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

Best Prime Day Deals!

Amazon’s Prime day is here and here are the best deals so far.

This is my favorite:

Amazon Echo (the lowest this has ever been!)
Regular: $179.99 but Prime Day Deal $129.99 which is 50% off!
If you have the Amazon Rewards card, you can also bring it down to $99 by using  applying the discount code VISA30.


Amazon Fire TV
Regular Price: $99.99 but with Prime Day deal $69.99 which is 30% off

 

Fire TV Stick with voice remote
Regular: $49.99 but with Prime Day Deal $34.99

Fire TV Stick without voice remote -> Regular
REgular: $39.99 but with Prime Day deal $24.99

Bonus:

Samsung UN55KU6600 Curved 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2016 Model)
Regular: $1,247.99 but Prime Day Deal $649.99 which is 48% off

Trigger Alexa with Fire TV remote

fire tv remote alexaIn May, Amazon enable Alexa on its Fire TV remote. This allowed Fire TV owners to use Alexa as you had an Amazon Echo. If you already have an Echo, then this would not be foreign to you.

Movies / TV
With Alexa, you can trigger it to control a movie. You can ask Alexa to play a movie, TV show. It will also search from your active add-on subscriptions as well as third party apps. You can also use it to trigger a certain app.

Examples:
Play the movie [title]
Start playing the TV show [title]
Launch the app [title]
Open the [title] app

Music
You can also trigger music you have on your Prime Music library to simply listen to one of the Prime stations. You can rate a song by saying you like it or do not like the song. This will help Alexa rate the type of song it chooses for you. You can completely skip songs or rewind but cannot fast forward or rewind or change volume. Bummer. This is possible with Echo.

Audible and eBooks
Through Alexa, you can use your Fire TV to read eligible Kindle books in your library. You can even see the title and book cover on your TV. Neat!

News Flash Briefing
One great feature I love with Alexa is that you can ask her to read you the news flash. Go into the Alexa app and select your news source. You can select national, international, local news, sports, and weather source / location. All you say is “Alexa, What’s my news flash?” or “Alexa, Whats my flash briefing?” and it will read a 5-10 min briefing of the latest news from what you selected. I use it when I sit down and enjoy my breakfast. You can also set up your commute location and it’ll give you the congestion condition!

Shopping
No surprise to anyone, you can use Alexa to buy things on Amazon. It is a bit clumsy as you need to know the exact item you are interested in buying in order to buy through Alexa. If you ask Alexa to buy something, it will select the top result for that category and display the item. It is a bit easier to re-order something if it is something you have purchased in the past such as detergent, razor blades, diapers for example.

Weather / Traffic
Asking Alexa for the weather is also another one of my favorites. My kids use this almost every day to determine if they can wear shorts for the day! I don’t use the traffic much as I don’t commute to an office 🙂

Q&A / Jokes
This is kind of an easter egg hunt. You can ask “Alexa, how are you doing today?” or “Alexa, good morning” and she will read back a quote or a comment.

Wikipedia
Alexa also has access to a database of facts. You can ask how far you are to say New York city, ask for conversion such as cooking, time zone, and more. You can ask celebrities or athlete’s age!

Lists (To do / Shopping)
Alexa can aggregate shopping list and to do list. You can use it as a personal assistant to remind you to do something and check it on your Fire TV or on your app later. You can also have Alexa read out your shopping or to do list using your remote.

There are much much more features which you can do with sports scores, movie info, local search, and some features which are voice only where nothing will display on your Fire TV. For all features, check out:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201859020

 

PBS Kids and Amazon Prime TV!

20160630_211552_911217_pressimageCan you watch shows like Daniel Tiger’s neighborhood?
Do you like Wild Kratts?
How about Odd Squad, Dinosaur Train, Nature Cat, and Ready Jet Go!

Well you are in luck. Amazon signed a deal with PBS Kids to be the exclusive premium subscription service on their Prime video service. This is an agreement that will span multiple years. For people with Amazon Prime membership, you will be able to watch PBS Kids on the PC through www.amazon.com/primevideos through a web browser or use the Amazon Video App. I just gave this a try and a quick search yielded 53 TV show results! Some are individual videos and some are entire season series so the actual videos are much much more.

2016-07-02 17.41.13And of course, you can watch PBS Kids through Amazon videos through Fire TV stick, Fire TV, or Fire tablets.

 

 

 

Erosnow available on Fire TV

erosnowErosnow, the Bollywood movie entertainment production group has signed a deal to offer its on demand service to Fire TV. Eros International is a publicly traded company on the NYSE and has been a big player in distribution and licensing of the latest Hindi, Tamil, and other Indian language movies and TV shows across Fire TV users. The huge library of films will be accessible to users across US, UK, and Western Europe.

To access the movies, navigate to the Amazon App store and install the ErosNow app. From there, you will be able to search and watch movies similar to Netflix.
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I browsed a bit and you can watch popular movies such as Bajirao Masani, Piku, Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon, Calendar Girls, Kuch Kuch Locha Hai. You can see the rest of the most popular Hindi movies here.

How much is Amazon Prime’s Stream monthly cost?

Amazon announced yesterday that they will offer a monthly subscription to its Prime video library for $8.99/month. Previously, you had to subscribe to its full Amazon Prime membership to reap the benefit of Amazon Prime video. Now you can subscribe to its video only services without the added on features of Prime shipping, Prime music, and other benefits. This is great for people who found the $99 annual Prime membership to be too expensive or not worth it but interested in the Amazon Prime video offerings.

