Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Under The Dome coming to Amazon Prime Instant Video

It's being billed as the television event of the summer by CBS.  Fortunately, those of us who like to watch TV on our schedule can see it without a DVR or pay-TV subscription.  Under The Dome, a 13-episode miniseries based on the novel by Stephen King, is making its debut this Friday on Amazon Prime Instant Video.  The new show airs Monday evenings on CBS, and each Friday, the latest episode will be available on Amazon Instant Video - free to Amazon Prime members.

I'm really looking forward to this.  It is nice to have entire seasons available at once, the way Netflix offers all of its TV series, but I love the idea of having new episodes available weekly.  I hope this is successful for Amazon and would like to see more of this in the future.  If you're not an Amazon Prime member, why not try a free 30-day trial?  Test drive all of the features of Amazon Prime membership for a full month, and you can cancel at any time.

Amazon Prime Instant Video free trial

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Avengers Now Streaming On Netflix

Just a quick update to let you know that last year's summer blockbuster, The Avengers, began streaming on Netflix today.  Have a great weekend!

Friday, June 21, 2013

New Dreamworks shows coming to Netflix

Netflix is continuing to expand their animated programming.  A few months ago, they signed deals with Warner Bros. and Turner Broadcasting to stream Adult Swim and Cartoon Network episodes from previous seasons.  New Disney films will be also be available for streaming in 2016.

The latest move in animated offerings will come from Dreamworks, producer of hits like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and Madagascar.  Netflix has poured loads of cash into creating original programming, which produced the critically acclaimed House of Cards and also included reviving the cancelled series Arrested Development.  But this deal looks to be the largest investment in original content to date.

The first series is expected to debut in 2014, which is also when Netflix will begin streaming Dreamworks feature films.  Details of characters were not announced, but the new deal is said to include over 300 hours of new, exclusive programming.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Downtown Abbey available exclusively on Amazon Prime Instant Video

Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy Award-winning television series Downtown Abbey is now available for streaming exclusively from Amazon Prime Instant Video.  All three seasons are now available at no additional charge to Amazon Prime members.  Downtown Abbey is a British period drama which aired on ITV in the United Kingdom and then on PBS in the United States. 

The series gives a look at the life of the high-class Crawley family and their servants, with a focus on some of the great events in history.  After two seasons, the series had earned twenty-seven Primetime Emmy Awards, and its third season became one of the most widely watched television shows in the world.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Intel's Plan To Bring You TV

Intel is looking to join the long list of devices competing to provide your TV service.  They have been planning a set-top box to bring a traditional, cable-like TV service with greater flexibility and lower cost than the cable or satellite company can provide.  No content deals have been announced, but Intel is currently in discussions on how the content will be delivered.

According to a report from Reuters, Intel is proposing to pay more than the rates cable companies pay for the same content.  They will need programming from at least a handful of the top American media companies to provide an attractive service that could lure customers away from the cable company.  Intel has previously said that their service will have live programming, catch-up programming, on-demand, and also apps.  A built-in camera was mentioned as part of the set-top box.  The camera could be used to recognize viewers to target ads or provide personalized TV or movie recommendations.  Built-in video calling like Skype or Google Hangouts would be a cool feature.

Intel has crested an independent unit, Intel Media, which is completely separate from the rest of the company.  I'm excited for more competition, but see this as a big challenge for Intel.  The only type of cable-like service that I would be willing to pay for would have to be a truly a la carte service, allowing me to pick and choose exactly the channels I want.  Comments welcome - what are your thoughts?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Father's Day Deal on Roku 2 XD

Looking for the perfect Father's Day gift?  Roku has a special Father's Day deal on the Roku 2 XD.  It's available for $10 off and comes with $45 worth of free offers from Amazon Instant Video, Slacker Radio and more.  The offer ends June 15th, so if you're looking for a great gift for Dad or just want a great deal on a Roku player, grab it while it lasts!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Redbox Instant Coming To Roku This Summer

Redbox Instant is a new movie service looking to follow in Netflix's footsteps. Still officially in beta, Redbox Instant combines DVD rentals at Redbox kiosks with streaming movies. The service recently launched on Google TV and announced that they will be coming to Roku later this summer.

After a 1-month free trial, Redbox Instant's subscription price of $8 per month gives you 4 DVD credits per month (for 4 nights total) plus unlimited streaming similar to Netflix.  For $1 extra ($9 per month), the subscription includes access to Blu-ray disc rentals.

Amazon Instant's streaming video library continues to grow steadily as they seek to become a serious competitor to Netflix, but in my opinion, Redbox Instant has a lot to overcome.  I like the idea of monthly DVD/Blu-ray credits, which gives access to discs at a Redbox kiosk versus waiting for Netflix to deliver a disc in the mail.  However, the number of titles available in Redbox kiosks is a fraction of what Netflix has available to mail.  I can only imagine that the streaming selection is also much smaller than Netflix's library, similar to how Amazon Prime Instant Video began.

I have not tried Redbox Instant yet, but will do so once the Roku channel is available.  I believe competition is a great thing, and while Redbox Instant has a long uphill climb, best of luck to them and I look forward to testing out the service once they make it available to the 5-million+ Roku owners.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Amazon's new deal with Viacom

Amazon has announced their largest streaming rights deal to date.  Netflix is allowing their deal with Viacom to expire, and Amazon has swooped in to lock up a multiyear deal that will provide exclusive rights to Nickelodeon's preschool shows.  Amazon Prime members now have unlimited instant streaming access to the largest subscription library for Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. content online.

Amazon states that over 250 TV seasons (just under 4,000 episodes) from Nickelodeon, Nick Jr, MTV and Comedy Central will soon be free for Amazon Prime members.  Some of the included shows are classics like SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Blue’s Clues, and iCarly, plus new shows such as Team Umizoomi, Bubble Guppies, VICTORiOUS, Big Time Rush, and Drake & Josh.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Amazon Instant Video

One of our main sources for TV shows and movies is Amazon Instant Video.  Full-length episodes are available for rental or purchase, and many are included as Amazon Prime instant videos at no extra cost for Amazon Prime members.  Streaming is available on PCs and Macs, many smart phones and tablets, Roku, Apple TV, and also some smart TVs.

With twin 3-year-old boys, we do a lot of shopping on Amazon.  The prices are great and it has saved us from making last-minute or late night trips for diapers, wipes, and other items that we use regularly (their subscribe-and-save program makes it so easy).  For us, Amazon Prime has been a great deal at just $79/year. You can start a 30-day free trial by clicking below to see what millions of Amazon Prime members already enjoy: unlimited streaming of more than 41,000 movies and TV episodes with hundreds of exclusives, unlimited free two-day shipping on millions of items, and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library – choose from more than 300,000 books to borrow as frequently as once a month, with no due dates.

Monday, June 3, 2013

New Roku interface

When the Roku 3 debuted in March, it came with an entirely new and redesigned interface.  It is much faster, displays more information on the screen, allows you to choose from different home screen backgrounds, and best of all, now includes a search tool.  Searching from the home screen allows you to see if a movie or TV show is available on Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, Crackle, or HBO GO.  It saves so much time compared to searching within each channel for the title you are looking for.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Roku channels and categories

The Roku streaming players currently have access to over 750 channels, similar to apps available for smartphones or tablets.  Categories include movies, TV shows, live sports, music, photo and
video sharing, games, international programming, radio, news, podcasts, and the list goes on and on...

Some channels are tied to subscription services, such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO GO, Spotify and MLB.TV.  Many channels are absolutely free - some great examples are Crackle, Pandora, Disney and