Tune in to Blackfriday.fm

 

This upcoming Black Friday will have many of the large retailers opening at Midnight instead of the early morning. If you would like to get a head start or possibly avoid leaving the family earlier then you need visit http://www.blackfriday.fm/

Blackfriday.fm is a great resource to plan ahead and save yourself time as well as money.

The site has a plethora of information on Black Friday Deals in particular has BlackFriday ads before they have been revealed to the public.

This Black Friday utilize technology to save yourself money and time.

Free Legal Full Length Movies

Here's a treat that many people are not aware of. Youtube the past year or two has increasing been updating the site to support full length movies/documentaries. What many Youtubers do not know is they could watch full length featured movies without the Part 1/10, Part 2/10, etc.

Youtube has a section of Full Length Documentaries and Feature Films. Even a free section which you may view here.

And with a recent announcement that Youtube will feature over 100 original channels in a year or two expect Youtube to replace cable/satellite very soon.

The Next Generation Portable

Have you heard of the Nintendo 3DS? You probably have if you are an avid gamer, but have you heard of the Next Generation Portable by Sony? Today's tip will be more of a brief discussion on my view on both but more on the NGP. Each portable have some feature that stands out. The 3DS promises eye glasses free 3D Gaming, which is the future of 3D TVs (which there are already but priced beyond the consumer level). The NGP actually has two unique additions, it is the successor to the Playstation Portable, two analog sticks and the trackpad on the back. There are other, what I consider upgrades for both portables but I feel the hardware additions bring something new to the table.

 

While the 3DS is really more of the same I feel except now in 3D!!!!!! The NGP will be changing things up and I actually interested in the track pad on the back therefore putting as much available hardware surface to use.

What does this mean for you as a consumer? Well the 3DS presents a cheap effective way, and maybe right way to do eye glass free 3D viewing. Nintendo has yet to release any details about how they are achieving this effect but be sure television makers are taking note. Here's a tip if you already have an HD TV there really is now hurry to acquire a 3D one, there is not enough media taking advantage of anyway.

 

The NGP actually is an example of the directions phones are taking specs wise. The NGP runs on multicore processor and is stated to be almost as powerful as the PS3. By the end of the year, there will be phones that will have enough processing power to compete with some low end netbook/notebooks, so you may want to wait if you can till the summer to upgrade to a new phone - no I am not talking about the Iphone 5- you will not regret it.

 

Ditch the Discs, the Dish, & the Coaxial

[caption id="attachment_2368" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Video on Demand"][/caption] To elaborate on an earlier post regarding hooking up your computer with the TV to watch several forms of media, there may be those whom do not always want to be connecting their computer to their TV to view media. There are solutions that offer several features that will convince you to ditch the discs (DVDs & Blu-Ray) , the satellite dish as well as cable TV (coaxial).

First, I will mention new software that enables the user to instantly discover something to watch online from their couch via a set-top box. Whom is making this software? Google. Yes, this year Google has introduced Google TV which is software that runs specifically on a set-top box (think cable box) but the media is streamed and found online, minimizing the amount of commercials. Let's be honest here, you probably watch more commercials during an entire month than an actual show.

Apple TV is another competitor looking to take a slice of the video on demand market with capabilities to rent and stream shows from iTunes. It will even allow you to use your iPhone or iPod Touch as a remote.

But what if you already have content on a hard drive that you just want to view without turning on your computer. There are several media players out specifically for this such as the Western Digital Media Player, Seagate Freeagent Theater, ASUS O!Play, etc. The aforementioned are probably the top 3 media players on market. Depending on the model you purchase, you could view almost any media format available. In addition, they have HDMI and wireless capabilities. Subsequently, you could just connect your external Harddrive or a regular flash drive and they will automatically identify compatible file formats. At the moment I have not delve into a specific player but I am looking into investing in one. Fortunately, if you get tired of the content that you have, you may connect them to the Internet via an ethernet cable or Wi-Fi and access content from Youtube, Netflix or even Hulu. Although it depends on which respective model you purchase, some have a regular model that plays content from an external HDD while the premium model will enable you to access to online video channels.

Why you should buy one other than the reasons above? The reason is saving money. In the longer term, you will be saving money from ditching services such as satellite TV and cable TV. Why pay for commercials when you could be paying for entertainment.

Because of the growing content available online you may want to ditch the discs and the cable all together. Currently, this is where the market is heading; some have even said Blu-ray may be the last physical media format to be popular amongst consumers as more of them are seeking video on demand services. Unfortunately, I have barely touched the surface, I have not discussed the X-Box 360 and Playstation 3!!

Breathe New Life onto the Old

With services like Hulu, Justin.tv and the infamous Youtube, TV viewing has taken a shift or in other words, almost been completely replaced by computers.  Instead of going out and buying the priciest HD TV out there, why not take that old standard definition (SD) TV and combine it with your forgotten PC desktop or laptop to convert it a decent media server? I promise your grandma won’t differentiate between the two!  If interested, read on! The first order of business would be the computer. Depending on the TV, the computer will need the matching connector to hook up video to the TV. If the TV isn’t too old, it will have a VGA connection. If that is the case, you are in luck. A VGA connector is the same type of connector that monitors most frequently have if not always! Given that luck, it is just matter of connecting them together and you have video.

