Roku 2

Roku has finally come out with a next-gen version of the Roku internet tv streamer and it is smaller than before.

Now let me see if I can remember how it was before because they don’t have their older models on their site anymore.  The cheaper one did not have HD at all, it was for older model tv’s.  The 2nd one was XD and the 3rd one was XS.  I remember that much.  The XD and XS were the only 2 that had HD in them.  I bought 2 of the XD’s because the only difference between the XD and XS were that the XS had a USB on it so you could hook up a USB drive for looking at external images and/or videos.  I forget what else but it wasn’t that much else.

They have added many more features to the XS now which makes me want it more than the XD.  Like the old XD had wired and wifi internet connection and now only the XS has that.  Well, when I bought the 2 XD’s in January, I had so much trouble with the wifi that I had to plug it in to the router with the wire.

I have several blog posts about the Roku.  The first one was about the Roku and about how I was going to buy it.  Internet TV.  Then We are officially switching our cable and I remember how excited I was that I was going to be saving SO much money every month by not having to pay for cable.  I was mislead into thinking that even though everything else was going to be like DVR where I’d have to find what to watch, just like I do on the internet, I’d also get live news.  (Roku didn’t mislead me, Chips family member did.)  Well, that wasn’t right and Darrin didn’t like that very much so we kept our cable.

Then I said I won’t miss my shows but I found out that was a total lie because there were only a few shows on Hulu Plus that they allowed you to watch on your TV.  In fact, I would end up having to watch 95% of my shows on the computer anyway.

Just before we got our Roku boxes I was starting to question my decision; Is getting the Roku was worth it.  Then the next day they came and I posted this: Our Roku Boxes Arrived Today… They’re Going Back Tomorrow.

The main issue that I had with the Roku boxes was getting them connected.  It took a long time to get them online with my wifi and when I finally did they were only on for 30 minutes before disconnecting.  I had spent several hours on the phone getting them turned on, even changing my router settings and everything and still nothing but problems.

They said I had 30 days to return them and of course they went to the post office the next day.

I was really sad because I really thought it was going to be such a cool thing but it turned out to be really disappointing to us.  Darrin likes to watch the news as it happens, not as it happened yesterday.  And with the Casey Anthony trial, he wanted to see all of that unfold as it happened.

So I was getting the Roku for the wrong reasons.  I was getting it so that I could save money on my cable bill because I was paying $110 for it every month and if I switched to Roku I’d only have to pay $8 for Netflix and $8 for Hulu Plus.  Well, the Netflix was a good thing but the Hulu Plus wasn’t.  The Roku has hundreds of channels (or websites) to choose from but the issue is still the same, no live anything.  If I cancel my cable I need to have something that is live, even if it’s streaming live tv from the net, I don’t care.  Roku doesn’t work that way.

I do recommend the Roku 2 only if you do not plan on canceling your cable.  It is not a cable replacement but an addition to your cable.  That is ok.  You can choose the different boxes that they have.

If I were to buy this again, which I am seriously thinking about, I would go with the XS version only because I really need to know that if my WiFi doesn’t connect, at least I can plug it in to my router.  Also, check it out, they’ve added games to it.  I also like that USB port.  My tv has an SD card but not USB so that would be cool to add.

If I didn’t care about the cable (wire, not cable tv) so much, I would buy the HD because it has everything else I need minus the 1080p which doesn’t really matter to me because most everything that is on the internet is not 1080p anyway, even Hulu+ and Netflix.  So the middle box doesn’t really make sense to me.

I am not so jaded by my past experience with Roku that I would slam them and say they have a horrible service because the problem I had was a minor technical problem with the wifi.  The service they provide is awesome.

I think the Roku is such an awesome piece of technology and I say go for it, buy it.  It works great and if really have to have Hulu then you can also do the PlayOn thing which means your desktop computer has to be super fast and you won’t be able to use it anymore since it is now your tv’s server lol.  I can’t do that because my computer isn’t fast enough.

I’m seriously thinking about it but that is off in the future because I’m too broke right now.  Maybe I will wait until Christmas when I might have the money.  But until then, I can hook my CR-48 up to my tv to watch videos, which is what I have been doing.  It’s not great but it’s something at least for now.

If I were to rate the Roku I would give them 5 stars.

AT&T’s New DSL Data Cap

I saw this story on Attack of the Show on G4 today and went over to Engadget to find more information on this oh so glorious (NOT) news. Apparently, AT&T has decided to give all of us DSL and AT&T U-Verse users a monthly data cap.

AT&T will cap DSL and U-Verse internet, impose overage fees – Source Engadget

So if you have regular DSL from AT&T, you have a cap of 150GB per month and if you have U-Verse you get 250GB which somehow doesn’t include video for U-Verse customers which I assume means they stream from the internet. I wouldn’t know, it’s not available in my area.

So I guess it had to happen sooner or later and I probably don’t have anything to bitch about considering I don’t even play online games anymore. Although, I had planned on starting again, this has squashed that idea.

