Tags Hulu Plus

I Pay For Cable TV, and Don’t Care Who Knows It

I turn 30 this month, and it feels like I am one of the few people my age who watches cable TV and is willing to pay for it. Truth is, I hate watching shows on my computer—or worse, my phone. Give me new episodes in real-time, on a real TV. I know I’m on the wrong side of history, but I also know I’m not the only one.

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Bryan Lufkin

October 15th

Uncategorized

I Pay For Cable TV, and Don’t Care Who Knows It

I turn 30 this month, and it feels like I am one of the few people my age who watches cable TV and is willing to pay for it. Truth is, I hate watching shows on my computer—or worse, my phone. Give me new episodes in real-time, on a real TV. I know I’m on the wrong side of history, but I also know I’m not the only one.

Read more...











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Bryan Lufkin

October 15th

Uncategorized

How to Get 2 Months of Premium Hulu Streaming for Free Starting This Weekend

Hulu Plus Free

Hulu typically offers users a one-week free trial to test its premium TV and movie streaming service before they have to start coughing up $7.99 each month. Without a premium subscription, only a very limited number of episodes are available for each show. For two days only, however, new subscribers can score a special extended free trial that offers access to the entire Hulu library for a full two months.

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Zach Epstein

June 26th

Uncategorized

Opinion: Roku’s new media players use voice search and apps to make Apple TV feel old

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Just so there’s no ambiguity on this point, I’m definitely an Apple TV fan. The first-generation model was a (literally) hot mess, but Apple did a much better job with the streamlined second- and third-generation versions, which I use every day and have strongly recommended for years. If you have an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, the Apple TV is one of the top three accessories you can buy for under $100, and nearly a no-brainer at Apple’s recently announced $69 price point.

Even as a fan, though, I give Apple TV’s chief competitor Roku great credit for developing compelling alternatives. According to reports, Roku is the number one seller of media streamers, and has been outselling the Apple TV for some time now. While it’s true that sales don’t necessarily reflect quality, Roku has earned its numbers by frequently iterating on its products — ironically unlike Apple, which has spent years letting an old Apple TV design chug along as a “hobby.” The difference in Roku’s and Apple’s approaches became starker yesterday when Roku released the new Roku 3 with Voice Search ($100) and new Roku 2 ($70), updates to two of its already-successful devices. These media streamers include several of the key features Apple should be adding to the Apple TV, including voice search, downloadable apps, games, and more…

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This is the new Roku 3’s box, which boasts over 2,000 channels — a mix of streaming video channels, streaming music services, traditional apps, and games. Regardless of which categories you want to compare, Roku has many more options than the Apple TV. Here’s a quick rundown of what Roku got right, and what’s not quite up to snuff with Apple’s design.

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Greater Expandability. The new Roku 3 is physically smaller than the current-generation Apple TV, but has more expansion options. Apple limits you to an integrated 8GB of automatically-managed storage space, while Roku includes a microSD card slot on the back for additional app and game storage, plus a full-sized USB port on the right side to let you play back photos, music, and videos.

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A Superior Remote Control. Roku 3 includes the company’s Enhanced Remote Control, which has a microphone built in for voice search, as well as a headphone port that enables you to listen to lag-free audio, automatically muting your TV in the process. You get a basic pair of earphones in the package, controlled by volume buttons on the remote’s right side. Additionally, the remote can be flipped into landscape orientation to use as a game controller.

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Four buttons built into the Enhanced Remote take you directly to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, or Rdio, four of the top apps Roku offers. Although the Apple Remote included with Apple TV is much smaller, and its dead simple button design is conceptually appealing, there’s undeniable convenience in having one-touch access to several of the media streamer’s most commonly used apps.

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Voice Search. The killer feature found in the new Roku 3 is voice search. Simply press the search button on the remote and the box brings up this Siri-like interface, which notably can be used without holding the remote anywhere near your face. Roku 3 does a very good job of recognizing names of actors, directors, TV shows, and movies: in my brief testing, the only time it misidentified something was when I asked it to search for a name that wasn’t in its database. It successfully pulled up shows and people with at least as much accuracy as Siri on iOS, and quickly, at that.

