Sizzling Deal, Echo Dot for $29.99!

This is the best deal for an Amazon Echo dot or Echo. Amazon sent out an email for black friday where you can get $10 gift card when you order from Alexa’s Best Deals. Order anything on the list over $20 through Alexa and get $10 gift card. The 2nd Gen Echo dot is currently on sale for $39.99. With the $10 Amazon credit if you order through Alexa, the price comes down to $29.99! Compare that with original price of $49.99, it is 40% off!

To see the full list of qualifying Alexa’s Best Deals, click here or the below link.

alexa-10-off

alexa-echo-dot

You can also purchase the Amazon Echo for a low $139.99. With the gift card, it will bring down the price to $129.99 which is almost 30% off. But you will need an Alexa enabled device to purchase it. You should be able to make the purchase through your Alexa enabled Fire TV controller. Give it a shot!

alexa-echo-deal

2016 Amazon Black Friday Sale!

Amazon’s black friday sale will be ongoing starting this week. Check out the banner to visit their rolling black friday deals! They will have thousands of limited time Lightning Deals. Track the deal by the category and wait for it to come live.

amazon-black-friday-deals

Update:
Below are the Black Friday deals for Amazon’s family of devices. These offers will be valid from Nov. 24 – Nov. 27th.

echo dot -> $39.99 ($10 off)
echo -> $139.99 ($40 off)
fire tablet -> $33.33 ($16.66 off)
fire kids edition -> $74.99 ($25 0ff)
select kindle readers -> up to $30 off
fire tv -> (up to $15 off)

Difference between Fire TV Stick and Chromecast Ultra

chromecast-ultra-1Google announced their latest streaming device, the Chromecast Ultra. Chromecast Ultra is the next step to Chromecast where you can simply plug the device into the HDMI port and cast content from the Internet. While the Fire TV Stick is a good competitor to Chromecast, Chromecast has a slight edge in terms of featured content. A lot of apps support Chromecast and even some TV’s have Google’s Casting built in such as Vizio‘s Smartcast. With Chromecast, you can cast content from Youtube and from a Chrome browser. Neat!

What Chromecast distinguished itself apart from the Fire TV Stick is the capability to stream in 4K Ultra HD / HDR. For Amazon, only the Fire TV has this capability.

Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV Stick’s advantage is its access to Prime videos and its library. Amazon also has more 4K content as well as exclusive content. Google Play is lacking in this area.

Both have mirroring capabilities from their respective phones but Google may have a slight edge over the ease of use.

At this event, Google also announced Google Home which has its AI, Google Assistant, which will seamlessly integrate information from various Google apps from calendar, maps, traffic, and location to give you information such as news and weather. Although Amazon’s Alexa is amazing, it doesn’t compare to the integrated offering that Google can offer. This is when the Fire phone’s failure is coming to bite Amazon.

Chromecast Ultra Amazon Fire TV Stick – Gen 2 Amazon Fire TV – 2nd Gen
Launched Nov. 2016 Sep-16 Dec. 2015
Price $69 $39.99 $99.99
HD Type All up to 4K, Ultra HD, HDR Up to 1080p – 60hz up to 2160p 4K – 30Hz
Chip CPU Marvell Armada 1500 Mni Plus Mediatek 8127D
Quad-core ARM 1.3Ghz
MediaTek 8173C
Quad-core ARM Cortex A72 (2x2Ghz, 2×1.6Ghz)
RAM 512mb 1GB 2GB
Storage 256mb 8GB 8GB
Connectivity HDMI, Wifi, Ethernet (adopter) Bluetooth 4.1, Micro USB, HDMI, WiFi Bluetooth 4.1, Micro USB, HDMI, WiFi, Ethernet, Dolby
Dimension 52x52x13.5mm 86x30x12.6mm 115x115x17.8mm
Weight 40g 32g 270g
Remote No Yes Yes

New Fire TV Stick Comparison and Difference

What is the difference between first and second generation Fire TV Stick? Here is a run down of the old and new Fire TV Stick. Most notable change is the cpu. The first gen Fire TV stick used a Dual Core 2xARM A9 chip by Broadcom. The new Fire TV Stick sports a Quad-Core ARM CPU by MediaTek with speed of 1.3GHz. The WiFi and Bluetooth technology has aso improved. The voice search function with Alexa is not default whereas the first gen model didn’t have voice search capabilities.

another subtle change is that the warranty went from a full year to now only 90 days. We also saw this change for the Amazon Echo Dot which is set to be released on Oct.