Currently, you can sign up for a 30 day free trial to test drive the Amazon Prime video library.

If you tried the free trial and still not interested, you can cancel or change your Amazon Prime membership here.

Amazon also announced the option of paying for Amazon Prime membership on a monthly basis at $10.99/month. If you use it for a full year, you end up paying $131.88 which is $32.88 more.

Below is a breakdown between the different Amazon Prime subscriptions.

amazon prime

What is the difference between Echo Dot and Echo Tap?

Amazon surprised everyone by following up to the hugely successful Amazon Echo with the Echo Dot and Echo Tap. The Echo Dot will go for $90 and Amazon is currently accepting pre-order only from current Echo owners. Although some have reported loopholes allowing you to start ordering it now but it may no longer work. The Echo Tap will go for $130.

Amazon Tap:
Amazon Tap is basically an Alexa powered bluetooth speaker with WiFi capability. There is a microphone button which will allow you to ‘Tap’ the button to ask and command Alexa the same things you did with your Echo. You need to be connected to a WiFi network or a mobile hotspot for it to work. The Tap is intended for you to carry with you outside your home. It can stream music, powered by Dolby, from Prime and other apps or music from your device.

A fully charged Tap can last up to 9 hours of continuous use and 3 week on standby.

The device will come with a cradle and as we have learned through Amazon Echo, Alexa simply continues to surprise us with new features as it matures. Recent upgrades allow you to order Dominos pizza or request an Uber from your Echo. The same will be supported via your Tap.

Amazon Dot:

The Amazon Dot looks like a squashed Echo or Tap. It also features Alexa operating system and allows you to issue voice commands to get answers or trigger an activity. The Dot is a bit less purposeful than Echo or Tap. A Dot can serve the purpose of a 2nd device in your house and avoiding the purpose of a 2nd Echo. The speakers are not intended to stream music but it does have a speaker for things like notifications such as alarms.

You may not be able to stream music directly through Dot, but it has a 35mm audio jack as well as bluetooth capability to sync with a speaker.

The Dot will be first sold in limited quantity. For now, you can only order an Echo Dot through an Alexa powered device such as Echo or Fire TV by asking Alexa, “Alexa, order an Amazon Echo Dot.”

 

Sling Offering Discount for TVPAD Owners $99

If you have Asian friends, chances are they own or know someone who have been using a TVPAD to live stream their favorite TV shows from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China. TVPAD has been in a legal battle with the said TV stations from Asia on the legality of the channels. When TVPAD 1 and 2 came out, it came pre-installed with the app store with apps which enable the consumers to watch live TV channels from Asia. TVPAD tried to bypass this in TVPAD 3 by removing the said apps. However, it didn’t take long for the techies to find a simple solution to add the app manually. Users enjoyed this simple method to get their TV fix from many of their home country. After several years of legal wrangling, the TV stations prevailed. The TV stations such as China Central TV, TVB Holdings, Dish Network (who own live stream rights to TVB) won an injunction against TVPAD parent company. Not only did they win an injunction, they were able to enforce ISP to block all traffic relating to TVPAD! Suddenly, TVPADs in the US became expensive paperweights. TVPAD will still work outside of the US but not in the US.

Sling took this opportunity and launched a promotion to offer $99 for one year of service for many Chinese TV stations. In order to qualify, you must enter your TVPAD’s MAD address to quality.

tvpad sling

 

Note, there are not many LIVE TV streams. Most are apps or are TV content that is localized for the Americas region. Still, $99/year comes down to less than $10/month and it comes with a free Roku 2. You can also subscribe and install the Sling TV app on your Fire TV to watch the subscribed content. Sling is great for cord cutters.

Buy the Amazon Fire TV $15 off

Amazon is running a promotion for it’s widely popular Fire TV at a $15 discount bringing the cost down to $84.99. Amazon boasted in a press release that it’s Fire device was #1 and Fire TV Stick was #3  best seller over the holiday. It made a statement in terms of how popular its device is and how it was a great gift. It is simple to use and has many features which maximizes your prime membership if you have one. If you don’t have the fire TV or Fire TV stick and was not able to obtain one as a gift, this discount will be a great time to purchase the Fire TV.

amazon fire tv 15 off

Amazon Introduces Add On Subscription to Prime and Prices

amazon prime subscriptionAmazon announced this week the ability for Prime users to add on subscriptions to some of the most coveted TV series and movies through their streaming partners program. For most people, Prime provided sufficient content but left others to want more. With add-on paid subscription, a Prime user can add popular premium content such as stars, Showtime, Comedy Central, Drama Fever and others. There are many movie subscriptions, workout, as well as documentaries, and something for children. Here is a sample of Amazon’s add-on subscription price list as well as their promo free trial length.

Showtime – $8.99 / month (7 day free trial)
Starz – $8.99 / month (7 day free trial)
Comedy Central Stand up plus – $3.99 / month (7 day free trial)
Acorn TV – $4.99 / month (30 day free trial)
Lifetime Movie Club – $3.99 / month (7 day free trial)
Gaia – $9.99/month (7 day free trial)
Quello Concerts – $7.99 / month (7 day free trial)
Dramafever Instant (Asian J and K Dramas) – $3.99/month (7 day free trial)
Hooplakidz – $5.99/month (7 day free trial)
Smithsonian Earth – $3.99/month (7 day free trial)
The Ring TV (boxing) – $2.99 / month (7 day free trial)
Dove Channel (Rated G content such as Veggietales) – $4.99/month (7 day free trial)

Check out the full list here.