of the Apple TV 2G and put the micro into the back and pop the USB end into your computer. Place the television into recovery mode by holding down the Menu and Play buttons together for about eight seconds. Once the little white light begins to flash, you will know you are in recovery mode and you’re able to begin your jailbreaking process.

GreenPosi0n will automagically ask if your device is the Apple TV. Once you indicate that it is – poof! You’re jailbroken. Seriously… it’s that simple. Once that process has completed, you can head into your TV and set up some custom mods and tweaks which will blow away your previous experience with the device.

The first thing you’re going to want to check out is NitoTV. This app integrates with your device seamlessly to give you a viewing experience like nothing you have ever seen before. The app allows you to play movie files in nearly any format you can think of. It even will support subtitles, which is something we’re all still hoping Apple themselves will do. NitoTV also lets you play your DVD content right from the disc, a ripped ISO or a mounted USB DVD drive. Heck, mount the ISO on your network drive and watch at your leisure.

You’ll notice that Reza has some seriously cool backgrounds on that baby. He didn’t bother grabbing anything from iTunes, of course. He used a little tool called Cyberduck. This is a fantastic FTP client for Mac OS X. Reza just SSHd into that bad boy, placed a folder in the root directory and told the machine to play those pictures as a screensaver.

Reza feels that the ability to use a Webkit-based browser puts the Apple TV on the same playing field as a Google TV. He can quickly surf the web and insert apps whenever he chooses with just a click of a button. He truly feels that by jailbreaking, the Apple offering can give its Google counterpart a serious run for its money.

Set-Top Debate: Boxee vs Roku vs Apple TV

Streaming content in your home is quickly becoming much more than just a fad. People are cutting the cord in favor of set-top boxes such as Roku, Apple TV and Boxee. Using a device such as this gives the consumer more control over the content they can watch as well as being more cost-effective than traditional cable or satellite television connections. The question is, though, which box is right for your home? The three major players – Roku, Boxee and Apple TV – have many things in common. However, you’ll be surprised at how the differences between them can sway your purchasing decision.

Both the Roku and the Apple TV boxes can be purchased for under one hundred dollars, while the new Boxee model will set you back two hundred smackers. However, the Boxee alternative has quite a bit more to offer. At this point in time, Apple and Roku have some catching up to do in the content delivery department. Boxee now offers both Netflix and Vudu for your viewing pleasure. With Vudu, you can purchase movies on-demand – the same day they are released on DVD even – at a cost of $2.00 for two nights. Stream your favorite Internet content and connect with your Twitter and Facebook account in order to get suggestions from your friends. Additionally, personal recommendations will be sent straight to your television, based on your previous viewing choices. The unit is Flash 10.1 compatible, another feature the others don’t offer. There are more than 400 apps at this time, offering you third-party content distribution choices you haven’t even begun to think of. The remote control is double-sided, offering both a browsing experience and a full QWERTY keyboard. There’s an SD card slot and two USB ports built in.

The Roku box offers Netflix and Hulu, movie rental and purchases and even popular sports packages. There are more than fifty channels at this time – including Amazon video service. Stream your iTunes collection without a computer connection or tune in to your favorite online radio stations such as Pandora. The unit is capable of viewing YouTube and Flickr content, much as the others are. There is also a USB port which allows you to view media on your favorite USB stick.

Apple TV has a partnership with both FOX and ABC, allowing you to access your favorite shows for .99 per episode. If you want to watch an entire season, though, it could end up costing you quite a lot. This unit also offers Netflix, YouTube and Flickr access. Movies will cost you $2.99 or $3.00 for HD versions. There is one Micro USB slot and the cool remote allows you to access your iPod touch, iPad or iPhone with the press of a button. That in itself is seriously cool. Have you tried playing Angry Birds on the big screen yet?

Even though the Boxee set-top box has more to offer at this point in time, don’t count the Roku and Apple TV out just yet. I’m sure we will be seeing revisions to both machines sometime this year. Competition in this market is fierce, and I have a feeling that we’ll see even better features coming in the new versions.

Are you using a set-top box in your home? Which model do you own, and what do you prefer about it?

Unboxing the Roku HD


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The Roku HD set top box works with virtually any TV, offering HDMI for HDTV or composite connections for standard def televisions. The Roku HD supports 720p video and connects to the Internet via WiFi.

Kelly Clay does an unboxing of the Roku HD here, showing you what’s inside the box. As an Apple TV alternative, the Roku HD costs less and works with many content providers not compatible with Apple TV

Much like with Apple, the Roku HD packaging is very minimal. There aren’t a lot of extra things rattling around in the box. You get what you need in as small of a box as can be used. No muss – no fuss.

Android Set-Top Box


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Shenzhen Geniatech Co. Ltd presents some interesting Android Powered Set-top-boxes. These could be sold for around $100 like the Apple TV or Roku box, but they just run the full Android OS including support for lots of video codecs.

While Android is not yet really optimized for use on a TV with a remote control, this type of device will support the Google TV software (in this case, without HDMI pass-through overlay features) pretty soon once Google releases that software source code.

This video was filmed by Charbax of ARMdevices at CES 2011.

Google TV Vs. Apple TV


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This is Google TV. I am more than grateful to the team at Google for sending this unit to me, and for showing me how I can help all of YOU win one for yourself. I have to tell you – this piece of hardware is simply stunning. The quality is far beyond what I had expected. Besides, what could be cooler than watching YouTube videos on a big screen television?

Google TV is a new platform for television that combines your normal TV programming with a full web browser, Android apps and a simple way to search through all of it. It’s even easy to switch between TV and the web without having to change inputs on your television set.

With Google Chrome and Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Google TV lets you access everything on the web. Watch your favorite web videos, view photos, play games, check fantasy scores, chat with friends, and do everything else you’re accustomed to doing online.

