Archives For Apple

Cyber Monday Streaming Deals

Dave Zatz —  November 26, 2012 — 12 Comments

streaming-boxes

Ah yes, it’s that time of year again where we give thanks for deeply discounted gear. Fortunately, Cyber Monday online sales provide relief from the Black Friday mall riots and we’ve spotted bargains on some of our favorite streaming boxes.

Roku HD
Roku, one of our perennial favorites in this category, sees a $10-$20 discount across its line. Despite a much-needed UI refresh and lack of YouTube, Roku retains the broadest selection of streaming content  -including staples such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Pandora. I’d say the best bang for the buck is the Roku HD, which caps out at 720p but clocks in at a mere $40. For comparison, the competing Apple TV runs $99 and adding streaming services to an Xbox runs $60/year.

Refurbished Apple TV
Let’s say you’re deep into Apple’s ecosystem and would appreciate streaming your iTunes collection and beaming content from your iPhone to your television. And maybe you’d like one of the more polished appearing interfaces and YouTube to go along with Netflix and movie rentals. Well, the refurbished 1080p Apple TV is 15% off list at $85. Gifting a refurb might be a bit tacky, despite Apple’s full warranty and pristine hardware, so this would be best for close relatives… or yourself. Continue Reading…

tivo-app-video2

TiVo’s fine iOS app has just been updated to version 2.1, bringing support to the new resolution Apple introduced with the iPhone 5. While I generally find content weirdly elongated on the 16×9 display, widescreen television video is a perfect fit – and those with the TiVo Stream are the prime beneficiaries. Having said that, all TiVo Premiere subscribers can make use of the additional screen real estate when perusing the guide or reordering Season Passes.  Continue Reading…

netgear-neotv-max2

Another week, another streamer? A year after introducing their Roku competitor, Netgear expands the NeoTV streaming line with “Pro” and “Max” models. And, as we’re wont to do, we picked up Netgear’s latest. Similar in form factor to that aforementioned Roku, I was prepared to dislike the NeoTV MAX ($60-70) given it’s sluggish response and pixelated fonts… as seen from many sub $100 streamers. However, a recent update has sped up the UI to mostly acceptable levels and Netgear offers a few compelling features versus the competing Apple TV and Roku devices.

The most obvious enhancement is the bundled QWERTY remote… which looks positively svelte next to Gigantor the Vizio Costar equivalent. However, it’s obnoxiously encumbered by “the bullshit buttons” — presumably paid placements, by the likes of Best Buy’s CinemaNow, that you’re bound to hit at inopportune times.

netgear-neotv-max4

Also on the value-add list is integrated Intel WiDi reception capabilities. Much like Apple’s Airplay, WiDi allows you to beam content from specific Intel-powered laptops to your television screen. Related, unlike Apple TV or Roku, NeoTV can also receive content via DLNA network resources.

On the appearance front, Netgear’s interface exceeds Roku’s simplistic approach. Although many of the NeoTV apps are really just aggregated feeds powered by Flingo. But, hey, at least they provide YouTube — still missing from Roku devices, along with a promised UI revision.

netgear-neotv-max1

Thus far, we’d say the 1080p Netgear NeoTV MAX is a solid and promising streaming player at a competitive price given the broad channel selection, including Vudu and Netflix, QWERTY remote, and integrated Ethernet (as we’re somewhat disappointed that Netgear chose to forgo dual band 802.11n wireless capabilities). Yet, while the space continues to expand, we find ourselves somewhat uninspired given overlapping features and lack of innovation compared to say the mobile industry.

A bird in the hand…

Dave Zatz —  October 23, 2012 — 21 Comments

Right on schedule, Apple unveiled the iPad Mini ($329). And, I suppose, there’s really not much to say. It’s a smaller iPad. Or, maybe, a larger iPhone. With a lesser DPI than either. But thinner than my recently returned Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. Brian Lam, of The Wirecutter, was hopeful that folks attending Apple’s event might go beyond the press release verbiage in their coverage… to which PC Mag‘s Sascha Segan responded with allusions to the inevitable “in the hand” descriptions. My colleagues were only happy to oblige with nearly universal iPad Mini hand praise:

Continue Reading…

Thanks to our pal Khaled, we’re back with several unannounced Logitech goodies on tap this fall. While they’re probably not as unique as the WiFi webcam broadcaster, solid computing accessories are a necessity. And I’ve long been a proponent of Logitech’s keyboard and mouse solutions.

Touch Mouse (T620)
The Touch Mice are slated to arrive in both black and white and will retail for $69 according to B&H Photo. While there’s no description, one can assume that the touch mouse is, er, a touch mouse – and the logical successor to the M600. It’s my understanding this may be a PC model, whereas the Mac model will go by T631.

Zone Mouse (T400)
Unlike the Touch Mouse that is presumably covered by a responsive surface, the Logitech Zone Mouse  looks to have a very specific touch sensitive zone. And while I generally appreciate shiny things, I much prefer the T400′s black matte styling over the T620. MacMall has this one at $62.

Rechargeable Touchpad (T651)
The Bluetooth touchpad above looks to replicate what Apple offers. But as opposed to replacing those Duracels every few months, Logitech integrated rechargeable battery. Not to mention this is cross platform. MacMall has it listed for $94, but we’ve seen it as high as $110… and assume it’ll land somewhere in the middle upon release.

logitech-mac-webcam3

It’s been some time since Logitech has produced dedicated Mac video conferencing solutions. While several recent cameras actually work on Mac OS X, it happens via universal driver and they don’t leverage any of the Logitech value add… which I discovered the hard way when trying to repurpose the Google TV Revue camera. However, based on this unannounced Logitech Wireless Webcam For Mac ($180) spotted at B&H Photo, Logitech’s ready to take on the Mountain Lion. Of course, as most Macs incorporate a decent Facetime camera, Logitech’s offering should up the ante — so one would assume both higher quality video and video. Not to mention what looks like a rechargeable battery and wireless capabilities along with some sort of status indicator. Hm! As Engadget’s Richard Lawler said, “’tis the season” for interesting product leaks…

(Thanks Khaled!)

By now, I’m rather certain you’ve heard that Apple’s replacement maps aren’t living up to some customer’s expectations. While there has been all sorts of rumor and speculation as to why the change was made, as a consumer, it’s mostly noise (from the apologists). The bottom line for many iPhone owners is that Google Maps have been replaced by Apple Maps. And while, at first blush, they sounded superior with flyover 3D renderings and turn-by-turn nav (finally! on some models…), in many geographic areas the data leaves much to be desired. For example, as you can see above, Apple believes I live in a beige patch of nothingness whereas Google has a relatively decent picture of my neighborhood. Yet, I’m not often lost in our community and had good luck doing some minor Apple Maps navigation in the big city. So I’m wondering, on a practical level, how bad are these new Apple maps… and has it impacted you? Continue Reading…