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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jul 22, 2015 0 comments
Comcast has started beta testing the new Stream online TV service to its Internet customers. But is it enough to entice a new generation of TV viewers?
Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jul 15, 2015 1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $180

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Speaker and remote respond to plain English
Voice control initiates music, weather, traffic, and more
Voice-command access to music by artist, song, or radio station
Shopping list and reminders transfer to companion mobile app
Minus
Best used with Amazon Prime membership
Tendency to push Amazon products

THE VERDICT
The most useful gadget since the invention of the remote control.

When Amazon first made the Echo available to a limited number of Amazon Prime users, it seemed like a novelty device possibly destined to end up in the Land of Forgotten Gadgets. Instead, this voice-controlled Bluetooth speaker has become the device I wouldn’t want to live without.

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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jul 08, 2015 0 comments
Showtime's new app for Roku and Apple TV streams shows and movies without a cable subscription and Hulu is offering a Showtime add-on.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jun 10, 2015 4 comments
Apple will finally offer a monthly subscription streaming service and despite the claims, it's not all revolutionary.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jun 17, 2015 Published: Jun 04, 2015 0 comments
Announcements of new apps and the release of two new Android TV stand-alone boxes fuel hopes that more people will be enticed to try an Android TV.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: May 21, 2015 0 comments
Spotify adds video, original content, and an advanced running feature that ties music to a runner's pace.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: May 06, 2015 1 comments
Google's new YouTube Music Key beta adds music videos to Google Play Music. Here's how it works.
Barb Gonzalez Posted: May 01, 2015 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $39

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Easy installation in any HDMI port
Straightforward, simple menus
ASAP technology loads full resolution videos instantly
Plenty of free content for Amazon Prime members
Minus
Missing some major apps including Vudu and M-Go
Global search favors Amazon results
Remote app is inconsistent and voice search may not work

THE VERDICT
A great streaming choice for Amazon Prime members, particularly those who travel.

In case the 3-inch-square Fire TV was too big for you, Amazon has released its follow-up to that high-performing streaming media player. Along with reducing size to fit on an HDMI dongle, Amazon has also reduced the price—to $39, versus $99 for the full-size Fire TV. While the Stick comes without the original’s built-in remote control microphone for voice search (a mic remote is an option) and uses a dual-core processor rather than a quad-core processor, the differences are hardly noticeable in use. Both Fire TVs make it easy for Amazon Prime members to stream over 40,000 free movies and millions of songs as well as access an unlimited number of personal photos stored in the Amazon Cloud. And the Stick’s small size and weight should make it perfect for tossing in your luggage for streaming in hotel rooms while traveling (assuming, of course, suitable Wi-Fi access).

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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Apr 29, 2015 0 comments
Hulu announced that it has licensed all 180 episodes of Seinfeld in an exclusive Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) streaming deal. The news was presented at the annual Hulu UpFront event for potential advertisers. Along with the Seinfeld deal, Hulu unveiled its new lineup of original content and another exclusive deal with AMC for future shows.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Apr 17, 2015 Published: Apr 16, 2015 1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $500

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Roku home screen accesses source inputs as well as streaming channels
Universal search results finds titles on most channels
Excellent value at under $500
Minus
TV picture can’t compare with high end models
No Ethernet port for wired network connection
Settings for closed captions and many other features require returning to home screen

THE VERDICT
TCL’s Roku TV may be the easiest TV to use for everyone in your family—a great second TV.

Roku is the king of streaming media players. Whether it’s the Roku 3 streaming box or an HDMI streaming dongle, no other streaming system can claim the same variety of channels or simple, intuitive graphic interface. TCL is one of several manufacturers that has integrated Roku into its TVs in some capacity, either with a Roku-friendly remote that can be mated with a Roku stick, or, in this case, a fully-integrated platform in the 48-inch model 48FS4610R ($500 list before discounting). While its picture quality can’t compare with high-end TV models, this is one TV that everyone in the house should be able use.

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