Monthly Archives: December 2014

With the new year upon us and kids still out of school for a few more days you might be looking for a way to pass some time. Why not do it with a free movie. I recently ran across a way to add Wreck It Ralph to your digital library for free. Credit goes to a cost cutting blogger site called Thrifty Momma Ramblings. Set up is done in just a few minutes.

What do you need before hand?

A compatible Affiliation
In order to take advantage of this you are going to need either a Google Play account or an Apple ID for iTunes.

A compatible media Player
Compatible media players for iTunes
To access Apple iTunes video one must have an Apple product or iTunes installed on a computer. With an Apple TV, Mac laptop, Ipod Touch or iPhone or iPad one can launch their iTunes video app and enjoy.

Google Play
Google Play is available in a number of places. The first and most obvious place you should check is any device that runs the Android OS. Android based tablets, phones and set-top-boxes will all have the Google Play video app available. This includes the the Nexus Player. Roku also released a Google Play app recently.

Where do I get started?
Check out This page from Thrifty Momma Ramblings for full instructions. http://thriftymommaramblings.com/

What do you need

So you got a new Roku. Now you are probably saying “What Roku Channels should I add?” The company advertises nearly 2000 channels. You can’t watch that many and a number of them may not appeal to the average buyer. Some are more like apps, some are games etc. Today we are going to present a list of channels/apps that no Roku should be without.

Netflix
You can’t start a list like this and leave off Netflix. If you have not used Netflix before here it is in a nutshell. The largest collection of movies and television shows that can be found legally on the Internet. Roku started as a platform for Netflix streaming and has grown from there. From critically acclaimed original

Netflix is the standard bearer for streaming.
Netflix is the standard bearer for streaming.

series, cheesy sci-fi like Sharknado 2 to blockbusters like

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Personalize an account and unlock the services potential

As most people in the modern world know Google’s Youtube is available on computers, game systems, DMR’s like Roku and Apple TV and hand held devices. How many times have you done a quick search on a subject and discovered a YouTube video on the subject or even better a collection of videos on that subject?  Whether it is home improvement, cooking, technical assistance or a niche like professional wrestling or a long cancelled television show that cannot be found anywhere else, when we find these jewels it is important to be able to find them again. A little organization can go a long way. Creating a personal YouTube account, playlists, utilizing favorites and subscribing to channels will allow you to categorize your videos in a way that will help you find them when you want to see them again. It will also allow you to build a video resource tailored to your favorite subjects and interests.

Make It Personal
The first step for getting the most out of YouTube is setting up a personal profile. This is done with a quick visit to YouTube’s website. In the upper right hand corner will be red button “Create an Account”. Next follow the simple instructions including creation of a password you can remember and you are set with your own YouTube ID. If you already have a Gmail address or Google Plus acct you can use the same credentials to create the account. Once you have done this any video that you save in your profile can be accessed on any connected device like a mobile video library. Probably the most helpful thing about having a profile is that YouTube like Netflix and Hulu looks at what you are watching and makes recommendations for other similar content. These suggestions are emailed to which ever account you use to set things up. You also receive notifications whenever a station that you have subscribed to has a new video.

Customize Your Video Experience
Once you have your profile set up search for the kinds of things you enjoy. YouTube has multiple user created channels that offer rich content. No matter what it is that interests you it can be found on YouTube. There are videos on everything from home improvement and cooking, full length movies, documentaries and television series to niche subjects like pro wrestling, alternative history and conspiracy theories.  When you subscribe to the channels where your videos are found all of the content will be right at your fingertips for future reference.

How do you Subscribe to channels?
After you search for a video and click on its corresponding thumbnail. Under the video will be a button that says subscribe.  Before you subscribe to the channel you can easily browse the library of the provider by clicking on the name of the provider listed. From there the videos can be explored and evaluated. Once you click subscribe, the videos from that provider will always be available when you are signed in to your account.

Create Playlists
Another way that you can customize your YouTube experience is by creating playlists. Think of it like a book shelf. While you may have dozens of books you may well have them set up by author, or subject matter so that you can find your copy of something quickly without having to look the whole shelf over. Playlists are helpful because once you have a long listing of subscribed channels you are going to find specific videos that you are going to want to access without searching through the channel’s library.  This is also helpful because an individual YouTube channel may not be set up in a subject specific way. This way you do not have to remember that say a documentary about WW2 is listed under a channel called “Big J”. Instead it can be listed under your own chosen subject heading in a play list.

Think about your Categories
It is helpful to consider why you are making the playlist. Is this a list of favorite music videos, something subject matter related or so on. Having multiple playlists is very helpful when viewing YouTube via a streaming device on your television. It will feel like a more authentic television experience this way. The playlists work as almost an on demand queue.  If you own a Smart TV, a DMR, a game system or any device that will allow YouTube to be viewed on a television set up a profile and build a fully interactive customizable channel.

How to Create a Playlist
When browsing videos from a general search or even videos from a subscribed channel on a computer look under the video screen to the tabs beginning with about. The other tabs include “Share” and “Add To”.  Add To will bring up the option to add the video to the favorites list or watch later. Neither of these choices have a general category option or a play list. If you do not have a playlist created for the video you can create one by typing a title in to the box displaying the phrase “Enter new playlist name”. In the case of a mobile app for instance YouTube for iPad and mobile devices the process works slightly differently. Underneath the video will be a plus sign (+). When a user clicks this symbol they are prompted to either choose a playlist to add the video to or create a playlist for the video. Using this method you can create an entire viewing lineup of on demand programming that can then be accessed anywhere you can access the Internet. Because of the way YouTube populates related videos you can build a substantial play list in no time.

