Tag Archives: television

Top Five Things to Look for When Buying an HDTV

Since we talked about 4k screens the other day, it occurred to me that some people may not even know where to begin when trying to decide on a regular old HDTV purchase. It seemed like a perfect time to revisit the advice that Matt Smith (no, not Doctor #11, but The Matt Smith!) once shared. While this was written a few years ago and some of the details may be out of date, most of this excellent advice holds true today if you’re not yet committed to going 4k.

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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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Are You Ready to Cut the Cable?


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37% of young Netflix subscribers aged 25-34 have cut cable for Netflix only, and almost 30% of users between ages 18-24 are using Netflix only vs. cable or satellite. Are people cutting cable for On Demand services? Are you thinking about it? Lamarr is definitely thinking about it – or at least talking about it.

It’s interesting to see so many people getting rid of standard cable connections in favor of services such as Hulu and Netflix. A recent post on Mashable talks about the ways our living rooms are changing. They discuss every option available these days from Boxee to Netflix to Apple TV.

Lamarr happens to be in this “young age bracket.” He hasn’t cut his cable yet, but he did purchase the Roku Box. He is amazed by it – and the fact that Hulu will be coming to the Roku this fall. He’s replacing his standard TV in his living room with Google TV in the near future, as well.

At the end of October, Lamarr is cutting his cable. Are you doing the same?

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Cable Companies vs the Internet: The Future of Consumption

Not long ago, I published a video discussing the possible future of the Internet. I received a lot of feedback on this post (thank you all!) but one email in particular stood out. Max is a community member over on Geeks, and has an interesting theory I wanted to share with all of you. He feels that once the Internet can “catch up” to the speeds and availability that the cable companies now enjoy, we will no longer need or want cable television service at all.

I just watched your video about the future of the Internet and I thought I’d pass on a little prediction I have. I’ve been watching the advance of Internet bandwidth alongside television providers. At this present moment, to the average technologically connected consumer, Internet bandwidth average (about 3-5mbps in the US, much higher in other countries; hmmm? :/) is nowhere near capable of streaming the now standard 1080i/p video content.

Now, I personally loathe cable companies, as they are oppressive monopolies that control our local Internet infrastructure. Aside from my personal emotions toward cable, the facts show Internet is catching up, and cable is slowing down. Slowly, but surely, Internet bandwidth will increase in speed (I’m hoping for sooner – FIBER!!!). Google Fiber is helping to pioneer our next step into the future where those loading bars will be obsolete.

Now here’s the meat of my theory: My personal belief is the day that you and I can turn on a computer and stream multiple 1080p movies off the Internet, cable companies will die. Think about it. What would we need them for anymore? The only reason cable dominates, is because their bandwidth pipe to our cable boxes is orders of magnitude greater than Internet speed. Once Internet catches up to cable bandwidth, their usefulness will vanish.

Now problems lie in between. The cable companies aren’t going to go down without a fight. There should be FCC regulation in place: You can either own the water or the pipe; the content or the cable, but NOT both. Unfortunately, these regulations are grey areas and are put in fluid terms “special regulations governing content owned by providers” and cable companies are purchasing exclusive rights to HD sports and other content and refusing distribution to other providers.

I think cable companies right now are making deals with content providers to give them exclusive rights and not provide Internet content (yes, I’m touching on conspiracy theory but I may be right). To compensate, the Internet content providers of the present are trying to bring in revenue as well. Hulu is now charging for older episodes of content, Apple iTunes Store of course charges, YouTube even plays 30 second commercials before many of their movie trailers and have their own movie rental service.

This wave of free content on the Internet won’t last very long. It only works because it’s low quality and the providers don’t care because it’s not the same experience. But now HD is available, even if it’s not immediate gratification. I think free HD content online is affecting the bottom line of the cable providers, because it’s OH NO… COMPETITION! and they have to strike that down. Although I enjoyed getting movies and TV shows free online, that transition period is beginning to waiver, and I prefer higher quality anyway.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, cable companies won’t be necessary anymore when the Internet can pipe it through at fast enough rates. Unfortunately, that probably won’t be for another 5-10 years, but let’s keep our fingers crossed. In the end we’ll probably have a very similar box connected to the TV, but instead of a cable hook up, it has an Internet connection: Seen this anywhere?…Google TV :). Google seems to be on the forefront of the future of the internet, and I commend them for it. Let’s just hope the providers can cope with the demand when we get there!

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with Max?

Is a Hulu Plus Subscription Worth Paying For?


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Will you become a Hulu Plus subscriber, or will you stick to the Hulu experience you’ve known to this point? If not, why not – and if so, why so? Some people are upset over the way Hulu decided to support the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad – but the other alternative seems just as expensive (either with media ala-carte spending or time spent on converting illegally-attained videos). It certainly works – no doubt about that. If you don’t like what they’re doing, you can vote with your feet – but complaining about it in a YouTube comment probably won’t get you very far.

There are more than thirty currently popular television shows (from ABC, NBC and FOX) available to watch in their current season via Hulu Plus. In addition, you can catch up with hundreds of your favorite shows’ past seasons and episodes. There are more than 120 seasons and 2,000 episodes of rich library content—that’s thousands of hours of entertainment.

You can use your Hulu Plus subscription on several devices – not just your Apple ones. You can use certain Samsung televisions, your Xbox 360 and more. They’re accessible anywhere you can get to your account, so you can watch these easily on the road.

