Connect with us

General

The Best Streaming Media Device: Roku, Chromecast, or Amazon Fire

Advertisement
€226,19 * Neues Produkt Holybro Shuriken 180 Pro (Race32 F3 32-Bit Flight Controller • 5,8GHz, 25/600mw umschaltbar, 40 Kanäle • Integrierte PDB mit Fiberglas-verstärkte Kühlkörper Bodenplatte)

Let’s be frank: there is probably too much stuff plugged into your TV. A few companies are looking to declutter your media center by selling you an all-inclusive media streaming device with a tiny footprint that plugs right into your screen. Two popular media streaming devices are the Google Chromecast (3rd Generation) and the Roku Streaming Stick, but a few new competitors have joined the fray for your entertainment needs.

Roku has the experience coming into the fight; the company has been in the streaming business since 2008, starting with set-top boxes and introducing the first Roku Stick in 2012. Google followed suit with the Chromecast in 2013. Amazon, the internet bookseller turned one-stop shop for pretty much everything, is also making moves in the streaming media space with its Fire TV Stick. Their hardware initiatives have been uneven, but with a push for streaming video, it only made sense for them to try and carve out a chunk of the TV market.

Photo Credit: Roku

The truth is nobody really cares who makes the things that put content on their televisions, as long as the content gets there in the highest quality with as little effort as possible. Ultimately, what matters are the apps and services that come with the hardware, as well as how easy those apps and services are to use for binge-watching sessions. Comparing Amazon, Chromecast, or Roku streaming media devices really comes down to how you use your television, and what apps deliver the content you want.

Under the Hood

Roku Streaming Stick

[embedded content]

The Roku Streaming Stick comes with a minimal remote that’s basically just arrow keys and a few media streaming service shortcuts including Hulu and Netflix, but you can use the Roku app for iOS and Android so your phone or tablet can be used to surf channels instead. The Roku Streaming Stick is by far the simplest choice on this list, for better or for worse. Your home screen can quickly fill up with channels if you consume a lot of media, and filtering and sorting can be annoying. Not every app follows the same design guidelines, so the experience from service to service can be uneven.

Services like Netflix allow you to go to a website and punch in a short code to authorize the device to your account, while others force you to navigate an on-screen keyboard to log in and start watching. Once you’ve logged in, the Roku Streaming Stick remembers your account details so you shouldn’t have to repeat the process. Plus, you can use your voice to search for your favorite movies and TV shows. The Roku Streaming Stick is available to purchase on Amazon.com.

Google Chromecast (3rd Generation)

[embedded content]

Google’s Chromecast (3rd Generation) works a little differently. The dongle doesn’t store any account information because it doesn’t directly connect to streaming services initially. Instead, when you connect a Chromecast you set it up through a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. That device then hooks up the service and the TV.

That means you need to have whatever streaming app — Netflix, Hulu, Google Play, and so on — installed on that particular device. Once your media is playing, just tap the Chromecast button in the app to switch the stream to your television.

Whatever device you used to start the stream now becomes the remote, which you can use for pausing, volume control, and whatever else. The Chromecast function works exactly the same in every app, so if you’ve done it once you’re already an expert. You will need a Google Home device to activate voice commands, however, it’s worth it if you want to have an easy binge-watching session. Head over to Amazon.com or Walmart.com to buy the Chromecast (3rd Generation).

Amazon Fire TV Stick

[embedded content]

The Amazon Fire TV Stick tends more towards the Roku side of the fence with its dedicated remote, although it offers a few innovative features. The latest model works with an optional remote that listens to voice commands (much like the Echo unit does). Although it supports pretty much all of the same streaming apps that Roku does, the Fire Stick naturally puts Amazon Instant Video front and center. A separate Bluetooth-enabled remote rounds out the package. The Amazon Fire TV Stick can be purchased at Amazon.com.

What’s on the Screen?

Photo Credit: Roku

Roku is by far the winner in terms of sheer volume of content. The service supports thousands of channels, from the big names like Netflix and Hulu down to niche services like The Monster Channel. The system’s search functionality is also extremely well-tuned, letting you hunt down your desired content no matter where it might live.

Photo Credit: Google

Chromecast started out with a fairly limited array of apps that it would play nice with, but that number has increased considerably. The real selling point here is the ability to “mirror” content from your devices directly on your TV screen. Even software that doesn’t have dedicated Chromecast streaming can be pushed to the device — games, websites, and so on. This can be pretty cool.

Amazon Fire Stick

Photo Credit: Amazon

Amazon’s offerings are slightly less diverse than Roku’s, but the service still boasts all of the big players in the streaming space. However, the device is tuned to prioritize Amazon Instant Video, which can be a good thing or a bad thing. Like the Chromecast, the Fire Stick can also be used to mirror device screens, but only phones and tablets.