Fire TV Stick Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote (2nd Gen)
Size 3.3 x 1.0 x 0.5 in. (84.9 x 25.0 x 11.5 mm) 3.4″ x 1.2″ x 0.5″ (85.9 mm x 30.0 mm x 12.6 mm)
Weight 0.9 oz. (25.1g) 1.1 oz. (32.0 g)
Processor Broadcom, Dual-core 2xARM A9 up to 1 GHz MediaTek Quad-core ARM 1.3 GHz
GPU VideoCore4 Mali450 MP4
Storage 8 GB internal 8 GB internal
Memory 1 GB 1 GB
Wi-Fi Connectivity Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO); supports 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi networks. Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi supports 2×2 MIMO 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth Bluetooth 3.0 with support for the following profiles: HID, SPP Bluetooth 4.1
Voice Search Support Yes, requires Fire TV Voice Remote (sold separately) or free Fire TV Remote App (available for download on Fire, Android OS, and iOS) Yes, with Alexa Voice Remote (included) or free Fire TV Remote App (available for download on Fire, Android, and iOS)
Game Controller Support Yes, optimized for Amazon Fire TV Game Controller and most games are compatible with other Bluetooth controllers Yes, optimized for Amazon Fire TV Game Controller and most games are compatible with other Bluetooth controllers
Cloud Storage All Amazon Cloud Drive customers start with 5 GB of free storage Free cloud storage for all Amazon content
Ports HDMI output, Micro USB for power only HDMI output, Micro USB for power only
Audio Support Dolby Audio, 5.1 surround sound, 2ch stereo, and HDMI audio pass through up to 7.1 Dolby Audio, 5.1 surround sound, 2ch stereo, and HDMI audio pass through up to 7.1
Content Formats Supported Video: H.264, Video: H.264 1080p30H.265 1080p30,
Audio: AAC-LC, AC3, eAC3 (Dolby Digital Plus), FLAC, MP3, PCM/Wave, Vorbis, Audio: AAC-LC, HE-AACv1 (AAC+), HE-AACv2 (eAAC+), AC3 (Dolby Digital), eAC3 (Dolby Digital Plus), FLAC, MIDI, MP3, PCM/Wave, Vorbis, AMR-NB, AMR-WB
Photo: JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP Photo: JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP
Output Resolution Supported 720p and 1080p up to 60fps 720p and 1080p up to 60fps
System Requirements High-definition television with available HDMI input, Internet connection via Wi-Fi, a power outlet. High-definition television with available HDMI input, Internet connection via Wi-Fi, a power outlet.
TV Compatibility Compatible with high-definition TVs with HDMI capable of 1080p or 720p at 60/50Hz, including popular HDCP-compatible models from these manufacturers: Hitachi, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, NEC, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, Vizio, Westinghouse Compatible with high-definition TVs with HDMI capable of 1080p or 720p at 60/50Hz, including popular HDCP-compatible models from: Hitachi, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, NEC, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, Vizio, Westinghouse, and others.
Warranty and Service 1-year Limited Warranty and service included. Use of Fire TV Stick is subject to the terms found here. 90-day Limited Warranty and service included. Optional 2-year and 3-year Extended Warranty available for U.S. customers sold separately. Use of Fire TV Stick is subject to the terms found here.
Regional Support Certain services may not be available outside the U.S. Certain services may not be available outside the U.S.
Closed Captioning Watch videos and TV shows with closed captioning displayed. Captions are not available for all content. Watch videos and TV shows with closed captioning displayed. Captions are not available for all content.
Included in the Box Fire TV Stick Fire TV Stick
Amazon Fire TV Remote Alexa Voice Remote
5′ USB cable and power adapter USB cable and power adapter
HDMI extender cable HDMI extender
2 AAA batteries 2 AAA batteries
Quick Start Guide Quick Start Guide
Amazon Fire TV Remote Alexa Voice Remote
Size 4.7 x 1.6 in x 0.5 in (119.0 x 40.4 x 13.8mm) 1.5″ x 5.9″ x 0.7″ (38.4 mm x 150.7 mm x 16.7 mm)
Weight 2 oz. with batteries inserted (56.9 grams) 2.4 oz (68 g) with batteries / 1.6 oz (45 g) without batteries
Batteries 2 AAA (included) 2 AAA (included)
Bluetooth Yes Yes
Buttons 5-way directional, select, back, home, menu, rewind, play/pause, fast forward Voice button, navigation, select, menu, back, home, rewind, play/pause, fast forward
Battery Life Up to 12 months battery life with typical use

Preorder New Amazon Fire Stick – Alexa now!

new-amazon-fire-tv-stickAmazon just made available their latest Amazon Fire TV Stick! The new Amazon Fire TV stick is priced at $39.99 which is the same as their first generation but $10 less than the Amazon Fire TV Stick with the voice control.