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Unified Search. One of the greatest conveniences Roku offers is unified search, a feature that’s currently compatible with its most popular apps. You can simply speak the name of a TV show, movie, or actor and watch as Roku offers a list of different viewing options, which can save you both time and money. If a movie’s available for free on one channel, you’ll find it here, and can click to go directly to the viewing page in that channel. As contrasted with the Apple TV, Roku radically reduces your need to page through multiple apps and use separate searches to see what’s available.

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Games. You can download a version of Tetris for free when setting Roku 3 up, and other games are sold at App Store-like prices. Serious gamers will bemoan the Wii Remote-like joypad and button limitations of the Roku 3’s included controller, but by comparison with the Apple TV, at least there’s a way to play games directly on this box.

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Apps. Although Roku 3 is hardly the first media player to include app support, the presence of familiar names such as Facebook is a huge plus over the Apple TV, which has focused almost exclusively on streaming video channels. Once you’ve set up the Roku box — a process that’s about as quick as getting your first Apple TV set up, all things considered — adding new apps to Roku is as easy as going to the Channel Store, selecting a category that interests you, and downloading an app from a nicely organized collection.

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Unlike the initial Apple TV setup process, which forces you to accept a bunch of channels you don’t want and manually hide them later, Roku really lets you customize the “channel” lineup before you even start using the device. A short code and URL appear on your TV’s screen, with instructions to visit the URL from your phone, tablet, or computer. You pick the channels and games you want to start out with, confirm your selections, and within a few minutes arrive at a Roku main menu that’s customized to your needs.

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Rather than forcing you to enter in your account information for every service you want to use, Roku uses similar short codes and URLs accessed from your device of choice to make sign-ins simple. I found that these codes typically made it easier to log into services on the Roku than on the Apple TV.

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Roku also welcomes a wide variety of different services to its platform — virtually everyone except Apple is represented. Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, Sling, and other services from competitive hardware manufacturers can all be accessed from the same device. While you can AirPlay many of these services to the Apple TV from an iPad or iPhone, Apple has made its competitors unnecessarily difficult to access directly and purchase from. Instead, Roku unifies them all under one umbrella and lets them compete on quality and pricing.

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Unique Interfaces. Roku channels don’t just look like the same UI with different text and pictures swapped in. Individual channels have their own designs, some of which may be more appealing to you than the Apple TV variants. If a channel wants to use futuristic, hip, or casual fonts, it can. But this “almost everything goes” approach also brings up one of Roku’s arguable issues, and something Apple has (for better and worse) addressed with its products…

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A Fragmented Media Collection. Good news: Roku organizes a ton of content within its search feature, and gives you access to many different stores. Bad news: unlike Apple TV, where you know that all of the content you purchase can be found in a single library (Apple’s), you have so many purchasing options on Roku that you’d better hope that the store you’re buying from will still be around five years from now — and accessible on whatever devices you’re using at that point. For instance, would you pay $90 for a set of high-definition Star Wars films sold by the Wal-mart-backed video service Vudu? Well, that’s an option on Roku, and not on the Apple TV.

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Quality. The video quality of the streams I cross-tested on Hulu and Netflix looked a little better on the Apple TV than on Roku 3 — crisper and with less dithered color, though it varied from provider to provider. Roku’s UI also overlays more graphical elements on top of the video, a benefit of Apple’s minimalist design sensibilities that isn’t obvious until you compare it directly against competitors. These photos don’t do justice to the video quality differences I’ve seen, and they’re not hugely obvious at a several-foot distance, but I’d give the Apple TV an edge here.

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No AirPlay Support or iTunes Integration. When Apple added AirPlay streaming and mirroring support to the Apple TV, it went from being a limited and self-contained platform to being wirelessly expandable using iOS devices. While AirPlay has been really buggy for some time now, it remains one of the biggest selling points of the Apple TV, particularly since wireless Mac mirroring and screen extension features were added. By comparison, Roku 3 doesn’t offer AirPlay or iTunes integration; it exists primarily to run its own apps. There is a “beta” screen mirroring feature for select Android, Windows Phone, and Windows 8.1 devices, which “may work for you,” Roku says. That would be funnier if AirPlay worked 100% reliably across all of Apple’s devices.