The Final Decision

Photo Credit: Amazon

At the end of the day, it’s between Roku Streaming Stick and the Amazon Fire TV Stick. Although the Chromecast (3rd Generation) is the least expensive option on the table, it’s significantly less user-friendly and requires another piece of hardware.

Which one is right for you? It depends on how tech-savvy you are. The Roku Streaming Stick is a great unit for those new to streaming media devices. The remote is durable, the user interface is time-tested, and the content is robust and easy to search. The Amazon Fire Stick is more cutting-edge and has better performance, but it’s more cluttered and has less content overall.

Our final judgment: the Amazon Fire Stick is the Geek pick for best low-profile streaming device. If you can get past the intense focus on Amazon itself (and paying for Instant Video), it has the best mix of features and by far the more powerful hardware. Failing that, grab a Roku.

Streaming Extras to Consider

Photo Credit: Amazon

You should also keep in mind that as sticks, all of these devices are limited. It’s tough to beat the streaming content they can provide in such small, hidden form factors, and we think they’re enough for most people. However, if you’re willing to upgrade to a bigger, more expensive streaming box, you will get a little more.

Streaming boxes like Amazon Fire TV and Roku Premiere+ are faster than their stick counterparts and have more features, like 4K streaming. Meanwhile, the Apple TV is a great way to access Apple’s impressive, curated ecosystem on your television, and has recently announced its own 4K, HDR model. The Nvidia Shield TV is an Android streaming box with an emphasis on gaming. Or you could just get a full-fledged video game console, like a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, since they all also offer media streaming now.

Your streaming journey doesn’t have to end with these devices, though. There are a wide range of products and services that interact with the Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku Streaming Stick, Chromecast (3rd Generation), and others to cut the cord and put the exact content you want on whatever screen you want. Here are some of our favorite streaming TV services and why. Keep checking back for new additions.

DirecTV Now is live TV powered purely by the internet. You have to buy channels in bulk and still deal with commercials, but in return you get the real live TV experience delivered through streaming. (3 out of 4 stars)

Slingbox is more of a utility than a streaming service. But it’s a really convenient utility. If you’re already paying for live TV you can hook up a Slingbox and access that same TV content wherever there’s an internet connection.

Photo Credit: Crunchyroll

Crunchyroll is the definitive anime streaming service. Subs>>>Dubs. (3.5 stars out of 4. Geek Pick)

CuriosityStream has a nearly endless supply of educational shows and documentaries on everything from nature to technology to culture. Learn something! (3.5 stars out of 4)

Boomerang is a solid source of retro cartoons like Looney Tunes or Scooby-Doo. It may not mesh as well with kids’ modern tastes, but it’s a nifty animation time capsule. (3 stars out of 4)

FuboTV is the escape from cable that sports fans are looking for. It’s pricey, but being able to easily stream live sports and more from dozens of channels with only one subscription might very well be worth it. (3 stars out of 4)

Brown Sugar has all of the classic Blaxploitation movies you could want and then some. It’s niche, but it’s one of the most impressive niche libraries we’ve seen. (3.5 stars out of 4)

FilmStruck is for the true cinephile. Its library collects classic films from all eras and countries, including Criterion Collection movies. (3.5 stars out of 4)

More on Geek.com:

1.

Netflix / Hulu / HBO Go Accounts

So many streaming TV services to choose from. Where do you start?

2.

Netflix is still arguably the biggest name in streaming TV.

3.

Hulu trial screen

Although it no longer has a free option, Hulu is a great streaming TV service that is worth paying for.

4.

From buying to renting to subscribing to individual channels, Amazon offers a bevy of streaming TV options.

5.

YouTube Red subscribers can watch original shows from streaming stars, but YouTube TV lets you watch actual live TV.

6.

Hook up a Slingbox and watch the cable and live TV you’re already paying for anywhere.

7.

You have to buy channels in bulk and still deal with commercials, but with DirecTV Now you get the real live TV experience delivered through streaming.

8.

Crunchyroll is the best anime streaming service if you’re all about subtitles.

9.

If dubs are more your thing, Funimation Now is the anime streaming service for you.

10.

If you want to stream shows and documentaries that actually teach you something, go with CuriosityStream.

11.

AMC Premiere just focuses on current AMC shows, but for Walking Dead super fans that might be enough.

12.

With Boomerang, tons of retro cartoons, from Looney Tunes to Scooby-Doo, can all come back to you

13.

FuboTV may be the escape from cable that sports fans are looking for. It’s pricey, but being able to easily stream live sports and more from dozens of channels with only one subscription might very well be worth it.

14.

Brown Sugar has all of the classic Blaxploitation movies you could want and then some. It’s niche, but it’s one of the most impressive niche libraries we’ve seen.