The Engadget article says that AT&T will be sending emails to their DSL customers next week telling them of this new suckfest with instructions on how to check your data usage so you will be able to tell how much bandwidth you are using so you don’t go over. If you do go over you get charged a penalty of $10 per 50GB you use over your cap.  They send you an email warning you that you are about to go over a certain percentage so you can either turn off your computer or switch to the Verizon 3/4G on your phone or CR-48.

They say that 98% of their customers won’t have an issue with this because they only use maybe 17GB per month. Well, to that I say that those people must only check their email and maybe go onto facebook and twitter once per day unlike those of us who like to play online games for hours, watch movies, YouTube videos, tv shows on Hulu and Tweet about it all about the same time.

Since they haven’t emailed me the data usage tool, I won’t know where I stand but I’ll bet it’s almost at the data cap. I have my Desktop going for TweetDeck, Lord of Ultima (online game), MS Money and whatever else and my CR-48 netbook for email, FB, Blogging and looking at websites with.

And to think, I was going to cancel our cable for internet TV via the Roku box to stream our tv shows and movies directly to our TV’s. So much for that idea. I’m sort of glad it didn’t pan out for us now because I’m sure we would have gone over our 150GB data cap the first week of the month.

Ugh, I feel like we’re living in the electronic age depression now lol. I’ll be standing in the data lines instead of the 1920’s depression bread lines. Then in about 40 years, if I’m still alive, I’ll tell kids “why when I was your age we had to wait in line for our data and we had to walk 5 miles to school uphill both ways in the snow.”

I can’t wait to see my data usage, I will update this post when I get my email from AT&T.

News and Image Source Engadget.

Update: I finally got the email today and this is the url that they gave me to see my usage www.MyUsage.att.com but they say in there that my usage will not be calculated until I’ve gone over 70% so that doesn’t show me anything.

I’ve installed the “Lord of the Rings Online” MMORPG game so I’ll play that for a few days and see what happens.

The Cape on NBC

Anyone who knows me knows that I love science fiction, supernatural and comic book hero tv shows. This is my new favorite super hero show since I’m losing Smallville at the end of this season. Thanks NBC for giving me a replacement. Although nothing can replace Clark Kent, I’m at least getting my comic book hero fix.

I am no expert on The Cape so I’ll leave that up to my favorite comic book website ComicBooked.com with their blog post Who is The Cape? That at least should answer any question about the show, the hero and the villains on the show.

Comic Booked is going to be reviewing the show… well, go ahead and read this quote:

“So future Cape fans, I will be the one reviewing this show for the whole first season! You can count on detailed and entertaining views from both a comic book fan and a television pro. Super hero dramas are kind of my specialty, so I’ve seen just about everything. Let’s hope this show does the genre some JUSTICE! (COUGH Birds of Prey COUGH)”

I actually liked Birds of Prey lol.

Keep up with the reviews on ComicBooked.com, watch the show on NBC Monday nights at 9pm/8central and watch clips and full episodes on Hulu or the NBC website.

Is Getting a Roku Worth It?

Our Roku boxes are supposed to be coming today and I’m starting to freak out a little bit. I mean on one hand I have nothing to worry about because we can try the Roku boxes for 30 days and if we aren’t satisfied with the service then we can return them for a full refund. I’m not freaking out about the Roku box and what channels they provide but more about what Hulu Plus doesn’t provide.

I wish that I had done all of this research 100% before I bought the boxes but I was so gung-ho on getting them to get the $20 New Years Eve discount that I just wanted to buy them before that sale was over. This is what I’m finding out about Hulu Plus.

If you visit the Hulu Plus page they show all these pictures of their shows but if you click “alphabetical” then check the box that says “currently airing” you will notice the list shrinks.

This is the main reason I bought this box. I thought I was going to be able to watch all of my shows that are on Hulu (in my TV page) but as it turns out, I’m only going to be able to see my fox cartoons minus the Simpsons, the event and that’s it. Why would I pay Hulu $7.99 a month to watch 4 shows? I’m gonna end up having to watch the majority of my shows on my laptop which is not what I thought I was signing up for.

The reason Hulu Plus doesn’t have all of the shows they have on their regular Hulu service is because they can’t legally stream everything to your TV, they aren’t licensed for that. So why bother showing a few shows at all if they can’t stream them all? I mean, Chuck and The Event are both on NBC and Hulu is owned by NBC. What confuses me about that is they can stream The Event but not Chuck? That doesn’t make any sense. And they have all those Fox shows but no Simpsons? What?

I also signed up for a month of free Netflix and they have a lot of shows I can stream through my Roku box but they aren’t current seasons. They probably can’t stream those until the very end of the season, in the summer time. I don’t want to have to wait until summer to watch my shows.

Ok so another thing I found last night was this program that you install on your PC but run the app or channel through the Roku is PlayOn. That gives you a 14 day free trial then it’s $39 for 1 year then I believe it said $20 a year after that. So it’s only a couple of bucks per month and it allows you to stream regular Hulu, Netflix, CBS, Fox News, TBS etc through your Roku box (or other devices).