If you do plan on getting a subscription, know that you’re going to sit through commercials. Commercials on Hulu aren’t intrusive in my opinion. Only you can decide if paying for Hulu is worth it to you. It’s definitely worth my money – and time.

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Free Shipping Offer on Slingbox

One of the pieces of hardware that I love the most is my Slingbox. A Slingbox is a device that allows you watch and control your television through the Internet. With the Slingbox Solo, you can easily control one DVR, cable set-top box or satellite receiver. The Slingbox Pro-HD gives you the same great features and ease of use as the Slingbox SOLO with the benefit of multiple inputs, a built-in TV tuner, and a true-to-life HD viewing experience.

I have the app for my iPhone and my iPad. I use it often, whether I’m in my office or traveling somewhere without a cumbersome television handy. I keep up with my favorite shows, no matter where I may be. And let me tell you – the iPad screen works beautifully for this purpose. My shows look better on there than they do on many television sets.

Our friends at Slingbox have decided to set up a special offer for our community. From now until December 31, 2010, you will receive free shipping when you purchase either Slingbox. Simply use the coupon code: slingpirillo when you check out.

3D TV Is…


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3D technology has been around for several years now and has undergone significant changes during that time. Ryan called from the UK asking my thoughts on 3D TV in general, and whether I feel it is a “fad” or not.

I would say that 3D isn’t a fad – it’s a feature that will be over-used in the near future. I expect we’ll see 3D in places that it should never be found. I’m sure that the adult entertainment industry is chomping at the bit. I don’t even want to think about that possibility, seriously. If anything drives technology forward, it’s them. Look at the history of their excessive use of tech that no one else really ever caught on to.

The idea of 3D in the home is long overdue. Having seen various movies in 3D, it was a seamless experience. I would welcome the ability to experience it in the comfort of my own home. It’s tricky because right now, 3D requires too many processes. You need the right signal, the right glasses and the right hardware. There’s too much that can impede the process.

At some point, most of the content distributed online (or from regular TV distribution channels) will cull a groundswell of support for 3D TV. With the proliferation of HD television, we’re still seeing media produced in the plain old format. There is still hardware being produced that doesn’t stack up and give you an HD experience.

It’s going to take awhile before 3D in the home catches on.

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Google TV Thoughts


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Someone in the live chat room asked me last night what my thoughts are about Google TV… bringing the Google experience to your television instead of just the Internet. It makes sense to me, given that Google owns YouTube. They are working with manufacturers to bring the Google TV experience into your homes around the world. Some people compare Apple TV to Google TV, and I don’t feel that’s exactly fair.

Apple has their content locked up in their Universe, much like iTunes itself. Google is more like “HEY! It’s out there, so let’s throw it in here!” It’s a more open approach to deliver content to your doorstep. The more interesting idea to me is Clicker.TV.

If you head over there right now, you’ll see a web experience that runs right within your web browser. You can navigate shows using your keyboard, instead of a mouse. The idea is that you could use a device connected to your television and control your experience without having to use an actual keyboard. What Clicker is doing is aggregating all of these shows you can find across the Internet. It’s an application that doesn’t rely on Flash. It runs off of HTML5, which is more open. Some of the videos themselves may run off of Flash, but not the interface itself. If you’re wondering what a Google TV experience may be like, check this out first. I have a feeling they’re going to be pretty close.

If anything, I think Google TV would compare favorably to Boxee. I expect a lot of development over the coming months (and even years) from Google with this idea, and I have a feeling it’s something that could end up in many of our homes before all is said and done.

What are your thoughts on Google TV, or even Apple TV? Do you feel these types of services are what we will be using in the future, instead of traditional cable or satellite programs?

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The Story of LOST Told by Cats

The people over at Tremendous News are going to miss the popular television show LOST. In case you may have missed out on watching it in the past, the team put together this awesome one-minute video. It purrrfectly describes the entire show, and the whole thing was done with adorable little kitty cats.

If you have been following the show all these years, good for you. Our friend Traci Toguchi played a role on there in season four. I had a fantastic time touring some of the sets in Hawaii, and almost felt as though I was a part of the show. Alas, I admit to not really watching it. I don’t watch a lot of television. Who has time for that these days?

Are you a LOST fan? Does this video come pretty close to resembling the show?

Do You Believe in Aliens?

I spend most of my time attempting to bring friends the latest news, hottest new hardware and software, and the very latest in technology advancements. While it’s true that I post a few humorous things at times, I know that I still need to take time to lighten up. I decided that, tonight, we’d end the week on a slightly more thought-provoking note.

Do you believe in aliens? I’m not talking about illegal immigrants, folks. I’m referring to “intelligent” life on other planets. Extraterrestrials!

How can you say (with certainty) that humans are the only sentient beings in the universe? Isn’t that rather presumptuous?

The question of the day is: do you believe that intelligent life exists in this universe (beyond planet Earth)? Have you ever had a close encounter of the first, second, or third kind? Are you an ET, yourself?

While I’ve never been a witness to any such event, I do believe that “aliens” exist (just as much as I believe that Jesus existed, even though I’ve never met the dude). I also believe we have some intelligent life floating around the Internet:

Is your computer feeling not-so-very-intelligent right now? Smarten ‘er up through the software center before too long.