Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Look at DirecTV Now

We recently updated our online streaming services page to include information about DirecTV Now.

DirecTV Now is AT&T's entry into the live streaming market. As you can tell, it's the streaming version of DirecTV, which is owned by AT&T. It joins Sony's PlayStation Vue service and DISH Network's Sling TV service as the streaming version of cable/satellite services.

Just like Sling TV and PlayStation Vue, you can't really choose the channels you want. Rather, you pick the plan you want, much as you do today from a cable or satellite provider. That means that those wanting true a la carte options, are going to be disappointed. However, we do think it's a step in the right direction.

Why? Today, with cable or satellite, you are locked in to a contract and, depending on your location, may not have many options if you are dissatisfied. With these streaming services, you are month-to-month and can change at any time.

Monday, January 9, 2017

A Look at the New Roku Devices

It's been a few months since the new Roku devices were released. While we haven't had the opportunity to try all the new devices, we have used a few of them. We're not overwhelmed, but we aren't terribly disappointed, either.

The new Roku devices can be grouped into three basic categories: the beginner devices, the high-end devices, and the stick.

The one that impressed us the most is actually the beginner devices: Roku Express and Roku Express+

Friday, September 30, 2016

Hellloooo... Roku!

New Roku devices have been announced. They won't actually be available until October, so we haven't had the opportunity to use them.

It looks like a good lineup refresh. The lineup that's being replaced has been around since 2013. Yes, there have been minor refreshes to the lineup since then, but they were mostly 2013-era boxes. This changes.

They've actually expanded the lineup. The Roku 1 will be replaced with two devices: Roku Express and Roku Express + (or Express Plus). The Roku 2 is replaced with the Roku Premiere, while the Roku 3 is replaced by the Roku Premiere + (or Premiere Plus). The Roku 4 is replaced by the Roku Ultra. The Streaming Stick was refreshed earlier this year and hasn't changed, from what I can tell.

I've noticed some things I like and some things I don't like. However, until I get my hands on them, it'll be hard to determine if my initial impression is correct. We'll wait and see.

In the meantime, we'll patiently wait for the devices to begin appearing on the shelves.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Goodbye, Apple TV (3rd Generation)

Apple TV 3rd Generation
There has been no official word that we've seen from Apple, but the third-generation Apple TV has been removed from Apple's Website. The device can still be found in retail stores such as Best Buy, Walmart, Target, and others.

The third generation device was originally released in early 2012, and received a hardware refresh the next year.

When the new Apple TV (4th generation) device was released in late 2015, Apple didn't discontinued the older device, but dropped the price of the 3rd generation Apple TV from $99 to $69.

No one is really surprised by this move. I was actually surprised -- and pleased -- that when Apple kept the 3rd generation device in its inventory after the 4th generation device was released. Although the newer device has the ability to add apps and games, and includes Siri search support, the 3rd generation Apple TV was a reliable workhorse for years. I'm sad, but not surprised, to see it finally go.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

PlayStation Vue now on Roku

The Sony streaming service PlayStation Vue has expanded to include Roku among its supported platforms. The most-used streamer was absent from Sony's launch of PlayStation Vue. Previously, the only top streaming devices that supported PlayStation Vue were Amazon's Fire TV (and Fire TV Stick) and Google's Chromecast. Sony's PlayStation Blog made the announcement:
We are happy to share that PlayStation Vue is expanding to Roku devices today, with support for Android smartphones and tablets launching next week. Since we’ve launched PlayStation Vue nationwide, we have heard from many of you that Roku and Android are the top devices you wanted us to add, so we’re pleased to make this a reality.

PlayStation Vue will be available on Roku Streaming Stick, Roku Streaming players, and Roku TV. If you already have an account, just download PlayStation Vue on your Roku device and start streaming.

For more about PlayStation Vue and how it compares to other streaming services, check out our Streaming Services page.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Goodbye, Nexus Player

Google Nexus Player
On May 24, 2016, The Verge reported that Google has confirmed the discontinuation of the Nexus Player.
The hockey puck-shaped device, manufactured by Asus, has been unavailable from major third-party retailers like Best Buy for months. And after a brief Google Store restock in early April (probably to get rid of the last units), Google has now pulled the Nexus Player's store listing entirely.
The Nexus Player was the set-top box to the Chromecast stick. Google is now going all-in on the Chromecast technology.
(E)lectronics manufacturers like Vizio have chosen Google Cast (the underlying platform that makes Chromecast work) instead of Android TV. It's a decision that gives their products a more simplistic interface while retaining the ability to stream content from popular apps. Android TV is a much fuller offering — not unlike a Roku — with built-in apps, voice search, and even access to the Google Play Store for more software options.
We have updated the Website to remove information about the Nexus Player.

A lot of people used the Nexus Player, but so many more use the Chromecast. The different technologies involved between the two devices hurt, I'm sure. In the long run, this may be the best decision for Google. Of course, Google thinks so, or the company wouldn't have made the decision.

If you have a Nexus Player, continue to enjoy it. There's no reason to make a change. If you were thinking about getting one, we're suggesting that you don't. You may find some discontinued at a good price, but investing in current devices is often a better decision.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Are You Ready For This?

You're here because you either missed that left turn at Albuquerque, or you're interest in cutting the cord. You have come to the right place. Unless you are actually looking for Coachella Valley and the big carrot festival therein.

We'll be using a blog format to answer questions and discuss all things streaming. If you have a question you'd like answered or a topic you'd like to discuss, use our Questions And Feedback form. Of course, we well have comments open on the various blog posts.

Our goal is to help you get the information you need to make the best decision about cutting the cord. It may be that you don't need to cut the cord, and that's a good thing. It means you already have the best option for  you. But, if you find you can save money and enjoy your television entertainment options even more, then we've accomplished our goal.

We look forward to hearing about your experiences.