15.

For the true cinephile, FilmStruck has a large collection of classic films from all eras and countries, including movies from the Criterion Collection.

16.

CollegeHumor’s Dropout provides premium streaming online laughs.

17.

DC Universe offers live-action adaptations of less familiar superheroes, like Doom Patrol.

18.

Along with presenting streaming services like Netflix and Sling through one box, Dish AirTV also lets you watch local over-the-air channels with an additional installation.

19.

Get a streaming media device to enjoy these services on your TV. Our favorite is the Amazon Fire Stick.

20.

SOURCE

Advertisement
Samsung J7 V just $5 mo. New device payment purchase req'd. Plus, free shipping.
Get Free Mounting, Balancing, and Shipping on qualifying wheels and tires from 4WheelOnline.com!

General

You’ll Need Very Deep Pockets to Book Airbnb Luxe Accommodation

Advertisement
Code: VZWDEAL. Enter this coupon code at checkout to get $100 discount on Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Includes free shipping. Restrictions may apply. Device payment purchase required.

Always dreamt of spending a night in a French castle or Tuscan villa? Airbnb’s got you covered.

The lodging service this week introduced Luxe: a new rental tier aimed at people with cash to burn: lavish accommodations cost more than $1,000 per night*.

Boasting homes that are “destinations in themselves,” Airbnb has offerings for every type of one-percenter:

Literary fans may seek inspiration (and beachfront views) at The Fleming Villa in Jamaica, where Ian Fleming wrote his famous spy novels. Introverts, meanwhile, can plan the ideal vacation by booking an entire island (with its own self-declared time zone) in French Polynesia.

“Airbnb Luxe provides access to unique and spectacular properties with dedicated trip designers to ensure bespoke experiences and services to make every stay truly magical,” the company wrote in an announcement.

The new platform—based on the “deep expertise” Airbnb gained from its 2017 acquisition of Luxury Retreats—launches with more than 2,000 handpicked homes around the world.

Each dwelling must pass meet 300-plus criteria in design and function: everything from premium materials and rare features to group spaces, chef-grade appliances, and “the proper amount of bathrooms corresponding to each bedroom.”

The medieval farm-to-table experience of Castello di Vicarello in Tuscany, the eco-friendly design of Te Kahu in New Zealand, and the chef, driver, and butler services that come with Grace Bay Residences in Turks and Caicos don’t hurt, either.

Each Airbnb Luxe booking promises 24/7 access to a trip designer—a sort of personal travel agent—who will ensure the stay is tailored to your needs (including arranging childcare, private chefs, in-house massage therapists, and, for the truly dedicated, personal training sessions in a private gym).

“Today’s luxury traveler is craving more than just high-end accommodations,” Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky said in a statement. “They seek transformation and experiences that leave them feeling more connected to each other and to their destination.”

As impossibly out-of-reach these Caribbean islands and ski chalets seem to most people, there appears to be a real market for luxury properties and experiences.

In 2018, the number of Airbnb booking for listings worth at least $1,000 per night increased more than 60 percent (to what number, it isn’t clear).

The hospitality firm recently announced a new Adventures program, which offers extraordinary experiences like the chance to travel around the world in 80 days, track lions on foot in Kenya, and hunt for UFOs in Arizona. Perhaps a six-day Galapagos Slow Food Safari or camping on a Colorado cliff is more your style.

Ranging in price from $79 for an overnight trip to $5,000 for a 10-day trek, adventures are led by local experts and meet certain quality and safety standards.

* Much, much, much more

More on Geek.com:

SOURCE

Advertisement
Enjoy extra baggage allowance to the US, Europe and Australia Baggage allowance is valid for tickets on sale until 31 March 2018. Baggage allowance is valid for outbound travel until 31 March 2018. This offer is not applicable on special fares. Valid for students between 17 and 37 years of ag
The deal applies to all items. additional coupons available after signing up.
Continue Reading

Deals

Amazon Prime Day 2019 Promises 48 Hours of Deals

Advertisement
Click this link to get $200 discount on iPad. Includes free shipping. Restrictions may apply.

Next month’s Amazon Prime Day 2019 will be a two-day parade of deals.

The annual sale kicks off at midnight PT on Monday, July 15, and—for the first time ever—runs for a full 48 hours.

Subscribers have two days to shop more than 1 million deals, including limited-time offers and exclusive launches. (I am most looking forward to stocking up on discounted Alexa-enabled devices.)

“Get ready, as we pull back the curtain to reveal exclusive products, special performances, and two full days of phenomenal deals this Prime Day,” Jeff Wilke, CEO of worldwide consumer at Amazon, said in a statement.

Mark-downs apply to Prime members the world over: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, the United Arab Emirates (new this year), the UK, and the US.

