Tag Archives: set-top

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 99ยข 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?

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?

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.