Favorites and Watch Later
If you do not have an extensive collection of videos simply adding a few things to your YouTube Favorites may do the trick for you. The disadvantage of this method over the playlist method is that over time you may well have one long random and hard to cycle through list.

Article Originally Published September 2013

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Well this is the last channel review of the year, and it is a short one. There were three new entries this week. Time is by far the most interesting one. Check the review out and use our links anything that stands out to your collection and make sure to check us out every week Roku Channel Reviews.

TimeTime
Short informational videos typically about 3 minutes long. Some contain commentary and others contain captions that tell the story. This is a nice way to better understand important issues in the world. The video content is exceedingly well produced.

Add Channel

Crime and DramaCrime and Drama
There is nothing new here friends. This is another one of many many public domain movie channel like so many others with a focus on crime movies. The logo is one of the best I have seen from this type of channel. Might be a good channel to put on if you want to fall asleep in front of the TV.
Add Channel

 

Casino SlotsCasino Slots
Would you like to experience the excitement of a slot machine from home? Well you can’t because you don’t win money or see it pouring in to a bucket or even have the excitement you get from one of those “business centers” around town. Save your money for a real slot machine somewhere.
Add Channel

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Can You Control a Fire TV with an iPhone? Yes. Just in time for Christmas Amazon finally released its long promised IOS controller app on the Apple App Store. The app fills a gaping hole in the compatibility of the device with millions of IOS device owners.

What does the App do?

The Fire TV IOS remote App lets users control the device with IOS devices.
The Fire TV IOS remote App lets users control the device with IOS devices.


Like the Roku and Apple TV remotes for IOS as well as Android the Fire TV remote app allows users to navigate through the Fire TV interface as well as add a keyboard for searching inside of apps.

Add Voice Search To Fire TV Stick

Did you get a Fire TV Stick in your stocking? You might have noticed that this controller is more basic than the one demonstrated with the Fire TV box especially its lack of voice search. The controller app eliminates that problem giving users full reign to search for video and app content via voice. The list of apps that return selections on the voice search is rather limited but this is the case with any iteration of Amazon’s search feature.

What Do I need to add the App
In order to download the app users must have IOS 7 or higher on their devices.

With the addition of the IOS app Amazon has made good on most every promise it made concerning the Fire TV at launch but still excludes Netflix from the voice search results, an issue it has claimed it will correct. But Overall December has been a busy month for Amazon with the Addition of HBO-Go, major sales on its products as well as the current offering of $220.00 worth of apps for free. The company is courting the living room aggressively.

Amazon Fire TV users have a chance to add Plex and AirPlay for Fire TV Free. Plex for the Fire TV usually $4.99 and the Mirroring 360 – AirPlay Receiver usually $6.99 are both free for a limited time. Anybody who loves streaming should jump on the opportunity to purchase these apps and here is why.

The two apps will give Fire TV users access to so much great content that is not available otherwise.

Plex

Finding something to watch on FIre TV is a much more visually stimulating experience.
With Plex users can add on-demand network TV content for free and catch up on their favorites plus much more.

If you are not familiar with Plex for Fire TV, it is a multifaceted media interface that lets users add tons of content channels to the Fire TV as well as access any digital content they own through a slick Netflix like interface. There is more to the process but you can read about it in this story on Plex here.

Mirroring 360 AirPlay Receiver
This add IOS full mirroring to the Fire TV. What does that mean? It means that what ever you can view on your IOS device can be seen on the TV screen. Now what it does not do is launch AirPlay features associated with IOS apps. The difference between AirPlay and mirroring is that when you engage a device

Amazon Fire TV  Stick users can mirror content from the last 2 generations of Fire Tablets
Amazon Fire TV users can use Mirroring 360 to share their IOS device display with their Fire TV.

with AirPlay you can close the app and use the device for other things. With mirroring your TV will only show what you are watching on the screen.

But with this feature you can browse websites, watch internet based video, watch IOS video and audio apps on screen, even listen to audio books through the Kindle App for IOS. This is a supercharged addition to the Fire TV and I highly recommend adding it even if you do not currently own an IOS device, just in case you add one later.

Where can I get the free apps?
All of the apps in Amazon’s free promotion are available here
Selections include games and even utility apps. Not all apps on the list are intended for use on Fire TV and will only be compatible with the Tablets, so sorry to all of you who want to add the calculator app to the TV. You will have to wait on that 🙂

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Where can you watch The Interview? Right now you can see it on Google Play, YouTube Movies and Through Xbox Video. According to CNN, Sony is in negotiations to have the movie available iTunes. There is even talk of the movie being available on Sony’s own streaming service Crackle.  This is a tremendous event for streaming media in general. The film could easily be the most streamed feature ever for at least a day as the tittle ha received so much scrutiny due to the controversy surrounding possible North Korean hacking of Sony.

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Can you stream games online the way that you stream movies? Yes. Sony now has an agreement with Samsung to distribute Play Station Now its streaming game service to new Samsung Smart TV’s. The announcement is quite monumental and shows that Sony may be starting to understand the reality that streaming games could become mainstream the same way that streaming movies and television has. If this is successful Sony could gain a foothold in in the same market that Steam OS has been trying to establish itself for the last few years. Could this be a reason to finally buy a Smart TV?

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There are a number of quad core Android boxes on the market including the Armada Mach 8.

Armada rolled out a new remote for its Mach 8 Pure Linux media Player. The remote is mapped and customized to allow users to zip in and out of XBMC’s settings and configurations with the push of a button instead of navigating through programs. Take a look at the video bellow