[caption id="attachment_2347" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="VGA cable, Image by Josh Bancroft"][/caption]

If the TV is a little bit older or smaller, it will most likely have an S-video/ RCA (yellow) video input. Older PC’s might have S-video outputs. If not you will need a converter from VGA to S-video like this one.

Regardless, you now have video from your PC to your TV.

For audio, you have two options:

If you have some old speakers lying around, u can simply plug those in and you are set! If not, check to see if your TV has RCA audio inputs; if so, you can as well buy a mini-Stereo to RCA (red & white)  audio cable like this one

If your TV does not have the RCA audio inputs, you will need to purchase a set of small speakers. A 10$ pair will get the job done.

For cost analysis, in the worse case, you'll spend $5 on the adapters and maybe 15$ on a new set of stereo speakers. If the wires are too short, you will need to simply purchase additional adapters to extend the wires; of course, it is assumed the computer will be near in proximity to the TV.

[caption id="attachment_2353" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="One way to extend the RCA audio cable, Image by CHCOOBOO"][/caption]

You can now watch Internet videos through your TV. The only downside is that the text will be blurry, unless you bump up the DPI. Once set up, browse to your preferred video provider, set to full screen and enjoy!

Turn Your PC into a TV

Do you have a nice monitor with your desktop or perhaps you are a college student on budget and can't afford a television set? The answer is to purchase a TV tuner. Most TV tuners are USB powered  and support both Windows and Mac OSX, so connectivity should not be an issue. While the set-up varies for each individual device and brand, they are all essentially the same! I found it easiest and most efficient using Windows Media Center (MCE) under Windows 7. I own a Pinnacle PCTV HD 800E. I had given up on it about two years ago as the device only worked with the packaged software from Pinnacle and not MCE. It just happened that one day, I was so amazed by Windows 7, that I gave it a shot and it worked like a charm! The TV tuner at that time was about 80$ on sale, nowadays one can find a decent one for 60$. If you are interested in purchasing one, you should first do the following:

  • Look up reviews for your tuner of interest
  • Possible connections (coaxial,RCA, etc)
  • HD capabilities (most are, future-proof)
  • Does your system meet the recommended requirements?

Dont Know What to YouTube Search?

Well, you can try the newly revealed YouTube Leanback. It serves as a great help in having to search on what good videos to search for. Just simply select your interests and YouTube will do its job for you. As soon as you open the page, it will automatically load videos in your interests. This avoids all the searching stuff and typing things. It is as easy as watching TV. Thats how easy it is to use this new website called YouTube Leanback.

World Cup 2010 Streaming Options

With FIFA's 2010 World Cup well under way, there might be a few of you out there that can't watch the matches. But if you have any form of high-speed internet, then you can just view the matches live on your computer. Tom Harrison has a post up on Lifehacker that contains a variety of sites that can stream matches to you. Like the post says, some services might be region blocked and will not allow users from certain areas to view while other services like ESPN3 (formerlly ESPN360) are paid services that the user pays through their Internet Service Provider. Go ahead and check out the post to see which ones work for you. Now those are the legal (and most likely the best quality) ways to view the match, but there are even more options. ustream and Justin.tv are known sites that offer un-authorized streams of various sports, ranging from the NBA to the World Cup. You can search for the specific match you want and there will be a variety of streams available. For the most part, some are of really poor quality or don't even work at all but you might get lucky and find one that works.

There are also people have their own blog/site dedicated to hosting their own streams. You can find these using Google. Just use "high quality world cup streaming" or a variety of other keywords. You can also just Google "lets-kickoff". *wink wink nudge nudge*

If you have any other sites or services that you know of, let me know in the comments and I'll add them on here.

Where to Watch World Cup Soccer Streaming Live [Lifehacker]

Online TV with HULU? or Have you heard of Clicker.tv

Our lives are transitioning online and are becoming more connected. I personally do not watch TV.  I early discovered HULU. HULU is a service that has TV shows online. I no longer sit on a couch and watch TV. I sit in front of a computer to watch shows.  If you are familiar with HULU  a competitor has emerged. Clicker.tv has launched and is a pretty nifty service. Take advantage as out technology advances.

Bypass the trailers to get straight to the movie

We all have tried to skip those nasty trailers and FBI warnings on DVDs THAT we buy. Those DVDs we spend money on still contain commercial and treat us like pirates. When pirates do not even see these commercials because they just rip the movie. There is a legal way to pass through all those pesky trailers. Grab your DVD remote control and press Stop>Stop> Play when the trailers start  and you should jump right to the DVD menu.  Done! You can be watching your movie with peace. Results may very depending on your DVD player. Leave a comment to tell me how it worked for you.

Difficulty Level: Easy