 

They are offering a promotion right now where you will get $65 worth of subscription for sling, hulu, and Amazon. The promotion includes the following although it is not exactly clear how the credit is broken down. Sling should be $10 / month. Hulu has various models based on content and comemrcials.

  • 1 month sling
  • 2 months of Hulu
  • $10 of credit for Amazon

All will require credit card when you sign up and you will need to be a new customer. You can simply use another e-mail from the one you are using.

Amazon Releases Widely Popular 2nd Gen Echo Dot

2nd-gen-echo-dot-whiteAmazon releases it’s widely popular Echo Dot and added a new color – white. In a surprise move, Amazon made available for pre-ordering the 2nd Gen. Echo Dot. The Amazon Echo Dot was launched along with the Tap and was a huge hit. It quickly sold out and was never restocked. Now we know why. We first found out about the 2nd Gen Echo Dot on a pre-maturely tweet sent by @amazonecho official twitter page yesterday which stole the thunder a bit. In the tweet, it was revealed the updated price of $49.99 which is $30 below the first generation. The tweet was promptly deleted. We don’t know if this prompted Amazon to move up the launch but it is now available for pre-order.

The Echo Dot allows for you to make your Bluetooth speakers ‘smart’. It can also enable you to access Alexa for your Amazon services such as e-reader, Prime library, music library, and streaming services. It can also enable you to access information through Wikipedia and other skills you can add. Without a speaker, you can still add to your to-do list and calendars and set alarms.

Buy one now here:

Local Channels on Fire TV

basic tv networksCan you get local channels such as CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, CW (CBS+Warner Bros.), or Telemundo? These are channels that are widely available by using an over the air antenna for free. In some areas, these channels are not available unless you have a high power over the air antenna. This poses a problem for say people who live in apartments where installing a high power antenna on the roof is not possible. The only means to get access to these channels are through paid subscription services such as cable, fiber, or satellite TV. Cable cutters would love to swap out these paid services and stream.

I tried installing a few apps from the Amazon App store from Fire TV. It was a mixed bag of what is available vs what isn’t available. One thing that was consistent was that no apps provided live content for free. If the app from a major TV network offered live content on Fire TV, it was for people with paid subscription. As for what is available, you have a mixed bag. For example, the NBC app offered dateline episodes for free but America Ninja Warrior and America’s Got Talent required a sign in from a paid subscription.

A possible alternative would be to pay for Sling TV. With Sling TV, you get a handful of popular TV networks for $20/month.

Looks like it is not possible to truly cut the cord if your residence is outside the TV signal area.

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3rd generation Fire TV on the horizon?

There are rumors circulating that Amazon is preparing an announcement of the 3rd gen Fire TV around end of Sept / early Oct 2016. This makes sense as it would position them to max out sales and take advantage of the Christmas gift shopping season. Fire TV is a great gift for people of all ages. On top of this, Amazon will likely drop the price for the current Fire TV stick and 2nd gen Fire TV which will fuel a buying frenzy for people who want that it for their 2nd or 3rd tv in their own room or basement.

This is what I think Amazon will do for their 3rd gen fire TV.
-Improved internal memory from 8GB to 16GB
-Faster CPU
-Better integration and options to manage Alexa
-More home automation integration
-Ability to make purchase using voice remote

What would you like to see in the 3rd Gen Fire TV?

Turn your TV into a Digital Sign – App

I will explain how you can turn your TV into a digital sign using just an app and Fire TV stick. This is great when you want to turn your TV into a sign for a restaurant menu signage, instruction or floor plan, directory of an office building, daily schedule of the day at a hotel banquet all, funeral home, pictures at a dental office and more. Here is what you need.

The app is free for the first 30 days. After, you can sign up for an annual unlimited subscription of SignageCreator. With this subscription, there are over 1000+ templates which you can use to create your sign. Signagecreator have two pricing plans. Standard license is for $100/template for just one use. Unlimited usage is for $30/month.

If you want to make it vertical, you can change the setting on the TV and use the app and set it up the way you want.

digital sign app