If you’re a video producer like I am, you’re going to love this. Google TV gives web video stars the change to be a TV star. Google TV users can even bookmark your YouTube channel onto their TV home screen. This makes your content appear one click away from whatever they are already watching.

Google TV will come pre-loaded with apps like Netflix, Twitter, CNBC, Pandora, Napster, NBA Game Time, Amazon Video On Demand and Gallery. Starting early next year, apps from Android Market will work on Google TV as well. As I already said in the video above, the quality and clarity of this Sony television is just – fantastic. I cannot imagine anything better to surf the web with, including my beloved Mac Pro and dual 30″ monitors. This TV set puts those to shame. Seriously.

I’m sure you are ready to know how you can win one of these for yourself, aren’t you? Google is graciously giving YOU the chance to win. The contest ends on December 22nd, so you’ll have to hurry. 100 people will win a 46″ Sony Google Internet TV on January 20th.

To enter, simply create a video describing why you’re excited about watching the Internet on TV. You can upload your entry as soon as you’re ready – and please make sure you’ve read the official contest rules. Your video cannot be longer than one minute, so be creative with your time – and good luck to everyone!

Thanks again to Google. This Sony in my office is now my new best friend. Why are YOU excited about Google TV?

Free iTunes Movie

Everyone loves free stuff, including me. Apple is reportedly sending out free movie codes to many of the registered iTunes users. There has been no official announcement about this. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason as to who can receive a code. The free movie rental promotion lets you rent one of the 8,500 compatible movies and you have 30 days to start watching and 24 hours to finish.

You can watch iTunes movies on your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Apple TV or computer (including a Windows machine!) at any time you wish – and from anywhere you choose. iTunes doesn’t charge late fees. There are no return envelopes to worry about. You don’t have to wait in line or join a queue. You can even use your iTunes Store credit to rent movies or to purchase movies. One of the coolest things about the iTunes movie rental service is that you can move the movie between devices as many times as you wish during the rental period. However, the movie can only exist on one device at a time.

Renting a movie is as simple as purchasing music or apps. Simply choose your movie, purchase it and download to iTunes. Connect your device and transfer the movie to it… and then enjoy. You don’t need to sign up for a separate account or service like you would if you use Netflix or another rental company. You likely already have iTunes for one reason or another. Why not use it to rent your movies, as well?

Apple TV Initial Impressions


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I received my Apple TV the other day, and decided to unbox it in front of the live audience. Yes, I know that the television currently in my home office sucks. If you have recommendations for a new one, I’d love to hear them.

I appreciate that the Apple TV is black and silver. It matches my home office perfectly. Poor Wicket wants a Google TV but has to be patient for a while longer. The remote app is nice for both the Apple TV and my iPhone. I will likely use my phone as the remote.

Unboing was pretty simple… pull out the device, the instruction book and the remote and you’re done. If you’re planning to get an Apple TV, how soon will you have one? If you’re not getting one – why not? I’m curious to hear what everyone in the community is planning to do, and why.

Apple TV has been redesigned to be small in size but big on entertainment. Rent from the largest selection of HD movies — many available the same day they come out on DVD. Watch Netflix titles instantly. Rent TV shows, commercial free in HD. And stream photos and music from your computer to your widescreen TV. Best of all, Apple TV is just $99.

The Apple TV is very portable… enough so that I will carry it with me wherever I want to use it in my house. I will likely also bring it along when I travel somewhere. Using iTunes with it to find movies is actually pretty simple and intuitive. The prices are comparable (and often cheaper) than what you’ll find anywhere else.

Have you tried an Apple TV yet? What are your thoughts?

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Apple TV Moves to Rental Model, Drops Price to $99

Apple TV

DISCLAIMER: I thought the first Apple TV was relatively useless.

Today, Apple announced significant changes to Apple TV at the press event held in San Francisco (which, by the way, was streamed LIVE for the world to watch). The new Apple TV, available by the beginning of October, comes in at 1/4 the size of the original. It’s smaller than a sandwich. You can use a Tupperware container as your carrying case now – provided you’ve cleaned it first.

But there are tastier details to sink your teeth into!

There’s no media to keep track of anymore (through klutzy synching processes and whatnot) – everything will stream live into the tiny slice of digital heaven through either a network cable or WiFi (802.11n). As someone who hates storing media, this change is most welcomed. There’s a reason I use and love both Pandora and Rhapsody for my music, and why I’ve taken to Hulu for available TV show viewing. And on that note…

Once you’ve set up your new Apple TV, you’ll be able to “choose from the largest online selection of HD movies to rent, including first run movies for just $4.99, and the largest online selection of HD TV show episodes to rent from ABC, ABC Family, Fox, Disney Channel and BBC America for just 99 cents.” That’s quite a competitive price for legally-attainable media in conjunction with a convenient interface and service. Not sure I’ll take advantage of this part of the Apple TV, though; I’m not into à la carte media consumption.

Netflix subscribers (like myself) have access to the entire streaming library of Netflix videos. If the video is in your instant queue, you’re just a few clicks away from watching it with Apple TV. You can also view streaming media from YouTube and Flickr – plus watch your favorite podcasts (like a certain someone’s) and access streaming media and images on the computers in your home.

Job(s) well done.

Oh, did I remember to tell you that the price of this sophomore effort has also been cut by 66%! That brings the Apple TV price point to US$99 – a great impulse buy for gadget geeks and mediaphiles. I’ll buy one, pick up a few extra HDMI and power cables, then tote a single unit around the house with me.

While I never considered purchasing the original Apple TV (not once), I can’t wait for this to ship (available in about four weeks to consumers in the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany and Australia).

Am I alone with being impressed?