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So Should You Jump Ship From Apple TV to Roku?

Answering this question depends on what you want to do with your TV. If you’ve been spending a lot of time recently paging through Apple TV channels instead of actually watching content, the new Roku 3 with Voice Search will make as much sense to you as it does to me. Being able to voice search your way to a favorite show is awesome, as is speaking the name of an actor or director to quickly locate their complete catalog of work… across multiple apps. If you don’t need voice search, the new Roku 2 is basically the same device minus the voice-assisted Enhanced Remote Control, and priced to compete directly against the $69 Apple TV. Roku offers many competing channels Apple lacks, as well as downloadable apps and games. Either of these devices strikes me as a good buy unless you’re a hard-core AirPlay user or iTunes customer.

But Apple fans wouldn’t even have to consider Roku if Apple hadn’t been so sluggish in updating the Apple TV. Years have passed with only a single noteworthy hardware change — an upgrade from 720p to 1080p resolution in the third-generation model — and despite years of rumors, the biggest software changes have been new channel additions. At this point, the Apple TV needs an app store, proper game support, and advanced search features just to catch up to where Roku is right now. For the time being, Roku’s already selling the device that Apple TV users have been waiting for, and it’s just a question of whether people will spend $70 or $100 to give it a shot.


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS Devices, Opinion, Reviews, Tech Industry Tagged: Amazon, Apple TV, Google, Hulu Plus, Netflix, Roku, Roku 2, Roku 3, Voice Search

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Jeremy Horwitz

April 7th

Apple

Mac

Here’s every new movie and TV series coming to Hulu in April

Hulu Plus Shows

Each and every month, we show you all of the new content set to premiere on Netflix the following month, as well as all of the shows and movies that are about to vanish from Netflix as licensing deals expire each month. Of course, Netflix is just one popular streaming platform, so now it's time to focus on another popular streaming service: Hulu.

Hulu is home to thousands upon thousands of popular TV series and movies, and you can stream them all to any TV, PC or mobile device if you're a Hulu Plus subscriber.

Hulu is adding dozens of new TV show seasons and movies to its lineup in April, and here's a list of every single upcoming addition:

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Zach Epstein

March 24th

Uncategorized

Watch Modern Family’s Apple episode on your own iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, or Mac

Modern Apple Family

In case you weren’t in front of your TV set last night when ABC aired its Apple-centric episode of Modern Family, the “Connection Lost” episode that plays out entirely on a MacBook screen using FaceTime, iMessage, and other Apple products is now available to stream on your own Apple devices…

iPhone & iPad

For cable subscribers, the Watch ABC app for iPhone and iPad has the latest Modern Family episode, but you will have to verify your paid subscription through your service provider getting access. AT&T, Comcast, Dish, DirecTV, and a long list of other major and regional providers are supported.

If you’re a cord cutter and don’t have a cable subscription, you still may be in luck. Hulu Plus subscribers can instantly watch the Apple Modern Family episode on iOS devices as well. You just need an active subscription or free trial. The app is free to download from the App Store.

Apple TV

If you want to watch the episode on TV as it originally aired, the same options apply to Apple TV. The Watch ABC channel has the episode, but you’ll need to verify your service subscription. The Hulu channel also has the episode for Hulu Plus subscribers. Service is $7.99/month or you can start out with a free week trial with a fresh email account.

Mac

Finally, if you want to watch Modern Family’s Apple-centric episode on your Mac just like it plays out on the show, both ABC (full episode) and Hulu (full episode) have next-day streams available online. The same rules apply: you need to have a cable subscription login for Watch ABC or a Plus subscription for Hulu (although the episode will be available to non-subscribers in one week so mark your calendar).

