Amazon Launches Ad Network

Dave Zatz —  August 21, 2014 — 22 Comments

amazon-ads

As a for (gadget) profit entity, we’re often on the lookout for new methods of delivering relevant yet minimally intrusive advertising. And, one effective tool has been Amazon Associates. As Amazon sells just about everything, we can hopefully maintain a certain level of editorial neutrality by spiking the occasional post or tweet with an affiliate link to whatever product we happen to be discussing (and only endorse products worthy of endorsement).

Well, beyond Amazon sales, select Associates have been granted early access to a whole new program of banner advertising - beyond Amazon inventory and paid per impression, versus a sales commission. Continue Reading…

took a super brief look at Roku TV back at CES, but CNET is now out with a more thorough once over as pricing and timing have been revealed. And that pricing is extremely competitive, with the 32″ TCL running a mere $229. While that’s pretty darn good for a 720P smart TV with WiFi, CNET wonders if budget sets from Vizio might provide better picture quality, given local dimming… along with providing their own raft of apps. Of course, no one comes close to Roku’s breadth (even if the vast majority of their 2,000 over-the-top “channels” hold no appeal). Yet, at launch, the Roku TV doesn’t much compel me. In fact, they seemed to have overlooked some very interesting cord cutter interplay. Continue Reading…

Aug 18

Amidst Roku and Fire TV TiVo app chatter, comes word that changes are headed to TiVo’s original (and only) DVR extender – the TiVo Mini.

I’d been hoping for a hardware refresh of perhaps an even smaller form factor, with a more secure power jack, and WiFi to hit RCN’s wishlist (and my kitchen TV). Alas, the only imminent adjustment is in the pricing department. Details remain light, so I’m left to speculate that the $6 monthly service fee will be reduced… or removed. While I’m fairly confident the fee is set to change, it’s not yet clear what will happen to hardware pricing. In a past era, as Replay TV flipped service fees requirements on and off, hardware pricing scaled (as did consumer confusion). So it TiVo were to totally drop the Mini service fees, I could see the little STB itself moving up from $100 to say $180. Continue Reading…

verizon-math

For three of the last four years, I’ve been fortunate to live in markets where there’s choice in Internet and cable. Because where there’s competition, consumers generally see better rates and service. After Cox was unable to effectively support CableCARD in relation to SDV, despite contrary ra-ra reports to the FCC (indicating no complaints), we made our first jump to Verizon FiOS. A year or so later, when we flipped our 1976 house for new construction, we once again had a choice – that time between Comcast and Verizon. And, believe it or not, a deciding factor in choosing Verizon over Comcast was their decision to block HBO GO on Roku.

Fast forward two years, my Verizon agreement is up today. Which both VZ and Comcast must know given the quantity of mailers we’ve received these last couple weeks. 30 days ago, it’d have been a hard decision to make. But Ryan Block’s painful attempt to cancel service and Scott Lewis’ difficulty in getting CableCARD in his TiVo going, in conjunction with Comcast’s continued HBO GO Roku blockade, sealed the deal… despite promises of several hundred-dollar gift cards and the real interesting Xfinity plan (displayed below) of basic cable, Internet, and HBO GO (that I couldn’t actually watch on my preferred streamer). Continue Reading…

By way of the TiVo Community and whispers on the wind, we learn that TiVo intends to launch a new, higher-end DVR at CEDIA early next month… despite laying off their in-house industrial design hardware team. As to what comes after Roamio Plus and Pro, one can only guess. Assuming TiVo even sticks with the cutesy moniker for the custom install crowd, they’ve previously appended both Elite and XL to higher capacity models. First and foremost, that’s exactly what we expecting here. Whereas the Roamio Pro tops out at 3TB, I have reason to believe this incoming model will provide significantly more recording capacity, although it’s not entirely clear if this is accomplished via a single 4-6TB drive OR multiple drives working in concert for outrageous amounts of storage.

Beyond the hard drive bump, might we see 6 more tuners, powered by a second CableCARD, to take on the ridiculous? Signs point to no, but perhaps there are other surprises in store. I know I still miss that old Series 3 OLED display – it just oozed orange coolness (assuming your DVR wasn’t in a cabinet). Not to mention, maybe TiVo’s top unit should ship with learning Slide remote. And we wonder if it’s still too early for 4k. Guess we’ll find out in a few short weeks… What’s on your hardware wishlist?

Samsung acquires SmartThings for a reported $200M