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.
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?
Trying to organize and use all of the content on your iPad can be a nightmare. You may need to buy different apps to open, read or consume different types of media and files. This could potentially cost you quite a chunk of change – and give you one massive headache. Your iPad stores documents, PDF files, music, eBooks, images and – well – I’m not sure if I want to know what else you have on that thing. The point is, there are an ungodly number of different types of files to be organized and opened. This is where Zen Viewer HD will come in handy.
This app is a little powerhouse. It will unify your content into one place – read, watch, store, organize, protect and record your audio. View PDF files, documents, images. Listen to your music. Watch your videos and movies. The Zen Viewer HD allows you to do ALL of these things. Heck, you can even change the skin of the app itself if you don’t like the way it looks out of the box.
The Zen Viewer puts you in control of your files. Rename, compress, email and password protect your files and folders with a click of the button within the app. Why not download owner’s manuals or user guides for your favorite products and save them on your iPad? Forget searching for hard copies that you likely threw in the garbage at some point in time. Free up the space in your file cabinet – or get rid of the dang thing completely. Keep everything on your iPad – and then manage it with Zen Viewer.
Did you know that this little app can manage:
- Document Formats – pdf, epub, rtf, txt, csv, doc, docx, xls, xlsx, ppt, pptx, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, vcf, htm, html, xml, cbr and cbz.
- Image Formats – jpeg, gif, bmp, png, tif, cr2, nef, ico, cur and xbm.
- Audio Formats – m4a, mp3, wav, aiff, aac and caf
- Video Formats – mov, mp4, m4v, m-jpg
That is one heck of a lot of variation and choices. There are also a few special features you’ll be interested in:
- Enhanced file searching – Browse through your libraries and files using any of several different preset features. Choose your preset type by file extension or genre.
- Easy File Transfers – Transfer through iTunes, certain web sites, WiFi and servers.
- Resize your library – Need more room in your library? This is the app for that!
- Compress or decompress your content – Zip or unzip your files and folders for easier storage or transferring.
Are you convinced yet? Great! If you would like to win a copy of Zen Viewer HD, you will need to enter today – Monday, March 14th, 2011, before 11:59pm PST. All you have to do is click that cute little Twitter button at the bottom of the post, and you’re automatically entered. Five people will be chosen at random to win a copy of their very own tomorrow, March 15th, 2011.
How do you manage files on your iPad?
It’s no secret that no matter what platform you are using, there will be rude commenters. With this new giveaway, we decided to reward those of you who do NOT fall into this category!
You could get this Lenovo ThinkCentre M75e desktop computer and 2 ThinkVision L1951p monitors. To qualify, all you need to do is say something nice in the comments section for the video. Be sure to leave your comment on YouTube itself – not here on the blog.
Kelly will pick her favorite nice comment and award the lucky person the computer. Deadline for sharing your comment is Midnight 18 February 2011.