For readers outside of the United States, restrictions are much tighter (sorry!), but maybe the episode will surface on YouTube or elsewhere eventually. In the meantime, check out how the behind-the-scenes look at how the show was put together using Apple technology.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: ABC, Apple TV, FaceTime, full episode, Hulu, Hulu Plus, iMessage, iPad, iPhone, Mac, MacBook, Modern Family, TV, Watch ABC

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Zac Hall

February 26th

Apple

Mac

How to Survive When the Internet Fails

How to Survive When the Internet Fails

Oh crap. Your Internet's just gone out and doesn't seem like it will be coming back anytime soon. First off, don't panic. Or wait, maybe you're supposed to panic? I can never remember these things, lemme Google it real quick. OH CRAP, THE INTERNET IS OUT. Game over, man! Game over! What the fuck are we gonna do now? What are we gonna do?

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Andrew Tarantola

December 4th

Uncategorized

Every Episode of South Park Is Streaming for Free on Hulu Right Now

Every Episode of South Park Is Streaming for Free on Hulu Right Now

Good news for fans of the lovable, animated fourth graders with filthy mouths. Starting today, all 17 seasons of South Park will be streaming on Hulu for free. And you better get your fill while you can, because come fall—it's paywall time.

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Ashley Feinberg

July 13th

Uncategorized

9to5Toys Lunch Break: Free month of Hulu Plus for existing users, Kindle e-readers $20 off, Timbuk2 bags 25% off, more

Be sure to follow 9to5Toys to keep up with the best gear and deals on the web: TwitterRSS Feed,FacebookGoogle+ and subscribe to the new Safari push notifications feature.

Today’s can’t miss deals:

hulu-free-trialHulu Plus: Fee month of Hulu Plus for existing subscribers, 2 months for new accounts

amazon-kindle-deal-paperwhiteAmazon 1-Day Kindle E-Reader Sale: Kindle $49 (Reg. $69), Kindle Paperwhite $99 (Reg. $119)

timbuk2-deal-3 timbuk2-deal-2

25% off select Timbuk2 custom laptop messenger bags and backpacks

ipad-mini-retina-display-best-buy-dealBest Buy knocks up to $200 off iPads: Airs start at $440, Minis up to $50 off

Other great deals from today:

  • New! Crucial M500 2.5″ SATA III Internal Solid State Drive 120GB $67 shipped (Reg. $80)
  • New! Game/App Deals: GTA V: $30, Star Wars KOTOR (Mac/PC): $3, Dishonored GOTY: $20, Anodia: FREE, iOS freebies, more
  • New! Daily Deals: Macbook Air 11.6″ refurb $770, JBL Flip BT speaker refurb $59, iJoy iPhone or Galaxy S4 cases $10 shipped, much more
  • New! Lepow Moonstone Series 6000mAh External Battery (Green) $19.99 AC shipped

More great deals still alive:

New products:

  • D-Link Releases the First Portable 11AC Router/Server/Charger for $99 shipped

Filed under: Tips and Tricks Tagged: 9to5Toys, Amazon Kindle, Best Buy, Daily Deals, free, free apps, Hulu Plus, iPad sale, Kindle E-Reader, Timbuk2, video games

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Dan DeSilva

March 4th

Apple

Mac

9to5Toys Lunch Break: Seagate desktop HDs 3TB $99/4TB $125, Anker 5-port USB charger $26, FREE Hulu+/Spotify, more

Take a few minutes out of your lunch break to cash in on some tasty deals. Be sure to follow 9to5Toys to keep up with the best gear and deals on the web: Twitter, RSS Feed, Facebook, Google+ and subscribe to the new Safari push notifications feature.

Today’s can’t miss deals:

seagate-backup-plus-4tb-dealStorage Deals:

anker-5-port-usb-chargerAnker 40W 5-Port Family iPad/tablet/iPhone USB Charger: $26 shipped (40% savings)

pny-attache-128-sale-discount-best-pricePNY Attache 2 USB Flash Drives: 32GB: $13, 64GB: $26, 128GB: $52 shipped

apple-tv-dealApple TV 3rd gen. w/ 1080p streaming $80 shipped (Reg. $99)

Other great deals from today:

More great deals still alive:


Filed under: Tips and Tricks Tagged: 9to5Toys, Daily Deals, free apps, Hulu Plus, Seagate Backup Plus, Spotify, video games

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Dan DeSilva

January 14th

Apple

Mac
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