There are just a few things to know about Mother's Day. First, remember the holiday. This year Mother's Day takes place on Sunday, May 12, so you don't have many shopping days left. Second, book a table. Restaurants are packed on Mother's Day, so if you're going out to celebrate, get on Yelp, OpenTable, or some other dining site now. And third, don't limit yourself to the classics and the clichéd. When choosing a Mother's Day present, the sky's the limit, as you'll see below in our selection of gifts for the mom who . . .
Recent rumors suggest that Amazon will launch a streaming media player this fall to compete with the likes of Apple TV and Roku. An interesting question is whether it will offer access to Netflix, the company's fierce rival in the streaming video space.
Are you willing to give Google TV another go? If so, the latest option for adding the Google TV platform to your TV is the Asus Cube, which is now being offered for sale by NewEgg.com for $140.
Like Paul Hewson and Declan MacManus—Bono and Elvis Costello, respectively—Boxee is hoping there's some magic in a name change: The company is rebranding its Boxee TV media player as the Boxee Cloud DVR. The price will remain at $99.
Up until now, if you liked Panasonic's take on Internet content, you had to buy one of its online-ready TVs. But now there's another, less expensive option: the company's first standalone streaming media players.
Most of us enjoy getting extra content on our living room TVs, but not everyone has a set with that built-in capability. One popular way to add this feature is through a streaming media player, such as a Roku 3 or Apple TV. But there's another, less obtrusive option: a small flash-drive-sized stick that fits into a special HDMI input on the back or side of your TV.
Thanks to a winning combination of solid performance, lots of content, and affordable prices, Roku streaming media players have become a favorite choice of many staffers at Consumer Reports—including me. That's why we were especially interested in taking a first look at the company's newest model, the $100 Roku 3, which replaces the Roku 2 XS at the top of the company's lineup.
If you were bummed when Netflix split its hybrid streaming/disc-by-mail service into two separate (and higher-priced) offerings, here's something you may like: Redbox Instant, which combines unlimited streaming with one-day disc rentals via kiosks. I gave Redbox Instant a spin when it was in a private beta and required an access code to register; yesterday the service had a soft launch, so you can now get your own one-month free trial.
Looking to turn a plain-Jane television into an Internet TV? The new Roku 3 flagship streamer ($100) has an updated user interface that should make finding movies and TV shows easier, plus a new motion-sensing remote control with a built-in headphone jack for private listening. And the device's more powerful processor will provide faster browsing and navigation, the company claims.
Western Digital, one of the few companies to offer a streaming-media player with a built-in hard drive (the WD TV Live Hub), is taking a different approach with its new entry-level model, the WD TV Play. Given its hockey-puck design, $70 price tag, and selection of streaming content, the WD TV Play seems to be targeting those who might otherwise be considering a Roku.
Google TV, which just a year ago looked like it was on life support, seems to be gaining some converts here at CES: Both Netgear and Asus announced new streaming-media players that use that platform to delivers video, apps, and other Web-based services.
You have to give Google TV credit—it isn't a quitter. Despite the lackluster reception of the first Google TV–powered products back in 2010, the company has refused to throw in the towel. Instead it has regularly revamped its software to address some glaring issues, such as its initial inability to access Google's own Android marketplace (since rechristened Google Play).
Boxee TV, the new streaming media player that offers a cloud-based DVR service for subscribers, is now available. But you can only get it at Walmart stores, walmart.com, or directly from the Boxee.tv for the remainder of the holiday season.
If the lack of Amazon Instant Video as a streaming option has been keeping you away from a Samsung Smart TV, you can now feel free to embrace one—the service is now available on all new and current 2012 Samsung Smart TVs.
D-Link is hoping to stand out from increasingly crowded streaming-media-player market with its newest device. Boxee TV boasts two unique features: the ability to get free live TV programming and a virtual DVR service that lets you record shows and store them in the cloud.
Promising big-screen action in a surprisingly small package, 3M is teaming up with Roku for a streaming portable projector that comes with Roku's new Streaming Stick, providing immediate access to movies and TV shows from Amazon, Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, and other online services, provided you have a Wi-Fi connection.
Wish your dumb, non-Internet TV could get smarter without adding another box to your system? Favi Entertainment says its new plug-in dongle, called the SmartStick, can transform almost any TV with an HDMI input to an Android-powered smart TV with access to streaming movies and TV shows from a variety of services.
No longer content to be a wallflower at the streaming-video party, Barnes & Noble announced today that it will launch a new video service this fall, called (not surprisingly) Nook Video. The service will include popular movies and TV shows from several content partners, including Disney, HBO, Sony, Starz, and Warner Bros.
We've been waiting patiently for Roku's new thumb-drive-sized Streaming Stick, which basically squeezes all the capabilities of its Roku 2 XS Streaming Player into an incredibly small package. The Streaming Stick will arrive in a few weeks carrying a $99 price tag, but there's one more thing you should know: You'll need an MHL-enabled TV for it to work.
Perhaps hoping to avoid a situation like the one it experienced with the poorly received initial launch of Google TV, the search giant says it is indefinitely delaying shipment of its Nexus Q streaming media player, which was supposed to compete with other add-on media players such as Apple TV and Roku.
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