To participate, sign up online to join Prime or start a 30-day free trial.

“Our vision is that Prime Day should be the absolute best time to be a member,” Wilke said. “When you can enjoy shopping, savings, entertainment, and some of the best deals Prime members have ever seen.”

[embedded content]

Whether you brazenly browse on the office computer, hide your habits in a bathroom stall, or take a “sick day” to stay home and spend money, Amazon encourages buyers to remain alert.

You don’t have to wait three weeks for the deals roll in, though.

Starting today, Prime members can save $120 on a Toshiba HD 43-inch Fire TV Edition Smart TV—now only $179.99 (through June 30, or while supplies last).

Also available now: Alexa-compatible Jabra Elite85h wireless headphones with SmartSound and the iOttie Easy One Touch Connect smartphone car mount.

Plus, members can gear up for Prime Day in-home deliveries with 40 percent off the Key for Garage myQ Smart Garage Hub + Amazon Cloud Cam (Key Edition) kit, on sale for the reasonable price of $99.98.

As part of the company’s 20th anniversary, Amazon launched Prime Day in 2015, hoping to entice buyers with discount prices on a scale you’d expect to see only on Black Friday.

The inaugural event—a mix of “Deals of the Day” and “Lightning Deals”—lasted 24 hours. Prime Day 2017 boasted 30 hours of deals for techies, beauty fans, gamers, kids, home chefs, bookworms, fitness buffs, DIYers, sports enthusiasts, and other stereotypes.

Last year, Prime members had a record 36 hours to shop.

At this rate, the 2024 affair will last all week.

“Stay tuned as we reveal exclusive savings at Whole Foods Market, thousands of new product launches, as well as world-class entertainment and more, leading up to Prime Day,” Wilke said.

More on Geek.com:

SOURCE

Advertisement
Click this link to get the Moto Z2 Force for just $31.50/month. Unlimited and device payment activation required. Includes free shipping. Restrictions may apply.
tj maxx delivers great value on everchanging selections of brand name and designer fashions at prices generally 2060 below department and specialty store regular prices on comparable merchandise every day new products are added daily ongoing customer promotions include free shipping on orders over 8
Continue Reading

General

Google Wants to Teach Kids About Phishing, Fake News

Advertisement
Code: VZWDEAL. Enter this coupon code at checkout to get $100 discount on Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Includes free shipping. Restrictions may apply. Device payment purchase required.

When I was a kid, the only computer literacy I learned was Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing.

Fast forward 25 years, and there is a whole online world children must learn to navigate.

Thankfully, Google is here to help.

The company in 2017 introduced its “Be Internet Awesome” curriculum to teach young people the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety.

Now it’s launching six new activities designed to aid kids in analyzing and evaluating online media.

Developed in partnership with the Net Safety Collaborative and National Association for Media Literacy Education, the new program covers everything from responsible communication and fake news to personal security and anti-bullying.

“We need the right tools and resources to help kids make the most of technology,” Amy Mascott, educator and founder of teachmama.com, wrote in a Google blog post. “And while good digital safety and citizenship resources exist for families, more can be done for media literacy.”

Through instruction, activities, and discussions, these new classes provide students with vital information, like how to avoid phishing attacks, prevent identity theft, identify credible sources, spot fake URLs, create strong passwords, recognize harassment or bullying, and more.

Frankly, we could all use a refresher course on how to be a decent person on the Internet.

“Kids today need a guide to the Internet and media just as they need instruction on other topics,” Mascott said. “We need help teaching them about credible sources, the power of words and images, and more importantly, how to be smart and savvy when seeing different media while browsing the Web.”

Google’s new curriculum is available online in English, Spanish, and eight other languages for teachers, parents, and guardians.

Its overall goal, according to TechCrunch, is to encourage kids to make checking news and information a habit—not only those headlines and links that seem suspicious.

The company is partnering with the YMCA and National PTA to host online safety workshops across multiple cities.

More on Geek.com:

SOURCE

Advertisement
Code: VZWDEAL. Enter this coupon code at checkout to get $100 discount on Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Includes free shipping. Restrictions may apply. Device payment purchase required.
Code: Labelmscarf. Enter this discount code at checkout to get a free Mary Katrantzou scarf when you buy any label M product at allbeauty.com.
Continue Reading

Deals

Advertisement
Code: VZWDEAL. Enter this coupon code at checkout to get $100 discount on Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Includes free shipping. Restrictions may apply. Device payment purchase required.
Promo code not required. The deal applies to a specific group of goods. The deal is available for all customers of the e-store. The deal is available without amount restrictions
Code: DBCHROME1. Enter this coupon code at checkout to get 45% discount on Chromebook 3180. Includes free shipping. Restrictions may apply.

Trending