Archives For Deals

The Slingbox 350 Giveaway

Dave Zatz —  October 13, 2013

slingbox-350

The current generation of Slingboxes arrived about one year ago and, now that I’ve finally begun organizing my gadget laboratory, we’re ready to pass along one of our two review units. Besides the questionable aesthetics, what sets apart the Slingbox 350 and 500 from prior models is the ability to stream in true HD and direct integration of IR-blasting capabilities to control your set-top (without the unsightly cable clutter). While we’re temporarily hanging onto the Slingbox 500, given whispers of compelling updates that we intend to cover, the WiFi-less Slingbox 350 is up for grabs and just as capably allows you to placeshift your home television content. And, unlike my TiVo Roamio Pro, the Slingbox supports out-of-home, PC, Mac, and Android streaming… in addition to Apple platforms (although mobile apps run $15/each).

The giveaway is open to Zatz Not Funny Facebook fans located in the US and you can enter using the embedded widget below. Please be aware that we did crack open the enclosure to identify the transcoding chip — proceed accordingly as we will not be held responsible for burning down your house. Good luck! Continue Reading…

Vizio Costar

Despite a rocky launch and Chromecast availability, Google TV soldiers on. And, at $100, the Vizio Costar is the most economical of the bunch. After a number of software updates, including availability of a full-on Amazon Instant app, the Costar warrants a look. Also unique at this price point is Google TV‘s HDMI pass-thru functionality, allowing you to overlay the UI on top of another set-top or the HDTV itself – merging multiple sources onto a single television input. Further, the (bulky) QWERTY remote has an integrated IR blaster to potentially control those other aforementioned content sources. Due to a USPS/FedEx shipping debacle along with kind intervention by Vizio PR, we ultimately ended up with two units. Our pain is your gain and this brand spanking new Vizio Costar is up for grabs to Zatz Not Funny Facebook fans located in the US and you can enter using the embedded widget below. The giveaway ends at midnight tonight (EST), so act fast. Good luck! Continue Reading…

We quite liked the WDTV Play when we reviewed it back in February. The streamer is a step (or three) slower than the Roku and with far fewer apps, but brings several nifty tricks of its own including a fresh, customizable UI with Android-esque widgets. After receiving Sling’s monthly email blast, featuring promotional WDTV Play pricing, and inquiries from a pal maintaining an out-of-state apartment (where his children live) I figured it was time to fire up the SlingPlayer app.

The SlingCatcher may be long gone, but the dream of a television-based Slingbox endpoint lives on…. And the WDTV Play SlingPlayer app works exactly as you’d expect, relaying Slingbox video content from elsewhere in the home or cross-country (as I tested). Interacting with your remote set-top is of course somewhat sluggish and picture quality will vary dependent upon available bandwidth, but that’s the tradeoff for “real” TV Everywhere. One of WDTV Play’s most clever features is the ability to power up the box into a specific app – and I suspect my friend will put that to use as he continues to enjoy his Comcast subscription several states away.

Should you be similarly intrigued, Slingbox or no, the promo knocks $20 off the WDTV Play — click here and use coupon code WDTVPLAY20 to receive the $50 pricing (plus tax and $3 shipping).

vizio-soundbar-tivo

Since dismantling our projector-based home theater in 2005 and embracing something of a nomadic lifestyle, we’ve been sadly lacking in the surround sound department. But, having recently purchased a new home (and new television), we’re finally ready to get a bit more serious with our audio. Yet, I wasn’t motivated to recreate the elaborate config we once sported and have been fixated on soundbar-esque solutions — improved acoustics over the TV’s speakers, yet minimal clutter without fishing wires through the walls.

Of CNET’s top 2013 pics, I went with the (horribly named) Vizio S4251w-B4 for several reasons. Continue Reading…

The Roku LT Giveaway

Dave Zatz —  February 6, 2013

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Roku remains our top choice in the over-the-top streamer category. Yeah, an interface overhaul is long overdue and we could use a few more tent pole channels (such as YouTube or ESPN3), but Roku provides the best bang for the buck in this category. Especially the 720p Roku LT and Roku HD which clock in at a mere $50-$60 bucks. In fact, the Roku LT earned box-of-the-year honors in 2011 and we’ve lost count of how many Rokus we’ve purchased as gifts (often with a Netflix subscription and a suggestion to check out Plex). Well the folks at Roku facilitated an upgrade to a Roku 2 XS for coverage purposes, thus freeing up my Roku LT for a giveaway. And entering is as easy as it gets — simply leave a comment if you want in. (US residents in the lower 48 only, please.) We’ll choose one winner at random in a few days. Good luck!

tivo-zero-down

TiVo’s launched a veritable smorgasbord of promos this month. Perhaps it’s simply a matter of increasing their bottom line and subscriber count during a traditionally soft post-holiday retail season. And additional customers would surely bolster their burgeoning analytics business (and look good for the February earnings call). Or maybe the goal is to reduce inventory ahead of potentially new DVR hardware. Regardless, we can’t recall a time that we’ve seen such a large number of simultaneous deals out of TiVo.

New customers can pick up any Premiere DVR model for $50 off, with service clocking in at $15 a month. Alternatively, one could pick up a refurb 500GB TiVo Premiere for $0 down, with a two year subscription requirement running $20/month. Former subscribers, or those with inactive DVRs, are being encouraged to breathe new life into those mothballed units with Lifetime Service:

As a former TiVo customer, you’re eligible for an exclusive offer: For just $49 you can sign up for a special One-Time Service Extension plan and never pay another cent for TiVo service. Take advantage of this amazing, limited-time offer today!

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Existing Series 2 and Series 3 patrons who haven’t yet made the jump to Premiere can also get in on some action via a number of “upgrade” offers (1, 2, 3), including a 4-tuner TiVo Premiere with Lifetime Service for $550 or dual tuner TiVo Premiere with Lifetime that runs $400. Additionally, as part of the upgrade process, it seems some are still given the opportunity to keep their older unit in service via a $99 PLS.

Nothing catch your fancy? Or maybe you don’t qualify? You should probably ring TiVo up and ask what they can do for you, as one forum member was offered a free accessory of his choosing along with his DVR purchase.

Whether or not any of these deals are compelling is for you to decide. As, frankly, the number of mathematical permutations in play make my head hurt. And who knows when TiVo’s next platform will arrive. Having said that, my knee jerk recommendation would be to instantly grab any Lifetime Service plans offered at $49 or $99.

Add Gift Card To Starbucks App

Dave Zatz —  December 25, 2012 — 22 Comments

starbucks-gift-card

Like many this season, I’ve received a Starbucks gift card. Three to be exact. And instead of bothering with the Starbucks website, I figured there must be some way to add the balance to my existing virtual card/account via the Starbucks iPhone app. Indeed there is…

  • From within the Starbucks app, bring up your current card(s) by tapping “Pay” in the upper right
  • Swipe your screen to the right to reveal the hidden New Card screen on the left

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  • Enter the new Starbucks giftcard number and 8 digit pin, which you may have to scratch off
  • Click “Add” in the upper right and “Cancel” the Passbook prompt

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  • Once presented with the gift card, click “Transfer Balance”
  • Click on the card you’d like to move the funds to
  • Click “Transfer” then confirm the transaction and amount

transfer-starbucks-balance

Optional cleanup…

  • Swipe over to the zero balance card and click “Manage”
  • Click on the small “x” located on the upper left of the card picture
  • Click “Remove Card”