Tag Archives: roku

Great Gifts for the Geek in Your Life


People are always asking me if this tech gift or that geek gift is right for their significant other.  The one rule that I try to follow is this, “most electronics are crap”.  This is particularly true for many of the gifts that are marketed for “the geek in your life” around the holiday season.  With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of 5 Gifts that I’d love to get myself this year.

1. Roku 3 Streaming Media Player– It’s a set-top box that has the best interface of any similar device I’ve ever used.  These features are supposedly built into many Smart TVs, but the one thing they get all wrong is the interface.  Roku gets it right.  Netflix, check.  Amazon, check.  Every other streaming service, check.

2.Motorola Moto G – 16GB– The Moto G, due to be released on December 4th, is a great way to give a new Android smartphone to your luvva without chaining them to a two-year commitment.  It has much in common with its big brother Moto X, but for less than $200 it’s a stupendous deal.

3.Kindle Fire HDX 7″/ Google Nexus 7– Everyone wants a tablet, even if they don’t need one.  They are one of the hottest tech gifts period.  The reason for calling out both, rather than just the Nexus 7 is whether or not you are into Amazon Instant Video streaming.  If you’re a fan of that service then the tablet to get is the Fire, otherwise I would get the Nexus 7.  It is a quick tablet with a fabulous display.  I would also skip the 10″ version of any tablet.  They’re just too darn big.

4.Amazon Prime– If you are receiving a constant stream of purchase from Amazon, there’s a good chance that you are already an Amazon Prime member, but how about your father-in-law.  The impossible to buy for father-in-law.  He could use Prime as well.   Not only do you get free 2-day shipping on a significant percentage of items in the Amazon store, but you also get to stream all the available Instant Video choices that are included as part of the subscription.

5.Lenovo IdeaPad S400– The ultimate Christmas gift, a new laptop computer.  My recommendation is one of the Lenovo IdeaPad models.  They have plenty of power, plus they have touch screens.  That way when you reach out and interact with the computer with your finger, it will actually respond.

Now, you may be asking, where are all the Apple products?  Back at the store where they belong.  I can’t in good conscience ask anyone to buy Apple products where you get less for your money and are locked in with a company that only wants to extract every last cent it can out of the consumer.  If you are into Apple products, move on and God help you.

One last piece of advice, skip the extended warranty on your devices.  They are unnecessary most times and when/if it does become necessary to replace the device you won’t want to have it replaced with the same old many year-old tech.

VUDU: The Other Streaming Movie Rental Service

I was reminded of the VUDU service today.  VUDU is a streaming service that lets you rent or buy movies and TV shows and streams them to you.  They started out life as a dedicated box you would purchase that had a portion of the movies on their service cached on the internal hard drive.  The movie would start right away and then stream from there.  Nowadays they are strictly a software company.  On your computer you can rent movies for $2 and have access to them for 2 days.  Good deal.

And here’s the best part.  According to their website, you can get movies the same day that they are released on DVD.  No more 28 day Netflix penalty.

And here’s the worst part.  Television shows.  The catalog of available television shows, especially children and family programming is anemic at best.

VUDU is built into numerous web connected devices , Blu-ray players, HDTVs, and the PS3.

So, this seems like a killer combo for streaming content:  Netflix Streaming – $7.99/Mo. and VUDU for new DVD release access, a-la-carte pricing.  I just need a way to get VUDU content on my TV.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see a VUDU channel on my Roku.


Netflix Raising Prices 60% in September

Or, if you go back in time to the point that Netflix added streaming to the service ($7.99 then) they are effectively doubling the price for streaming and one DVD at a time.

Amazon Prime, and their one price for Prime shipping services and streaming, is starting to look more interesting. Prime is $79 per year or $6.58 per month. Assuming Amazon is aggressive in getting new streaming content this might be the place to look in the future.

In the meantime, I’ve had the same DVD at my house for roughly three weeks. Apparently the DVD service is not that important, but it was nice to have for those titles that don’t stream yet. I’m going to be sending that one back and going for the streaming only. I’ll rent new movies on Amazon VOD instead of getting them on DVD. Both services are available on the ROKU so I don’t have to choose just one.

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