product review

Painless Backup

If you’re like me and don’t fully automate backing up your computer, it doesn’t get backed up for weeks, months or maybe a year.  It is easy to do these days and it is only getting easier.  Here’s a great article from Walt Mossberg, formerly of the Wall Street Journal and now with Re/Code, on how to easily automate the process.

If you have a Mac, Time Machine should be a no brainer.  In addition, he recommends adding a cloud backup service.  Up until now the problem has been that the services for this have been expensive, if you have a large amount of data, and many services do not backed up external hard drives.

Enter BackBlaze, a cloud based service that cost $5/month with unlimited storage (Yes! Unlimited!)  and the ability to backup all your hard drives.  You set it up once, it works in the background and that’s it (until you need to restore a file or all your files.)

Check out the article here.

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Cut the Cable Cord

aereo logoAre you tired of paying huge cable bills?  Are you looking for alternatives?  Aereo is a good place to start.

Aereo streams to your TV all the local over-the-air broadcast stations like ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS plus a few other stations like Bloomberg TV without needing a cable subscription or TV antenna.  The base service cost $8 per month and includes 20 hours of cloud based DVR space.  Aereo can run on your computer or directly on your TV with a Roku or Apple TV.

Another option is to get a digital antenna for about $50.  This will also allow you to view all broadcast stations but if you live in an area like New York City, the quality of your signal will depend on  your exact location.  The best option here is to purchase one that is returnable;  you’ll want to verify that you get a decent signal.

If you’ve purchased a Roku or Apple TV then you’re all set for streaming Netflix.  A basic streaming plan is $7.99 per month.  You can add a DVD plan for as little as $4.99 per month (not all movies and TV shows are available for streaming.)

Finally, there is Hulu Plus also available with Roku or Apple TV.  It’s free for the first 30 days and then $7.99 per month.  Hulu Plus has lots and lots of TV shows from broadcast TV and cable available for streaming.  You can see what networks, shows and movies they stream here.

HBO has been hinting that they are going to offer a subscription to HBO GO that does not require a cable subscription.  This service would most likely be available through ROku and Apple TV.

If you want to learn more about your options or how you can reduce your huge cable bill give us a call.

TV Guide Mobile App

TV Guide Mobile App

Hundreds of cable channels, dozens of great shows, constantly changing schedules – how to keep track of it all?  The TV Guide mobile App is how I do it.  Install it on your mobile device.  When you start it, you’ll be asked about your cable provider.  This will allow the app to display a complete schedule with channel numbers.  The best part is how you can customized it from there:  you can select your favorite channels to view, eliminating the clutter of all the stations you never watch.  You can also highlight your favorite shows.  The app will inform you when the shows will air, when they’re available for streaming, and on DVD – for your binge watching pleasure.  If you watch TV, this app really simplifies your life – and it’s free.

TV Guide Mobile on the App Store on iTunes.

Apple TV vs. Roku?

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I get asked this question a lot. You can find comparisons of these products here and here.  Or, just know this:  both are excellent products but the Roku 3 (or Roku 2) offers more channels  and costs less than the Apple TV.  If you already buy and view content ( TV shows, movies, etc.) from iTunes, or you want to view content from your Apple computer on your TV, then the Apple TV is your product. Otherwise, Roku is the way to go.  Both products support Netflix, Hulu but only the Roku supports streaming from Amazon, and Amazon is now providing original content.  It’s first show is called Alpha House.

Summary:  Choose Apple TV if you buy from iTunes or want to stream content from your Apple computer to your TV.  Choose Roku if you want the most viewing options including Amazon and/or you want to spend a little less money.

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