I’m really hoping this works out for me because I need for it to work. I don’t want to feel like I have wasted my money on the Roku boxes so I can just get Netflix. The trouble with PlayOn is that I have to use my desktop as a server which means I can’t use it for anything else while we’re watching it on the Roku. That’s fine because I’m using the CR-48 laptop now primarily but I do use the desktop for TweetDeck. Unfortunately, it says my CPU is Low when it does the tests which means we’re probably not going to get a very good stream. But we won’t know until we get the Roku boxes in the mail.

Ok so I’m still waiting for the box to come with my mail, I checked the tracking and it is here in Bakersfield at my local post office so it looks like I will get it.

Our cables next billing cycle begins on Thursday so we have 3 days to try the Roku box to see if we are happy with it. If not they are so going back and we are going to keep cable. I’m just hoping they refund the money right away but I have a feeling it will take them awhile to send us the refund.

When the package has come and I have everything hooked up and have played around with it then I will come back and give more feedback.

I Won’t Miss My Shows!

Since we’re getting our Roku box tomorrow and we’re canceling our $110 a month cable on Thursday, I’ve been kind of worried because not all of my shows are on Hulu and Netflix.

True Blood is one major reason why we have HBO. If I cancel our cable and I lose HBO then what am I going to do? I’m going to miss True Blood when it comes on. I really am not too keen on downloading it with P2P but what else could I do? Well, I just found out that Amazon Video On Demand will have it for only $2.09 an episode. WHEW! What a weight.

That’s not all though because even though Hulu has a BBC America page, they don’t have my BBC America shows on there like Doctor Who and Primeval. Last night was the season premiere of Primeval and this morning BBC America tweeted that the episode is available on iTunes and Amazon Video On Demand. Ok so I’m gonna have to pay $1.99 to buy (not rent) the episodes, fine, I don’t care as long as I get to see them. When Doctor Who comes back I will be way more than happy to buy each episode for $2.

There are certain shows that I will be missing that I have mentioned like Smallville, Supernatural and Vampire Diaries because CBS (who owns CW) refuses to get on the Hulu bandwagon. Well, luckily they have those shows on the CW website so I’m good there. They also have them for sale on iTunes and Amazon VOD but I refuse to pay for something that I can see for free on the CW website. If it’s a network show then why should I have to pay to watch it? If it’s a premium channel like HBO then I certainly don’t mind paying for it. Even BBC America, I’m good paying for it.

So now that I have this knowledge that I won’t miss them I am very pleased with our decision to cancel our cable.

YouTube Movies and TV Shows

I’m a bit behind in the news.  I know that YouTube has movies and TV Shows or they just added that recently.  Yesterday I watched “The Blue Lagoon”.  I never saw it.  It came out in 1980 and I was 10 at the time so I wasn’t able to see it for obvious reasons.  It’s rated R.  Not only that but I’d have to be an adult to really get it.  So I watched it and really understood it.  Such a sad and happy ending.

Anyway, they don’t have a whole lot of movies and TV shows yet because they just started but I’m sure they will have every movie and TV show ever made available for all to see.

I usually watch TV shows on Hulu because they have them like the very next day usually after airing on TV.  Sometimes I have to wait a few days after the show airs on TV but it’s not too long.  And you can subscribe to TV shows on Hulu so they email you to let you know a show is on their website so you don’t miss it.

This will certainly put Netflix out of business if people are able to just watch their movies right from YouTube.  Netflix is going to have to think fast and lower their prices and offer unlimited viewing through their website to compete.

The movies and tv shows you watch on YouTube do have commercials.  I was thinking that perhaps watching YouTube movies is like stealing from the actors and the production companies but the commercials probably make up for that.  The Blue Lagoon had like 10 commercials, it was all the same commercial just played every 10 minutes or so.  So that probably pays for it all so YouTube can continue showing them for free.

It’s the same thing as watching regular TV, you still have to watch commercials, but only 1 commercial, not 2 minutes worth of commercials.  More like 1 30 second commercial.  I think that I can handle being interrupted every 10 or so minutes by a 30 second commercial and be able to watch it for free than have to wait for the movies to come in the mail via Netflix and have it scratched and unplayable or have it come to me broken or never even receive it at all.  Which has happened to me by the way.  But that’s another blog post for another time.

All in all I give YouTube a big thumbs up for making it available for free.

New Joss Whedon Show – Dollhouse

I recently heard about a new show on Fox called Dollhouse which is created by Joss Whedon starring Eliza Dushku.  I liked her as Faith in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I didn’t watch her other show but apparently it didn’t last long because she is now in Dollhouse.

I tried watching the first episode of Dollhouse on Hulu but I wasn’t really that into it.  I mean, if I really wanted to watch it I’ve had the last few days to try since I first heard about it and I haven’t tried to watch it again.

It’s about Echo who is an “Active” for this illegal underground organization called Dollhouse.  They use these women as pawns to do certain tasks for them then they erase their memory.  These women can never have a real life outside of the Dollhouse.

I’ll try to watch it again.

Tune in to Fox on Friday’s at 9/8C for Dollhouse.